Home arrow Archives arrow Round the World arrow Round The World 2014 arrow Indo-China Convergences: ENTERING POSITIVE PHASE, By Prof Arvind Kumar, 11 June, 2014
News and Features
INFA Digest
Parliament Spotlight
Journalism Awards
Indo-China Convergences: ENTERING POSITIVE PHASE, By Prof Arvind Kumar, 11 June, 2014 Print E-mail

Round  The World

New Delhi, 11 June 2014

Indo-China Convergences


By Prof Arvind Kumar

(Dept of Geopolitics & Intl Relations, Manipal Univ)


The brief visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as a Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping to India has symbolically sent a message to the rest of the world that India and China might work together in leading the world affairs. The centre of gravity is being shifted from West to East and in that shift both India and China will have a significant role to play in the international system.

The visit of Wang Yi has generated a good amount of debate among members of both the academic and strategic community. Some have argued that it was an ice-breaking move on part of Beijing and it obviously wanted to establish contacts with the new Government as soon as possible. Others have doubted China’s rhetoric on India and it has been suggested that Beijing has to be consistent in its rhetoric and action as far as New Delhi is concerned. The skeptics have indicated that it is not a time for India to celebrate unless and until the most vexing issue of the border row is addressed.

India’s foreign policy in the new regime largely is going to be predicated on its evolving contours of commercial and economic interests and a proactive economic diplomacy will overcome the larger predicament of political differences. The economic interdependence, which is the key in this globalized world, will keep all the bilateral differences and animosities away. It is certain that no nation can afford to jeopardise the economic opportunities that will mostly come from closer engagement between India and China.

There will certainly be a paradigm shift in the approaches of both the countries while handling the sensitive issues such as China’s incursions across the Line of Actual Control. On the one hand, there is an acknowledgement on part of the policy community in India that China is emerging as an expansionist power but on the other hand there seems to be a dominant view that China cannot afford to be insensitive on many counts.

Further, there is a growing realization in Beijing that India can contribute significantly in a number of areas including countering terrorism. Foreign Minister Wang’s assertion that both the nations are “natural partners” reflects the larger change in the mindset and also willingness to create a positive atmosphere in the bilateral relationship. China’s top leadership has also conveyed a positive determination to improve the bilateral understanding in a remarkable manner. It was reflected in the message from the Chinese President, which had all the praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stated: “under your leadership, India will achieve greater development and progress.” Undoubtedly, China seems to be all set to work with decisive leaders and strong governments like India has in the current situation.

Wang’s visit has also epitomized the importance, which China has attached to India. It should be emphasized here that such a visit has been preceded by the forthcoming US-India-Japan trilateral meet scheduled in July 2014. The high-level interaction on pertinent important themes has reiterated the keenness from both sides for constructive engagement.

New Delhi is keen to narrow the vast trade deficit of $31 billion with China. The mechanism needs to be explored especially in bridging the yawning trade gap. Both the countries have set the goal of realizing $100 billion bilateral trade by 2015, which seems to be highly ambitious. How the augmentation of the current figure of $ 65 billion will take place remains a big question.

The possibilities of increasing Chinese investment in India and vice-versa were discussed, as both seem to have the tremendous potential in economic relations. Beijing has also shown interest in making investments in special industrial zones in India and also would like to share its experiences of reforms. Such probable changes in India on the process of reforms and development have similarities with China’s liberalization policy. Hence, there are a number of things for India to learn from China.

In addition to the bilateral trade issues, the two sides also discussed a number of issues including probable energy cooperation, Afghanistan issue and counter-terrorism with a focus on Jihadi terrorism. The rise in attacks emanating from China's Xinjiang province has emerged as an important source of concern.

China’s growing challenges warrant them to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation with India. It will be in mutual interest and hence both Beijing and New Delhi have committed to work together on this issue of gravest danger. Such bilateral cooperation in counter terrorism area will certainly boost trust and confidence. The future of strategic partnership between India and China very much depends upon the cooperation in the field of intelligence sharing under the parameters of the counter-terrorism efforts.

Importantly, China and India, both being victims of terrorism, share common interests and to a larger extent confront common challenges in counter-terrorism. The two sides have been cooperating on a number of areas relating to the terrorism-related issues, including policy exchange and joint exercises. However, this is not enough. They need to intensify the larger framework of cooperation with a focus on technology sharing.

In particular, it was highlighted by Wang that the boundary issue will remain a complex one and both would require to have a strong will and resolve mainly to find a solution acceptable to each other. However, the lack of a solution to this vexing problem should not impede the progress in other areas of convergences. Both the nations need to continue with dialogue and manage differences.

The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed in 2013 was an indication of the seriousness and willingness to chart out the solution. Such an agreement will help increase direct engagement and mutual trust between the Chinese and Indian border troops. It will be in the interest of both the nations especially in maintaining peace and tranquility.

From India’s perspective, there is no doubt in saying that political consensus exists in building and maintaining close ties with China. The views become divided when Beijing does not keep up with the expectations. The Chinese incursions across the Line of Actual Control have been the major area of concerns.

There is, however, need for both India and China to work together in the emerging international system. If the two cooperate, then, both can really drive the larger agenda for the global community. Bilateral cooperation in a number of areas in International forums, including G20, IMF and the World Bank, in the context of the financial crisis was perceived as an important change in the approach. The future of India-China relations will be mostly dependent on their behavioural patterns and guided by mutual economic and commercial interests. Undoubtedly, both the nations together have a huge responsibility to provide the alternate mechanism to the international financial institutions, which can address to the needs of the developing countries.

The emerging new phase of India-China relations seems to be in the interests of the international community. It will usher into a new era full of positive contours and assume the responsibilities of leading world affairs. ---INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

< Previous   Next >
  Mambo powered by Best-IT