CHINA has reacted sharply to the US and India enhancing their strategic partnership by jointly launching the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (or iCET). On Tuesday, India and US officially announced that the two nations will be increasing cooperation in fields like artificial intelligence and military equipment, following the meeting of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.
An opinion piece in China’s state-owned tabloid Global Times, described the partnership as a ‘same bed, different dreams’. The tabloid explained this is a Chinese adage that is often used to describe a couple “ whose lives are intimately intertwined, but have different intents”.
India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Jake Sullivan had discussed the increasingly aligning interests of India and US with regards to the strategic, commercial, and scientific approaches in the field of technology at the high level meeting of iCET which was attended by high level officials from both nations. In May last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden had announced the formation of iCET with the aim to elevate and expand strategic technology partnership and defense cooperation.
The White House had said that the US president believes this initiative to be essential in creating “a democratic technological environment”. In the past few years, following the Covid Pandemic and US-China trade war, the supply chain issues had thrown up a big challenge for democratic nations with China being an essential part of the chain.
According to the Global Times opinion piece, India is cozying up to the US with the aim to attract investment and funds and replace China in the global supply chains.
“As for Washington, to rope in India, on the one hand, it has to cater to what the country wants. On the other hand, it can promote an agenda that puts India as part of “friend-shoring,” and then India can become a supply-chain alternative to China,” Liu Zongyi of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies said as quoted the Global Times.
China believes that India and US are both eager to reduce India’s dependence on Russia for arms and weapons. However, the Global Times opinion notes that for the US it will be difficult to decisively and permanently pull India in its sphere of influence like it did with Japan, as the latter wishes to pursue a non-aligned approach. China believes US will have to”Cater to what the country (India) wants“in or to”to rope in India”.
“The US wants to kill two birds with one stone by luring India to join its initiative to contain China’s tech rise,” a Chinese official was quoted as saying.
iCET is not undertaken with intention to counter one country, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, on Wednesday, while responding to question on whether the initiative has been envisioned keeping China in mind. However, she conceded that the “geopolitical context cannot be ignored”.
“The competition with China has been a feature of the US-India relationship now for more than a decade,” NSA Jake Sullivan had said while also acknowledging the geopolitical dimension of the initiative.