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

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Analysis

Report of NK’s ‘undisclosed’ missile bases not new, S. Korea says

South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday played down a new report on North Korea’s “undisclosed” missile sites. South Korea’s government said that it’s going too far to call the North’s continued activity a “great deception” given that it has no specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report issued by Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The group said it has located 13 out of an estimated 20 missile operating bases undeclared by the secretive communist regime. “The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations,” the report


By The Korea Herald
November 13, 2018

Analysis

‘Forced repatriation’ to pose security risk

International crisis warns that forced repatriation of Rohingya refugees could pose serious security risks. The International Crisis Group has warned of serious security risks of “forced repatriation” of the Rohingya, just as Myanmar and Bangladesh prepare for the November 15 return of the refugees sheltered in Bangladesh. In a statement, the Brussels-based global advocacy body said Rohingyas strongly opposed the repatriation move and would do whatever they can to resist it. “This [forced repatriation] will increase tension in the camps and could lead to confrontations between refugees and Bangladesh security forces and greatly complicate humanitarian operations. “A botched repatriation attempt could potentially set back peace and development efforts by years,” said the statement released yesterday. It comes two weeks after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin the repatriation


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Analysis

No further dismantlement at NK missile site

North Korea’s key missile site has not been dismantled further since August, a US website monitoring the regime said Thursday. North Korea has pledged to dismantle a missile engine testing site and a launch pad in Dongchang-ri as part of its stated commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. 38 North said satellite imagery from Oct. 31 indicates there has been no additional dismantlement activity since August. “Components that were previously removed remain stacked on the ground at both locations,” 38 North said in an article posted on its website. Meanwhile, the imagery shows new equipment, possibly for ventilation,


By The Korea Herald
November 9, 2018

Analysis

China Trade War Update

China has kicked off the country’s first ever international import expo in Shanghai, an event designed to boost China’s image as a market to the world. President Xi Jinping, in his opening remarks, said that the Shanghai expo isn’t simply an trade fair, rather it should be viewed as a “major policy for China to push for a new round of high-level opening-up and a major measure for China to take the initiative to open its market to the world.” The Import Expo was not initially designed as an answer to the trade war with the United States—the expo was first announced more than a year ago in May of 2017, long before the first shots of the trade war were fired—but in a way that’s what it has become. President Xi


By Quinn Libson
November 8, 2018

Analysis

Japan sets out plan to regulate IT giants more strictly

A panel set up to study the issue has recommended plans to regulate IT companies more strictly. The government needs to create tough regulations for information technology giants through measures such as forming a specialist monitoring team, according to an interim report released Monday by the government’s expert panel. Based on the report, the Fair Trade Commission will launch a large-scale investigation as early as the beginning of next year into the actual situation of business deals conducted by IT firms. The government will kick off discussions on tougher measures that would include obligating the firms to disclose the terms of their business deals. The report urged the strengthening of regulations on IT giants, called platformers in Japanese, which operate or host search engines, online shopping sites and social media sites, among other things. The panel


By The Japan News
November 7, 2018