A clear and bold message from the US and France to China on its aggressive, assertive and expansionist agenda has pleased India, with diplomats in South Block welcoming the joint statement by the two powerful countries. After a bilateral meeting at the White House, the US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron released a joint statement, saying that the United States and France will continue to coordinate on our concerns regarding China’s challenge to the rules-based international order, including respect for human rights. “The Presidents reaffirm the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
The diplomats in New Delhi see the joint statement as a significant development that
‘assertive’ China pleases India
would help step up pressure on China amid its growing activities aimed at increasing influence in the Indo-Pacific and other regions at the cost of the sovereignty of other countries. “The two powerful nations pledging to work together to check China’s challenge is a positive development from India’s perspective,” sources, who were keeping a close eye on Biden-Macron meeting in Washington, told The Daily Guardian. “The reaction from China shows the panic that the joint statement has caused in Beijing,” sources added. “The relationship between the United States and France should not harm the interests of a third party,” the Chinese foreign ministry said following a meeting between the US and France Presidents.
Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the comments on Friday following the release of a joint statement from Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron that said their countries would cooperate to address “China’s challenge” to the international order. “China is an opportunity for the world,” Zhao said. “Neither the United States nor France should make an issue of China.”
Earlier, the joint statement said the US and France were committed to strengthening their partnership in the Indo-Pacific region to “advance prosperity, security and shared values based on a rules-based international order”. “Around the world, France and the United States are working to strengthen stability and security. We share the same vision in the Indo-Pacific. We’re looking for an Indo-Pacific that’s free and open, prosperous and secure,” Biden said during a joint press conference with Macron. “And we’re going to continue to strengthen our cooperation to defend core international principles in the Indo-Pacific, including freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight.”
Sources say that Chinese officials see the meeting between Biden and Macron as the US’ on-going attempts to ramp up solidarity with its allies in response to rivalry and competition from Beijing. What India is interested in is that all the powerful countries must keep signalling to China from time to time that its activities in violation of rule-based international orders are on the radar of the global community. The international community’s statements must echo India’s views on growing Chinese aggression across various geographies including the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as well, sources said. The focus of the major powers must continue to be on China despite all the diversions like Ukraine, say officials.
Diplomats, who were in touch with their counterparts in Washington and Paris, told this newspaper that Biden and Macron elaborately discussed several issues related China’s challenge in the Indo-Pacific. The message is that the issue of Beijing’s aggressive agenda is of paramount importance. The two countries would continue to focus on fine-tuning and implementing the strategy to deal with Beijing’s belligerence. More countries including India would be giving valuable inputs during the future meetings.