Prime Minister Narendra Modi side-stepped a question on his ‘expansionist mindset’ remark, at an event in Tokyo on Tuesday.
“The increasing intimacy between Tokyo and New Delhi will bring at most psychological comfort to the two countries,” China’s State-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday.
Referring to the “blossoming personal friendship” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the paper said China-India relations denoted much more than that.
“Abe’s harangue on the Indo-Pacific concept makes Indians comfortable. It is South Asia where India has to make its presence felt…Sino-Indian ties can in no way be counter-balanced by Japan-Indian friendship,” the editorial continued.
While mentioning that Modi had not named China in his remarks while visiting Japan, the paper referred to Japanese and Western public opinion that the comments were directed at China.
“The interpretation made some sense because Modi is more intimate to Tokyo emotionally. Therefore it is perhaps a fact that he embraces some nationalist sentiments against China,” the paper said.
“As a defender of India’s national interests, Modi is predicted to make remarks suitable for media hype, but he has avoided naming China directly,” it said.
At an event at the Sacred Heart University in Tokyo on Tuesday, Modi was asked by a student about how peace could be pursued in Asia despite China’s “expansionist” designs.
“You seemed to be troubled a lot by China,” he told the questioner, adding that they were asking questions like journalists.
Avoiding a direct answer, he merely said, “India is a democratic country. Similarly, Japan is also a democratic country. If India and Japan together think about peace and positive things, we can make the world realise the strength of a democracy.
“We should focus on progress and development instead of paying attention to others. If we pay attention to our situation, our condition will be better.”
The Japanese daily ‘Asahi Shimbun’ in its report on the summit talks feels that India’s decision not to enter into a civil nuclear deal with Japan and not to upgrade ministerial dialogue should be seen in the background of India’s desire not to antagonise China with which it has a border dispute for long.
Referring to Modi’s remarks, China’s state—run Global Times said in an editorial that Japanese and Western public opinion views them as a clear reference to China, although he did not mention China by name.
The paper reproduced Modi’s remarks made in Tokyo where he said, “everywhere around us, we see an 18th century expansionist mind—set: encroaching in other countries, intruding in others’ waters, invading other countries and capturing territory”.