Washington: In what appears to be a concerted move, high-profile American think tanks and old India hands are now talking up the 'China' factor in a bid to inject some urgency in a US-India relationship that is showing signs of dilapidation. While ex-ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, talks up growing differences in Sino-Indian relations, a think-tank, the National Bureau of Asian Research, has updated and released a workshop paper from last year that deals with the same issue.
Ahead of president Barack Obama's visit to India, which commences 6 November, ambassador Blackwill has told reporters in a conference call that relations between India and China had deteriorated over the last 18 months and that it was unlikely to get better. Blackwill also said he shared the perception of many Indian strategic thinkers that Beijing was using Pakistan to retard India's growth.
"I think it's fair to say now that China-India relations are not very good and in fact have been deteriorating for about last 18 months," Robert Blackwill said in a conference call with reporters in a briefing on Obama's India visit.
"The Indians have a long list of Chinese transgressions, which in my judgment are accurate, having to do with Chinese policy on Kashmir and on the border dispute between the two countries and the so-called 'ring of pearls' of Chinese quasi-military installations in Bangladesh and in Sri Lanka and in Pakistan and so forth," he said.
Blackwill is currently the Henry Kissinger Senior Fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations - a prestigious US-based think tank.
"So the relations aren't very good between the two. The prime minister keeps saying, and I think deeply believes, that there's no reason why India and China could not have a good long-term relationship. But it isn't clear that same degree of enthusiasm for that end state is felt in Beijing," he said.