Ahead of his upcoming state visit to Beijing, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to a US magazine, has said India and China do not need third parties to meddle in their affairs.
“I firmly believe that the relationship between two countries, the India-China relationship as you are referring to, should be such that to communicate with each other there should really not be a need for us to go through a third entity. That is the level of relationship that we currently have,” Modi said in an interview to Time magazine.
Modi has denied reports of increased friction with its Asian neighbour.
“For nearly three decades there has been, by and large, peace and tranquility on the India-China border. Not a single bullet has been fired for over a quarter-century. Both countries are showing great maturity and a commitment to economic cooperation,” Modi told Time.
The Indian Prime Minister also rejected the US charge of “increased assertiveness” of China in the region.
“You referred to the increase in Chinese influence in the region and in the world. I firmly believe that there is not a single country in the world, whether its population is one million or much more, which would not want to increase its influence internationally. I think it is a very natural tendency for the nations to increase their influence in the international space, as they pursue their international relations with different countries,” Modi said.
China is expanding its outposts in the South China Sea to include stationing for ships and potential airfields as part of its “aggressive” effort to exert sovereignty, US intelligence chief James Clapper said earlier this year.
“I firmly believe that with due regard to international rules and regulations, and with full respect for human values, I think with these two perspectives in mind each country has the right to increase its presence, its impact and influence internationally for the benefit of the global community,” Modi said.
China says its territorial claims have a historical basis and objects to what it consider ‘US meddling’.
Meanwhile, the Indian Prime Minister also said New Delhi and Beijing compete and cooperate at different levels.
“I think both countries have shown great maturity in the last couple of decades to ensure and commit to economic cooperation which has continued to grow over the last 20 to 30 years to a stage where we currently have an extensive trade, investment and project related engagement between the two countries. Given the current economic situation in the world, we are at a stage where we cooperate with China at the international stage but we also compete with China when it comes to commerce and trade,” he added.
China-India trade topped $70.59 billion in 2014, a year on year increase of 7.9 per cent. The two countries have set a trade target of $100 billion by 2015.
Modi is visiting China from 14-16 May.