China's 'more than normal interests' worry India

China's 'more than normal interests' worry India

A meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assessed the situation in the wake of the diplomatic row triggered by Beijing’s refusal to let a top official of the Indian Army to visit China only because his operational area included Jammu and Kashmir.

New Delhi’s envoy to Beijing S Jaishankar briefed the Cabinet Committee on Security about the current state of the India-China relations.

Highly placed sources in the government told Deccan Herald that the meeting ended with a consensus that New Delhi must firmly respond to China’s moves to question legitimacy of India’s claim on J&K, but should also tread cautiously considering the complex nature of the bilateral relations between the two neighbours.

Sources said that the Cabinet Committee on Security had also underscored the need to a keep close watch on Chinese presence in PoK and in the Indian Ocean. The CCS meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s residence just a few hours after External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told the Lok Sabha that New Delhi was closely monitoring the “intentions” of China. “The Government of India has come to realise that China has been showing more than normal interest in the Indian Ocean affairs. So we are closely monitoring the Chinese intentions,” said Krishna, while responding to a Calling Attention Motion on the attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy in the Indian Ocean.

Krishna was appeared to be indirectly referring to increasing Chinese engagement in projects in Sri Lanka, Maldives and other countries in the vicinity.

The External Affairs minister is expected to travel to Sri Lanka next October and once again convey to Colombo New Delhi’s concerns over Chinese presence in the island nation’s Hambantota Port.

The Hambantota Port, like Gwadar in Pakistan and Sittwe in Myanmar, is perceived as part of the “string of pearls” – the strategic assets that China had been developing in the Indian Ocean region, causing serious strategic concerns to India.

New Delhi also decided to set up two consulates in Hambantota and Jaffna.

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