Asia Foundation Proposes Cooperation 'Triangle' for US, China, India

A call for the establishment of a diplomatic "triangle of cooperation" - among the United States, India and China - is receiving a mixed reception at its unveiling in New Delhi.  

The influential Asia Foundation has rolled out its recommendations for the Obama administration's policy towards India.  And, one key suggestion is hitting a log jam.

It is the call for three-way cooperation among Washington, New Delhi and Beijing. Proponents say such an effort will be essential to helping solve such thorny regional issues as instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The proposal, put forward by a task force of distinguished academics and diplomats, is in a chapter authored by former American Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth.

"There have been some who have suggested that our approach to India and our strengthening of relations has been part of a containment of China - a hedge against China's  rise," he said.  "I think this would be a grave mistake.  I know my Indian colleagues and friends would not want to be involved, in any way, shape or fashion, of a containment policy against China.  We need to engage both countries on their own merits and find ways that we can work together."

The "cooperative triangle" is one of seven points for Indo-American relations put forth in a volume of policy recommendations, titled "America's Role in Asia," being released this week by the Asia Foundation.

The other six recommendations proposed:  strengthening strategic ties;  doubling two-way trade over the next several years;  a broader nuclear dialogue;  allowing  American universities to operate in India;  support by Washington for a permanent Indian seat on U.N. Security Council;  and, collaboration to stabilize Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The set of proposals earned a quick endorsement from the Indian prime minister's special envoy, Satinder Lambah.

"I fully agree with the seven-point agenda which has been given out by Karl Inderfurth," he said.  

Others here, however, are less optimistic about the quick realization of an equal diplomatic partnership involving India, China and the United States.

Former Indian Ambassador to the United State Naresh Chandra said Beijing needs to alter its regional diplomacy before there can be talk of an equitable three-way relationship.

"The Chinese moves in our neighborhood display a certain pattern, which is somewhat disturbing.  Their moves in Burma or with Pakistan;  there is a kind of encirclement [of India] approach which we hope will change, over time," he said.

Chandra, also a former Indian cabinet secretary, called China's "circle of friends" - including Burma, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe - "not that honorable."

Alarming to some veteran Indian diplomats is what they perceive as a recent shift by China to a strident tone, after India concluded an unprecedented civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States, last year.

Former Indian National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra noted China's state-controlled think-tanks and media are reopening old wounds, thought healed by Indo-Sino diplomatic agreements.  These include the war between India and China, in 1962, and the sovereignty of two Indian states on Tibet's borders - Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh - where a significant percentage of the people follow Tibetan Buddhism.

"We have been reminded every other week about the humiliation we suffered in 1962. They keep on saying 'don't forget 1962.' … And there has been talk about China occupying what it calls southern Tibet, which is Arunachal Pradesh in India," said Mishra.

Mishra, a career diplomat, said India's government will be closely watching how President Obama formulates strategy towards China, hoping it will not adversely affect America's blossoming relationship with India. 

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs