US President Barack Obama’s unprecedented second visit to India is a “superficial rapprochement” given their hard differences on issues like climate change and nuclear energy cooperation, a wary China said on Sunday as it kept a close watch on the outcome of talks.
Obama’s arrival in New Delhi was sort of breaking news on state-run CCTV which showed live feed of him being received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport with questions on how it is going to impact China and whether it was part of US strategy of containment of Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
State-run Xinhua news agency in a commentary, said, “The shortened three-day visit is more symbolic than pragmatic, given the long-standing division between the two giants, which may be as huge as the distance between them.”
“After all, only one year ago, US diplomats were expelled from New Delhi amid widespread public outrage over the treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then chief minister of Gujarat, was still banned from entering the United States,” it said.
“But that is not all to that. What lies under the superficial rapprochement is nothing short of a deal,” it said.
It said that Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy has been “distracted or even derailed” by the undying conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.
“He needs this trip to tell the Capitol Hill and his supporters that his administration can make progress on important relations. More frankly, he needs India to side with him,” it said.
The commentary said that for India, a closer relationship with the US is compatible with its multi-faceted diplomacy and could be commercially beneficial.
“Three days are surely not enough for Obama and Modi to become true friends, given their hard differences on issues like climate change, agricultural disputes and nuclear energy cooperation,” it said.
“Concerning nuclear energy cooperation, Washington and New Delhi have long been engaged in a complicated dance since 2008…With such a long list of differences on the table, Obama will face a hard job to have his Indian friends on the same page,” Xinhua said.