With India and the US all set to kick-start a 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Thursday, the media is overwhelmingly focused on how China will react to the developments.
"China must be watching the proceedings of the new dialogue with keen interest as the US officials prior to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's and Secretary of Defense James Mattis' India visit, have underscored the China focus of these talks," the Sunday Guardian wrote, describing the dialogue in its weekend edition.
The paper quoted Randall G. Schriver, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, as saying, "China and how it will respond to it will be the front and center of the dialogue."
"Speaking at an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Schriver did raise India's purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia and ruled out any waiver, albeit he did talk about the US providing India the alternate platforms. He also talked about China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the militarization of the South China Sea, and said that we need to have an alternative and the US is talking with India," the Sunday Guardian added.
"Given China's hotting up the trade war with the Trump administration, both Beijing and Washington would like to lure India's expanding market, but [the last] year of Trump's whimsical policies has witnessed India drifting closer to China," Dr. Swaran Singh, professor of international studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Sputnik.
"China will be front and center at Indo-US 2+2 talks" says Senior US official, gives no guarantee of CAATSA sanctions waiver for purchases from Russia. Blunt speak from Washington ahead of September 6 meeting in Delhi.https://t.co/IvppwxO4ys— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) August 30, 2018
Dr. Singh is of the opinion that given the "whimsical" leadership of the US, India is not likely to dilute its relationship with China.
India will surely need deft diplomacy to calibrate the fine balance between the US and China. With US officials publicly declaring China to be "the front and center of their 2+2 dialogue with India and Chinese vice foreign minister, Zhang Jun, on Monday describing India as "a natural partner" in BRI, India is likely to continue on the path of strategic autonomy that defines the crux of India's foreign policy that was recently reiterated in Prime Minister Modi's speech at Shangri La Dialogue in June, which has since come to be the guiding script of all such interactions, Dr. Singh added.
The new India-US 2+2 dialogue will replace the earlier India-US Strategic (2010) and Commercial Dialogue (2015). The new format of the ministerial dialogue involves the foreign and defense secretaries/ministers of the two countries who will seek to enhance strategic coordination and maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The proposed schedules for the 2+2 dialogue between India and US were unilaterally postponed twice last year in April and July by the United States. No specific reason was quoted though.
The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Swaran Singh are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.