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India v. China
Modi Glares Across a Border

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earned Beijing’s ire for visiting Arunachal Pradesh, a region in northeast India also claimed by China. Reuters reports:

“The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’,” a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website said on Friday, adding that Modi’s visit was “not conducive” to developing bilateral relations.[…]

Modi visited Arunachal Pradesh on Friday to inaugurate the opening of a train line and power station. He did not mention China but pledged billions of dollars of investment to develop infrastructure in the region.

The visit is of a piece with the new Indian PM’s strong stance on foreign policy; he, along with Japanese Prime Minister Abe, have linked hands with the U.S. in order to contain an ambitious China. As Reuters notes:

In January, China objected to statements by Japan’s Foreign Ministry supporting India’s claim to the region.

A visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to India in January was widely seen as a sign Modi is moving closer to the United States, to offset rising Chinese influence in Asia and, in particular, intensifying activity by the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean.

China had some good news recently regarding those big plans for the Indian Ocean that worry New Delhi so much: Beijing will get its coveted Sri Lankan port project after all. Though the newly elected Sri Lankan President, who favors leaning away from China and toward India, made a campaign pledge to cancel plans for the port in Colombo, he’s now letting the project go on as planned. That’s not something India will find comforting.

One if by land, two if by sea…three if by both? Asia’s Game of Thrones is playing out on many borders, islands, and oceans. China has no intention of giving up its regional ambitions, even if it has recently seemed to speak more softly and carry its stick not quite so obtrusively as usual. The stick is still in hand, however, and the game still on.

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