The deep chill that India-China relations have entered following Beijing’s refusal of travel permission to a senior Indian army commander responsible for Jammu and Kashmir is more widespread than the frustrations expressed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
As mentioned on China Power, talking to Indian editors, Singh pointed to China’s new assertiveness and alleged that Beijing wanted to keep India at a ‘low-level equilibrium’ and suggested it also wanted Pakistan kept antagonistic towards it.
But Singh certainly isn’t alone in his concerns. His views were echoed by India’s defence minister, A.K. Anthony, at a combined commanders’ conference in Delhi, and were also apparently reflected in the notes shared by visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada with his Indian counterpart, S.M.Krishna, last month.
Meanwhile, US Pacific Forces’ commander Admiral Robert Willard on a visit to India referred to China’s ‘naval assertiveness’, which he said had ‘complicated matters’.
China has insisted (at least to India) that their relations are strong and based on mutual friendship. But Delhi no longer trusts Chinese intentions in Jammu and Kashmir, parts of which it has occupied along with Pakistan. It’s also building a road and rail network through them to the Arabian Sea post of Gwadar as an alternative to its Indian Ocean oil supply lines.