Amid ominous rumblings in the Pacific over very small bits of land, there appears to be some encouraging news about two very big Asian nations. China and India have struck a new agreement enabling their state-owned oil companies to jointly bid and invest in infrastructure. The first project is a pipeline through Burma into southwest China. The Diplomat reports:
The pipeline through Burma, due to be completed in May 2013, is an integral part of China’s plan to diversify energy trade routes and will significantly shore up China’s energy security. As pipelines are built, developed, and used across borders, the risks and rewards are shared among all countries involved.…Energy cooperation between India and China appears to be increasing; the signing of this MoU points to a maturing energy relationship between New Delhi and Beijing. This agreement may also set a precedent and provide a foundation for greater regional integration of the Asian energy market, which will be essential for stabilizing conflicts rooted in energy security concerns.
This is the kind of cooperation that can build an interdependent, and thereby secure and friendly, Asian neighborhood. That, not containment of China, is the endgame for U.S. foreign policy in the region. There’s no effort by the State Department to block or slow down these kinds of bilateral agreements. The more of them that come about, the easier our pols’ and policymakers’ jobs will be.