‘India’s focus on South China Sea will harm ties with China’

Beijing, Aug 9 (IANS) India’s focus on the South China Sea will harm its ties with China and create obstacles for Indian businessmen, said a state-run daily on Tuesday.

In an editorial, the Global Times said India should “avoid unnecessary entanglement” with China over the dispute of South China Sea during the upcoming visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The tabloid said instead of being worried over falling exports to China, Indians were more focussed on the South China Sea.

“India may want to avoid unnecessary entanglement with China over the South China Sea debate during Wang’s visit if the country wishes to create a good atmosphere for economic cooperation, which would include reducing tariffs on made-in-India products exported to China amid the ongoing free trade talk known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” the daily said.

Wang is to visit India India from August 12-14 where he will discuss the upcoming G -20 summit in China and BRICS Summit in India.

“It is puzzling that India is focusing on the South China Sea issue at this moment, a move that might risk unnecessary side effects to Sino-Indian ties and potentially set up obstacles for Indian exporters hoping to increase their presence in China, now the world’s second-largest importer.”

“Considering that India does not face territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, is it worth letting the South China Sea issue become another factor that will impact India’s cooperation with China? India should consider this,” it said.

After a UN court rejected China’s claims over the South China Sea, justifying the contention of the Philippines, India asked all the parties to show utmost respect to the verdict and solved the dispute peacefully. China has rejected the ruling.

“India’s exports to China have dropped 16.7 percent year-on-year in the first seven months of the year, Chinese customs data showed Monday, suggesting that a large number of Indian enterprises are having a hard time exploring the Chinese market amid simmering tensions between the two countries,” said the daily.

“India is expected to allow only moderate tariff reduction on made-in-China products under the talks in a bid to preserve its domestic industries. If India wants China to be more generous in terms of tariff reduction, it would be unwise for the country to let its relationship with China deteriorate further at this moment,” it said.

–IANS

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