Since the founding of India, the country has been longing to become a major global power. The pursuit of dominance in the Indian Ocean is vital to its great power dream.
However, some Indian people, especially Indian journalists, have a bad habit - taking the so-called China threat theory as its excuse to develop India's military strength.
Bloomberg published on Monday a report written by an Indian correspondent, saying the Indian government "seeks to buy $2.2 billion in warships." The author explained it is a part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's $250 billion military modernization plan to arm the country "when it faces threats in its maritime waters from its neighbor China." By "threats" he means "Beijing has in the past sent its warships to the Indian Ocean region." The article was soon republished by several India media.
However, Beijing has sent its warships to not only the Indian Ocean, but also quite a few others places, including the Gulf of Aden and the Caribbean. Such activities are welcomed by many countries along the routes, including small countries. Yet only India, a country with strong national strength, deems them as a threat.
The Indian Ocean is one of the main trade routes linking China and Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Substantial quantities of China's imports of energy and raw materials are transported through the Indian Ocean. But the safety of the waters is not always well maintained. The presence of the Chinese navy there not only protects Chinese merchant vessels but also provides security for other countries, such as cracking down on piracy and offering disaster relief.
In December 2014, a fire broke out at a water treatment plant in the Maldives. "About 100,000 residents in Male lost access to potable water," the BBC reported. China sent not only planes with tons of fresh water to the country, but also the rescue ship Changxingdao of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy to provide fresh water to Male residents through the ship-borne sea water desalination units.
China's national defense policy is purely defensive in nature. It has never once stationed large-scale troops on other countries' soil as certain Western powers do.
There are, indeed, divergences between Beijing and New Delhi over border disputes. But both sides have shown willingness to resolve them through negotiations. Communications are taking place from time to time. No cross-border conflicts had been reported for a long time.
But some Indian reporters tend to make a fuss about the so-called China threat theory for commercial interests by exaggerating certain officials' vigilance against Beijing.
For example, Press Trust of India quoted Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba in March as saying "China's growing presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean is a challenge to India."
China welcomes competition from India. But the latter should not compete by hyping up anti-China nationalism. China welcomes India to boost its military power. But Indian media should be aware that India's real challenges are its laggard military technologies, severe dependence on foreign imports of weapons and incomplete industrialization and modernization, rather than the "threat" from China, a fabricated excuse.