China hopes that the military cooperation between India and the US will be conducive to regional peace and stability and not the opposite, Chinese Defence Ministry said on Thursday. Asked about India and the US firming up close defence ties during the recent visit of US Defence Secretary James Mattis, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Col Wu Qian said China has noted the reports in this regard. Mattis visited India from September 26-27 and held high-level bilateral talks.
“We hope that the military cooperation between India and the US will be conducive to regional peace and stability but not the opposite,” he said. China has a kept close watch on Mattis’ visit, which comes in the backdrop of New Delhi and Washington steadily stepping up defence ties. The US has offered to jointly manufacture F-16 fighter jets and has approved the sale of Guardian drones to India for long surveillance missions in the Indian Ocean where Chinese ships and submarines are increasing their presence. Both India and the US also announced close cooperation in the Indo-Pacific regions.
Meanwhile, an article in the state-run Global Times on Thursday said peace is paramount for the growth of China-India ties. “Peace is paramount for the growth of China-India relations, despite the border war in 1962 and standoffs that came close to military clashes in 1987 and 2017,” the article said. The two countries have reached a consensus that military approach is not the best option for tackling territorial disputes and goes against mutual interests, it said.
“China-India ties are intertwined in strategic competition due to geographic factor and national strength,” the article said, advocating restraint between the two in handling their rivalry.