India joining an expanded G-7 that perceives China to be an imaginary enemy will result in India-China bilateral relations deteriorating, an opinion piece in the Chinese government-backed Global Times said Friday. The downslide in India-China relations “is not in India’s interests” it warned pointing to a downward trend in “current bilateral relations.” “The China-India relationship is now in a state that only top leaders can determine courses of progress. After all, the deteriorations of relations cannot simply be reversed through efforts at social levels,” it said. The reference may be to the tensions on the border between the two countries where large numbers of soldiers have been face to face for a month now. The opinion piece starts with taking note of the thumbs up that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave to US President Donald Trump’s proposal of expanding G7 into a G11 or G12 that includes India. The reference was to a phone call between the two leaders on Wednesday in which Trump invited Modi to visit the US in September for the G-7 plus meeting.
A statement put out by the Indian foreign ministry in New Delhi had said that Prime Minister Modi “commended President Trump for his creative and far-sighted approach, acknowledging the fact that such an expanded forum would be in keeping with the emerging realities of the post-COVID world. The Prime Minister said that India would be happy to work with the US and other countries to ensure the success of the proposed Summit.” With a fresh border spat brewing between China and India in recent days, India also hopes to send a signal to China by endorsing the US’ G7 expansion idea. Many Indian strategists suggest that their country should move closer to the US in order to exert pressure on China,” the article said. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, senior officials from Quad countries and three additional states – New Zealand, South Korea, and Vietnam – held a teleconference in March, and India had “an active role” in pushing this meeting, the article said. “Although they claimed to be mainly aimed at dealing with COVID-19 issues, the efforts to institutionalize the Quad and the intention to expand it to Wellington, Seoul, and Hanoi cannot be underestimated,” the article warned.