JULY 4, 2018
India will have dialogue with China on the Indo-Pacific, keeping in the mind the growing warmth in the relationship between the two countries, persons familiar with the thinking in New Delhi said, adding that a similar discussion with Russia too may be in the offing.
“We will have maritime dialogues with China and Russia in the coming months. Our effort is to work out in some more detail and to see how we can get coherence in the Indo-Pacific community about the Indo-Pacific as a concept”, said one of the persons.
India is also part of a four-member or so-called quad grouping with the US, Japan and Australia that is widely seen as a forum to counter growing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. India never been “publicly critical of the Chinese posture”, the first person said, but “we would like a rules based order in the Indian Ocean because it is important for navigation connectivity.”
At the Shangri La dialogue in Singapore last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the audience that the quad will not be the sole custodian of the Indo-Pacific.
“India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country,” Modi said.
“It is normal to have partnerships on the basis of shared values and interests. India, too, has many in the region and beyond. We will work with them, individually or in formats of three or more, for a stable and peaceful region. But our friendships are not alliances of containment,” Modi added.
Explaining this position further, the first person said that the general agreement that “we should work with all countries and try and explain that the concept of the Indo-Pacific is not directed against any country.”
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India has issued a licence to the Bank of China to open its first branch in India, an issue the two sides were discussing for some time.