Global Times
April 12, 2022

Biden plans Japan visit to coordinate Indo-Pacific, but ‘India’s reluctance to sway on Ukraine weakens QUAD’
By Zhang Han and Xu Keyue

US President Joe Biden is expected to visit Japan for the QUAD summit in late May, a move which experts see as a further attempt to showcase US leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and as another try with Japan and Australia to influence India to sway its stance on Ukraine crisis.

Hyping the China threat during the QUAD summit would be an effective tactic to canvass India, who the US has failed to nudge for a stronger stance against Russia. But India’s reluctance to coordinate on the issue would render the QUAD mechanism weaker and substantial results are unlikely to be achieved from the meeting, experts predicted.

Biden announced a plan to visit Japan for a QUAD summit in late May, which also involves leaders of India and Australia, during Biden’s virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

Biden said he is looking forward to seeing Modi in Japan on “about the 24th of May,” during their meeting that preceded a bilateral 2+2 dialogue of defense and foreign ministers of the two countries.

If Biden visits Japan, that will be Biden’s first trip outside Europe since taking office against the backdrop of so-called sweeping Western support for US-led sanctions on Russia, which received a cold response from developing countries in Asia, with India as a notable representative.

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Globally, the US eyes a consistent QUAD stance on the Ukraine crisis and pushes NATO’s shift to the Asia-Pacific and a strategic coordination of the two US-led mechanisms….

Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, believes Biden will make another try together with leaders of Japan and Australia to take a coordinated stance on the Ukraine crisis to make the QUAD mechanism more united.

Biden will be welcome by Tokyo as Japan wants to extend the US-Japan security pact to economic fields and expand the bilateral framework, Da said. “Japan hopes, via the possible summit, to enhance its influence and image at the regional and global levels,” Da said.

But to the US’ disappointment, it failed to pull QUAD closer especially on the Ukraine issue. Observers cited India’s interests in the region and its strategic autonomy as reasons why New Delhi won’t be a US pawn as Washington hopes. The differences of QUAD members determined the mechanism cannot become a solid “alliance” and can hardly yield substantial results.

After the Biden-Modi talks, The Times of India reported that Washington was unable to persuade New Delhi to follow the US-NATO line on Russia. With no perceptible change in their differences on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, both sides pressed ahead with other areas of cooperation.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India in March carrying the mission of a lobbyist to push for QUAD coordination on the Ukraine crisis, but failed to make India change its position.

But India thinks different for the QUAD, as it wants to maintain strategic autonomy and will not willingly play the role the US arranges for it, in addition to its close ties with Russia.

[T]he differences of QUAD members were so huge that the US “can do little” to sway India on the issue the US cares about the most, the Ukraine crisis….

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New Delhi has made clear that it will engage with all countries without taking sides. India may make use of border disputes with China for its own interests, but will not be misled by the US and blindly drive China-India ties into a corner for US strategic goals, experts said.

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Global Times
April 12, 2022

India highlights loopholes of US’ ‘Ukrainian narrative’: Global Times editorial

US President Joe Biden met virtually with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. After that, the meeting between their foreign and defense ministers, known as the 2+2 Dialogue, will take place in Washington. Before the meeting, Washington was high profile, repeatedly underlining that the US and India share “common values and resilient democratic institutions,” and reaffirmed their shared interests and commitments in the Indo-Pacific region. But a great deal of time has been spent on discussing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the response of New Delhi obviously differs from that of Washington.

Everyone can see that no matter how much the US emphasizes its strategic partnership with India, no matter how euphemistic it sounds, it cannot cover up the big divergence between the two countries on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, nor will it change the fact that US pressure on India to condemn Russia is the theme of their meeting. The parties concerned are fully aware of this. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman recently bluntly stated that “We, obviously, would prefer that India move away from their long-term history of non-alignment G77 partnership with Russia.” This aroused the anger of many netizens in India: “India does not belong to the United States.” “India wants the United States to stop aligning with any country. Will the United States listen?”

The US and India have had close interactions over the past two years. Especially in a bid to woo India and contain China, Washington has become the spokesperson of New Delhi in international public opinion arena, casting a rose-colored shade on US-India relations. However, the “boat of their friendship” could not withstand the storm of the Ukraine crisis, and their differences in stance and interests have emerged.

According to the principle of independent diplomacy, India’s choice to safeguard its own national interests is inconsistent with the direction expected by the US, and has been warned of the “consequences” by Washington’s “murderous” intentions. Of course, India does not buy it. As long as a major country adheres to strategic autonomy, it will not remain on the same page with Washington on all issues, and there must be differences. However, Washington has never accepted, disrespected or even rejected and contained the strategic autonomy of other major countries, and has been taking coercive actions such as inducements to suppress their growth.

The BRICS countries, including India, have refused to participate in sanctions against Russia. Not only has India not suspended trade with Russia, it has also substantially increased Russian energy imports. As a member of the Quad, India does not follow the US’ lead. This has embarrassed the US. This also shows that Washington’s capabilities are increasingly out of step with its strategic ambitions, and the scope it can control is limited or becoming more and more limited. There are only a few “satellite states” of the US, and the international situation will not and should not evolve with Washington’s baton.

The US has put itself in an awkward position. Despite grievances, its tone toward India is obviously softer than toward China, because it does not want to undermine the prospects of Quad and the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” mechanisms that it has painstakingly orchestrated to contain China. It is not appropriate to use the tactic of “coercion” against India, while the US has nothing to lure India. However, what embarrasses Washington is that if it lets India go, then its so-called “democracy vs. autocracy battle” rhetoric will be self-defeating, and the comprehensive sanctions network of the US and the West against Russia will not be formed.

For the US which keeps calculating geopolitical interests, playing the two-face game is its routine tactic. In the past few years, when it wants to win it over to serve Washington’s global strategy, India would become the “largest democratic country;” when it wants to show the systematic superiority of the Western world, India would become a country with “rising nationalism.” But the foreign policy which hypocritically manipulates other countries does not always work. Amid the Ukraine crisis, New Delhi did not stand with Washington when the US tried to repeat its same old trick of forcibly dividing the world into the two camps of “democracy” and “autocracy.”

The US is now very anxious that India, the world’s “largest democracy,” is missing from the “democratic camp” for sanctions carefully crafted by the US. US hypocrisy, bullying and arrogance have been more and more recognized and rejected by the other countries, while Washington’s elites are still indulged in arrogance without knowing it. Against such a background, it will be increasingly impossible for the US to rely on a set of clichés to maintain its hegemony.

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