The Indian public seems to be having a hard time accepting the outcome of the Seoul plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) late last month after India failed to gain entry into the NSG. Many Indian media put the blame on China alone, accusing China of anti-India and pro-Pakistan motives behind its opposition. Some activists even took to the streets in protest against China and Chinese products, and some observers said the incident would freeze the China-India relationship.
India’s precautions against China cannot be clearer. The country seems to be still stuck in the shadow of the war with China in the 1960s and many still hold on to the obsolete geopolitical view that China does not want to see India rise. However, New Delhi may have misunderstood Beijing, which can make a big difference in its strategic decisions.
In fact, China no longer looks at India simply from a political perspective, but far more from an economic one. Zheng Xiyuan, China’s consulate-general in Mumbai, said last year that China’s development offers opportunities to India and vice versa. Only by seeking common development between China and India can the two build a new international order and form an Asian century. The obviously cooperative attitude has wide representation as an increasing number of people now care about economic progress more than anything else and believe that India’s rapid economic development can actually help improve its relations with China. Many regions in China are looking for business opportunities in the fast-growing India. Chinese citizens may not realize the full potential of India, but in general they are attaching far more importance to the neighboring country than ever before.
India needs to perceive China objectively. Joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is a must for any country seeking NSG membership, but India is not a party to the NPT. The only exception is if India can obtain consent from all 48 NSG members, but several countries apart from China hold reservations in this regard. India had better put more efforts into figuring out how to obtain international trust rather than misinterpreting and defaming China.
Political scientist Zheng Yongnian said that China’s bilateral relationship with India is second only to the Sino-US relationship. Ties with China are of great significance to India as well. The best option is for China and India to work together to boost their economic and trade ties.