China think tank says India is 'sabotaging' G20 for its own agenda

A man walks past a model of the G20 logo outside a metro station ahead of the G20 Summit in New Delhi

BEIJING (Reuters) - India has been trying to take advantage of its role as the host of the G20 Summit to promote its own agenda and harm China's interests, a Chinese think tank affiliated with the country's top spy agency said on Saturday.

The harsh criticism by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, which is under the Ministry of State Security, comes as G20 leaders began their annual two-day summit, in India's capital New Delhi, with Chinese President Xi Jinping not attending.

The think tank accused India of bringing geopolitical "private goods" onto the global stage, which it said would not only help the country to fulfill its responsibility as the host of G20 but also create further problems.

India held two earlier G20 meetings in disputed territories -- one in Arunachal Pradesh that China also claims, and another in Kashmir, contested by Pakistan.

"In addition to causing diplomatic turmoil and public opinion turmoil, India's actions in hosting meetings in disputed territories have also 'stole the spotlight', sabotaging the cooperative atmosphere of the G20 meeting and hindering the achievement of substantive results." the think tank said in a commentary published on its Wechat account.

The remarks may shed some light on Xi's absence from the summit hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chinese officials have declined to explain the absence. Premier Li Qiang is representing China instead.

The two Asian neighbours have been searching for ways to ease simmering military tensions along their vast border, but New Delhi has described the situation as fragile and dangerous. Since 2020, New Delhi has also ramped up scrutiny of Chinese businesses and investments.

Last Sunday, reacting to news that Xi would not attend the G20 summit, U.S. President Biden said he was "disappointed" but would "get to see him".

The think tank also said India has been trying to use the issue of debt restructuring to attack China, and has frequently cooperated with the United States and the West in hyping the "debt trap" theory, when Beijing has offered loans to poorer countries to build needed infrastructure likes ports or roads.

India's move could "further create differences and rifts, hinder the international community from reaching consensus and substantive results, and will ultimately cause damage to its own international image and global development interests", the think tank added.

Xi, during a tour to the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, has promised to take more steps to revive the flagging northeast, state media said on Saturday.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Kim Coghill)