Reacting to the joint India-US Naval exercises near the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago on July 20, in an interview in Global Times (July 21) Tian Shichen, a retired PLA Navy Captain, Vice President of the Grandview Institution and Director of the Center for International Law of Military Operations, noted Indian media reports interpreting the joint exercise as an effort by New Delhi to step up pressure on Beijing in the sea to "acquire leverage over China" and as a "strong strategic signal to China" and "a show of solidarity" between the US and India amid tensions both countries face with China. He said, "Beijing doesn't have to buy such rabble-rousing". it added, "As long as the third-party exercises don't harm China's interests, China doesn't have to feel targeted, or get annoyed". The article said the clash in Galwan Valley has provided the US with an opportunity to strengthen cooperation with India and take advantage of China-India border disputes and "the possibility cannot be ruled out that India may drop its neutral position over the South China Sea issue and join the US in the so-called freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea". He reiterated that "the US is now intent to push China on all fronts. In order to target China, the US has taken actions, or tried to rope in countries that have disputes with China". He advised China "not to be easily agitated by it. To the contrary, China should manage its own affairs well and remain calm and rational in the face of provocations". The interview observed that "Since the China-India border row began to simmer, New Delhi has been soliciting external support. However, no matter how hard India's media hype up the naval drill with USS Nimitz, the China-India border situation won't be affected. The Galwan Valley clash has damaged the morale of the Indian troops. Chinese troops, by contrast, got a morale boost by defending their country. China will never give up an inch of its territory. Nor will it flinch in the face of invasions or attacks on its interests. Some Indians, like foxes that want to use a tiger's might to their own advantage, as the saying goes, are seeking support from the US. Such efforts will be in vain". Tian Shichen suggested that "Instead of being led by the nose by the US, India should strengthen communications with China at the strategic level. After all, the two Asian giants are immovable neighbours. Both confront development conundrums. If India blindly follows the US, it will ultimately harm its own interests". 

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