India's diplomacy is still underpinned by a tradition of non-alignment, the editorial said

The Indo-Pacific strategy will lead to a stepped up presence of the US and Japan in the Indian Ocean and it will threaten India's leadership position in the region, Global Times in an editorial opined.

The state run media outlet in the editorial said that the Indo-Pacific strategy is aimed at containing China. However, it "won't help India achieve its great power aspiration".

"India had a rich civilisation in ancient times and made great contributions to human progress in science and technology. Although having been colonised in modern times, its people have never given up the dream to be part of a great power."

It cited Modi's statement at Shangri-La Dialogue as a proof of India rejecting the US strategy.

"India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country. A geographical definition, as such, cannot be," Global Times quoted Modi as saying.

"Modi's statement disappointed Washington and Tokyo that want to pull India together to form an Asian version of NATO, but the statement is in line with India's strategic interests," it added.

Global Times further added that the strategy is not conducive to the Indian economy. "India has a population of 1.3 billion, with a third of the world's poorest living there. Developing the economy, improving people's livelihoods and consolidating national strength are its top priorities. The Indo-Pacific strategy may split Asia into two camps, which will inevitably exacerbate conflicts in the region and damage the milieu for India's development."

It further added: "If engaged in confrontation with China, India has to divert resources from infrastructure and education to defence, which will be a drag on economic growth. On the contrary, joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) helps India secure a safe passage to Central Asia, ensuring oil and gas supply. Cooperating with China is more suitable for India's infrastructure and manufacturing base."

The Communist Party-backed media, which is known for its hardline stance, said that though in recent times India appeared to get closer to US in recent times, " in general, India's diplomacy is still underpinned by a tradition of non-alignment. Its foreign strategy is relatively stable and predictable."

"The attraction of Indo-Pacific concept is far from enough to make India significantly adjust its diplomatic principles. New Delhi has its own independent views on world affairs, which is the biggest difference between Indian and Australian approaches," it concluded.

It is though not the first time that Global Times has commented on the Indo-Pacific strategy. Earlier in another editorial, it had suggested that the strategy will help US more than India and New Delhi should join the the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for better future prospects.

Notably, US secretary of defence James Mattis has written to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman assuring her that Washington’s decision to call off the 2+2 dialogue at the last minute was not aimed at signalling a lower priority to the Indo-US relationship.

ET has reliably gathered that soon after Mattis’s letter, the US formally moved a proposal to hold the 2+2 dialogue in India in early September. The necessary coordination between the State Department and Pentagon on this count has already begun, added sources.