China has warned that the United States is pursuing another Cold War in its talks with India, which Pakistan has also protested against as a result of a long-running territorial and human rights dispute.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper “reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-India partnership” along with India’s top diplomat Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Chief of Defense Rajnath Singh during a visit on Tuesday on the occasion of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between the U.S. and India in New Delhi.
This bond, they said, is “rooted in mutual trust and friendship, a shared commitment to democracy, converging strategic interests and the robust engagement of its citizens”.
Among the issues discussed, according to Pompeo, were the two countries’ struggles to contain the national COVID 19 outbreaks – by far the two worst in the world – and “addressing the threats to the Chinese Communist Party for Security and Freedom and promoting peace and stability throughout the region.
The comments spoke of a growing trend in U.S. engagement in Asia as part of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy supported by the other members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue Australia, India and Japan. Unlike Canberra and Tokyo, New Delhi has no formal alliance with Washington, but mutual tensions with Beijing, including a deadly Indo-Chinese border conflict in the Himalayas, have brought the two closer together.
On Tuesday they signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which allows for the mutual exchange of geospatial information.
This is based on several previous pacts: the Annex on Industrial Security (ISA) to the Agreement between India and the USA on the General Security of Military Information (GSOMIA), the Agreement on the Exchange of Logistics Data (LEMOA) and the Agreement on Communication Compatibility and Security (COMCASA).
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin spoke during his daily press conference on Wednesday on developments in the US and India.
“We have always believed that bilateral relations between countries should be conducive to peace, stability and development in the region and should not undermine the legitimate rights and interests of third parties,” Zhao said. “All visions of regional cooperation should be in line with the trend of the times, which means peace, development and win-win cooperation.
With regard to Washington’s approach, he said the opposite, calling it part of an “outdated Cold War mindset, confrontation between blocs and geopolitical rivalry”.
“What it maintains is nothing more than the dominant role of the United States and its hegemonic system,” he told reporters. “We urge certain U.S. politicians to reject the Cold War and zero-sum mentality and stop making false moves, such as building up the so-called ‘Chinese threat’, sowing discord between regional countries and undermining peace and stability in the region.
Regarding the undecidedness on the disputed border between China’s Aksai China and India’s Ladakh, Zhao said that the problem existed only between the two countries and was now “generally stable for the moment” as both sides remained in constant dialogue.
The unclearly defined highland border, where India and China have been accusing each other of wanting to change the “status quo” since May, hit the headlines again last week when a soldier in the People’s Liberation Army, who was apparently helping a local herd yak, crossed the actual line of control.
India offered the soldier medical assistance and then returned him.
The incident occurred a week after Chinese and Indian military commanders gathered for their seventh round of talks in which they “agreed to seriously implement the important agreements of the leaders of the two countries, not to turn differences into disputes and to jointly ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas,” according to a statement by an Indian defense official to Tekk.tv.
But Pompeo has portrayed this ceasefire and all of Beijing’s other seemingly peaceful ambitions as part of a conspiracy to lay claim to disputed areas throughout the region and to dominate the world.
Geopolitical battle between the USA and China over Asia creates new power dynamics for the region