World / US and Canada

India, US not 'power' wrestling: expert

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington and ZHAO SHENGNAN in Beijing (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-01-29 14:30

US experts have dismissed speculation over the geopolitics regarding US President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi last weekend and next week's meetings in Beijing by foreign ministers from China, Russia and India.

Obama wrapped up his visit to India on Monday after attending the 66th Republic Day festivities. Much of the news reports have centered on how the US and India try to join hands to counterbalance a rising China.

Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry announced on Wednesday that the foreign ministers of China, India and Russia will meet in Beijing next week for a 13th trilateral meeting on Feb 2.

The meeting will coincide with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's first visit to China since she took office, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily briefing on Wednesday.

Swaraj's visit, scheduled for Jan 31 to Feb 3, will also be the first visit by a Cabinet minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to Beijing after India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in May.

Jeffrey Bader, a senior fellow of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, said he regards the meeting by foreign ministers of China, Russia and India as "an established mechanism" and "completely normal".

"The question of course always is what they will discuss, what conclusions will they reach. I think that's more important than the fact of the meeting, which is normal," Bader, a senior assistant to Obama for national security affairs at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2011, told China Daily on Wednesday.

He interpreted Obama's trip to India as designed to bring US-India relations to a new stage. "I think it was very successful in its optics and symbolically. How much that means will remain to be seen," he said.

Bader quoted US officials as saying that the Obama-Modi meeting is not about China. "There were discussions of strategic issues and East Asian issues, including China, but that was not the principal purpose of the visit," he said.

"The fact that the US tries to build better relations with the second most populous country in Asia is not a surprise," he said, adding that he didn't see anything during Obama's visit that suggested an alliance or cooperation or a new character on military issues directed at China.

"I don't see that. And I don't think either the US or India is interested in that," he said.

Former US Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy also dismissed the idea that Obama's second trip to India as president means that the US and India are being drawn together by their common concerns over a rising China.

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