Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Britain has sparked a China rivalry buzz, said a state-run Chinese daily which suggested that China and India embrace each other and “turn the region at the foot of the Himalayas into one of the world’s most dynamic cooperation areas”.
An editorial “Modi’s UK trip sparks China rivalry buzz” in the Global Times said that Modi will be “treated to the full British pomp which can match that of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s welcome in October, except for the definition by the British government that the Sino-UK relationship is entering a ‘golden era’.”
India’s relationship with Britain has “a historical affinity and tends to march toward ceremonious modern relations”, said the daily.
It cited a BBC article that said, “while the British government’s overture to China is seen as a bold and distinctive foreign policy initiative, there’s not the same diplomatic buzz about the Indian leader’s arrival”.
The editorial added: “The reason is simple: The size of China’s economy is five times that of India. Despite the promising future of both China and India, Xi inked deals worth 40 billion pounds ($60 billion) during his stay in the UK, while Modi may only sign agreements worth no more than 12 billion pounds. Besides, Modi aspires to more British investment to India while the UK expects massive Chinese investment.”
It observed that the West is interested in the contest between China and India because of the geographical elements.
“The West is also intent on using India to dilute the strategic significance of China’s rise. China can compare itself to India as a reference to assess its performance, but China prefers a comparison with the US, and this comparison is also favoured by the rest of the world.”
In terms of the Sino-Indian relationship, Chinese people prefer cooperation to contest. “After all, cooperation can be conducted between countries with varied strength while a contest has to be between commensurate parties.”
“With much importance given to India, the West has changed its understanding of the world. Thus Chinese people think highly of Indian leaders’ trips around the globe. Modi’s posts in his personal account on Sina Weibo are often popular with Chinese netizens.”
Western opinion tries to shape the belief that “Modi follows wherever Chinese leaders go and many of India’s foreign policies intend to compete with China”.
The daily went on to say that both China and India value their cooperation with Western powers, “but having more bilateral cooperation can better serve their needs”.
China’s trade volume with India is only $71.6 billion, about one-third of its trade with South Korea.
“Despite the shared border, there is no railway or highway connecting China and India. Their border trade area in Nathu La Pass is less bustling than trade zones between China and Vietnam or Russia. What happens on the China-India border is often exaggerated by the Indian media and certainly not pleasant.”
“China and India need to embrace each other more closely and turn the regions at the foot of the Himalayas into one of the world’s most dynamic cooperation areas,” it added.