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India Shouldn’t Support US Interference in South China Sea: Ex-PM Advisor

© AFP 2023 MANDEL NGAN(FILES) US President Joe Biden meets with China's President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021.
(FILES) US President Joe Biden meets with China's President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 17.11.2023
US President Joe Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping at the California Summit that Washington espoused an “enduring commitment” to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
A former Indian Prime Ministerial advisor has cautioned New Delhi against encouraging the US interference in the maritime dispute involving China and southeast Asian nations in the South China Sea.
“India should not bother itself much with the South China Sea dispute. And certainly not on the US side to contain and counter China. We should be pragmatic and be wise to know where our national interests lie,” Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former aide to ex-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has told Sputnik India.
The Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been engaged in a standoff in eastern Ladakh since April-May 2020. New Delhi has told Beijing that the dispute has affected bilateral ties between the two big Asian economies.
The former Indian aide advised India against “allying” with Washington against China, noting that the Biden administration had been sending overtures to New Delhi to align the positions on both countries in a bid to “contain China”.
Kulkarni stated that being a “camp follower” of the US was out of question for India.
“India should be friendly towards both China and USA, more towards China because it is our neighbour and part of the Global South. India should follow an independent foreign policy, rooted in the empowerment and development of the Global South,” he asserted.
The ex-advisor expressed hope that countries like India, China and Russia could work in tandem to forge a “new, better, fairer, more democratic and peaceful world order free of any country’s hegemony”.
The comments come a day after Xi and Biden met on the outskirts of San Francisco for a summit-level meeting in a bid to manage differences between the world's biggest economies.
At the meeting, Biden reaffirmed the US “ironclad commitment” to defend its Indo-Pacific allies, which include South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Australia.
China has been consistently opposed to American interference in the South China Sea and in Asia.
Biden told Xi at the summit on Thursday that the US wasn't seeking to "revitalise its alliances against China", according to a Chinese foreign ministry readout.

Modi-Xi Should Engage in Direct Talks to Resolve the Border Dispute

Kulkarni urged the Indian Prime Minister to hold a direct dialogue with the Chinese President in order to resolve the outstanding border differences in the western section of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern Ladakh region.

“An early meeting between Modi and Xi would certainly expedite the resolution of the border dispute,” Kulkarni reckoned.

“If US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping can meet together, talk together and walk together, why not Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping?” he questioned.

He noted that the US-China ties were as tense, or probably more tense, than the current Sino-India relationship.
“Yet, the two leaders met and had a fairly candid, and to some extent constructive, dialogue. It has helped stabilise US-China relations. I am confident that an early meeting between Modi and Xi will create a much-needed breakthrough in India-China relations, and help our two neighbouring countries to end the deadlock and move forward in mutually beneficial cooperation,” Kulkarni remarked.
US President Joe Biden (R) and China's President Xi Jinping (L). - Sputnik India, 1920, 16.11.2023
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