See More on Facebook

Analysis

A major chance to lift China-India ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi get set for their first informal summit in Wuhan.


Written by

Updated: April 27, 2018

The world will be watching as Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Wuhan in Central China’s Hubei province on Friday for the first “informal” summit between the two countries’ leaders.

This somewhat surprise diplomatic initiative comes at an important time for China-India relations, considered one of the most consequential for the 21st century. Yet bilateral relations, at times, have been affected by historical grievances and geostrategic tensions.

It will therefore be good for the two countries, as well as the world, if they manage their ties well.

For more than 2,000 years, the two ancient civilizations have had a friendly association, which has been recorded in numerous stories and Buddhist relics of exchange. In modern times, the two countries supported each other in their struggles for national independence and, along with Myanmar, initiated Panchasheel, or the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, enriching international relations.

Today, both China and India are at a crucial stage of reform and modernization. There is a lot they can share with each other to achieve their similar goals-the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and the vision of “New India”. China is the biggest trading partner of India, and India the largest project contracting market for Chinese companies in South Asia. India’s competitive edge in information technology, software and medicines, and China’s strengths in manufacturing, infrastructure development and emerging industries make the two sides natural partners with great potential for closer economic cooperation.

The two countries also share the common interest of tackling global issues, from climate change to cybersecurity. Both strongly support globalization and multilateralism, and advocate increasing developing countries’ voice in global governance.

President Xi and Prime Minister Modi developed an early interest in each other’s countries. Xi was an avid reader of Rabindranath Tagore’s poems, and Modi visited China four times to draw inspiration for development as chief minister of Gujarat. As national leaders, the two have met 11 times in four years, with exchange visits to each other’s hometowns of Ahmedabad, Gujarat province, and Xi’an, Shaanxi province, in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Such frequent interactions and rare show of friendship underscored the great importance both countries attach to their relations and fostered an effective working relationship between the two leaders. Still, bilateral relations are sometimes rattled by the issue of misperceptions, leading to misreading of intentions and trust deficit.

Given the growing economic asymmetry between the two countries-India’s GDP is only one-fifth that of China-some in India tend to see the development of China and India in zerosum terms. They interpret India’s failure to gain accession to the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and Beijing’s pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative with other South Asian countries as China’s steps to gain geostrategic advantage over India and thwart its efforts to become a “leading power”. On its part, China will be watching India’s role in the “Indo-Pacific” strategy initiated by the United States keeping China in mind.

In this context, the Wuhan meeting provides a much needed opportunity for strategic communication at the top level. The two leaders are expected to hold in-depth talks in a relaxed setting on issues vital to the long-term development of Sino-Indian ties. Rather than focusing on specific issues, such heart-to-heart talks can seek to close the perception gap and restore strategic trust, and form new consensus in order to put bilateral ties back on the track of steady growth.

The two leaders are expected to reaffirm their common vision for peace, stability and development of Asia, which is big enough for the neighboring countries to develop side by side. The common interests between China and India far outweigh their differences. So they should see each other as friends and partners in building a community of shared future for humankind, rather than foes or rivals destined to be trapped in futile competition. Together, they should reject the zero-sum approach and embrace win-win cooperation, because greater synergy of development strategies, the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative, and third-party cooperation in South Asia will benefit both.

As Xi has stressed, the Chinese dragon and the Indian elephant must not fight but dance with each other. If they succeed in doing so in Wuhan and in the future, Asia and the world will be better off for it.

From China Daily. The author, Yi Fan, is a Beijing-based expert on international affairs.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis

North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday. Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed. “At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un


By Zaffar Abbas
December 23, 2019

Analysis

India, China step up the wooing but Rajapaksa in no hurry to align Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will try to balance the competing interests of China, India in the region. The conversation in regional capitals after the emphatic win of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan elections last month centres around a central question: Will he manage to pull a Sheikh Hasina on India and China? The reference, of course, is to the Bangladesh Prime Minister who many believe has managed to successfully push her country’s interests by balancing the competing strategic ambitions of China and India in South Asia. And Rajapaksa knows a thing or two about protecting what he believes are his country’s core interests. After all, he braved the Western world’s intense criticism – and India’s acute discomfort given its large domestic Tamil population – of the means adopted by him as Defence Minister in his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s


By Ishan Joshi
December 12, 2019

Analysis

Nepal moves up in Human Development Index but still lags behind in South Asia

Nepal’s human development index of 0,579 indicates that people are living longer, are more educated and have greater incomes, according to the Human Development Report. Despite global progress in tackling poverty, hunger and disease, a ‘new generation of inequalities’ indicates that many societies are not working as they should and Nepal is not an exception, according to a new human development report released on Tuesday. The old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the new generation of inequalities is based on technology, education and the climate, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report. “Previously, we talked about wealth as a major driver for inequality. Now, countries like Nepal are in another inequality trap and that concerns


By The Kathmandu Post
December 12, 2019

Analysis

Is polarisation driven by Hyper Information Disorder Syndrome?

In a study of Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Poland, Turkey and the US, writes ANDREW SHENG, scientists attribute populism to the rise of decisive leaders who push nationalism, demonise opponents and stir up issues that further divide societies. BANGKOK – Mass protests seem to be breaking out all over the place, from Hong Kong to Santiago, Tehran, Bolivia, Catalonia, Ecuador, France and Iraq to Lebanon.  The root causes of these protests have many local reasons, but there are common themes, such as inequality, corruption, incompetent governments, rural-urban migration, demography, anger, social media and demand for change. But underlying all these protests is the growing polarization of societies, increasingly manifested in viol


By Asia News Network
December 9, 2019

Analysis

Rohingya Crisis Fallout

Transparency International Bangladesh has painted a grim outlook for the crisis. Bangladesh faces long-term financial, political and security challenges as Rohingya repatriation may not happen anytime soon, said Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman. The fund from the international community for nearly one million Rohingyas may not sustain as no strong international initiative has been taken to oblige Myanmar for creating a conducive environment for the refugees to return soon, he said. “As a result, Bangladesh’s socio-economic instability will grow. There are risks of security at local and national levels. The crisis also creates political and diplomatic challenges for the government,” Iftekharuzzaman said. It also involves the risks of growing extremism as the people who face violence are more likely to become violent, he said at a press confere


By Daily Star
December 6, 2019

Analysis

Pyongyang to hold party meeting ahead of year-end deadline

Kim Jong-un rides up Paektusan again, highlights self-reliance and revolutionary spirit. North Korea will hold a plenary meeting around the end of December to decide on “crucial issues,” its state-run news agency said Wednesday. On the same day, the Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rode up Paektusan on a white horse accompanied by military commanders, raising speculation that the communist regime may take more provocative military actions as the year-end deadline it set for denuclearization talks with the US quickly approaches. North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea announced Tuesday that the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the WPK would convene around the end of December, Korea Central News Agency reported, “in order to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the chan


By Zaffar Abbas
December 5, 2019