China-India relations have remained tense since June last year when their troops on the border engaged in the most deadly clash in decades, which resulted in casualties on both sides.
In order to bring bilateral relations back on track as soon as possible, which is in the interests of both countries, and even the rest of the world, it is imperative for Beijing and New Delhi to work together to rebuild trust, especially now that the situation in the border area has stabilized following the disengagement of troops.
Yet rather than meeting China halfway to try to solve their differences through frank communication, India seems more enthusiastic about cozying up to external forces. This explains why it has joined the Quad－an informal regional alliance that groups India with Australia, Japan and the United States that is trying to portray China as a threat to regional peace and stability.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a speech he delivered at the United Nations on Saturday, highlighted the need to protect the oceans from the race for "expansion and exclusion", which was interpreted by many as a reference to China's rising influence in the Indo-Pacific.
It came one day after leaders of the Quad, in their first in-person meeting at the White House on Friday, vowed in a joint statement "to refocus ourselves and the world on the Indo-Pacific", and promote "the free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion".
It is evident that this clique is intent on ganging up on China.
As the two largest developing countries and emerging economies, China and India share more common ground than differences, and their relations must not be defined only by their border disputes. Trade between the two countries surged 51.9 percent year-on-year from January to August despite the call to boycott Chinese products in India after last year's border clashes.
India must be aware that the two countries are partners rather than rivals or enemies. It should exercise extreme caution when dealing with issues concerning bilateral relations so as to avoid being led astray and used as a pawn in the US-orchestrated geopolitical game against China. It should also recognize that being a manifestation of the outdated zero-sum mentality and ideological bias of the US, the Quad does not conform to the trend of the times.
It is because China is staunchly upholding the international order with the UN at the core that the US is accusing it of "coercion" or "exclusion" as the US wants an order in which its hegemony has centrality, rather than an international order based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
New Delhi should not allow its border dispute with Beijing to blind it to how detrimental and damaging the US pursuit of its "order" is to the region.