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

A FAQ on Indian Elections

Asia News Network’s Ishan Joshi takes a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the Indian election. Termed the “biggest democratic exercise’ in the world, India’s mega election spans over a number of days and involves a significant percentage of the world’s population. Asia News Network Associate Editor Ishan Joshi takes a look at some of the most pressing questions as the elections continue in India.  Why do the Indian elections take so long? Primarily, because of the logistics involved in conducting elections in this continent-sized country. India has close to 900 million eligible voters spread across 29 states and 7 union territories. Some of these areas are battling armed Islamist/Maoist insurgencies, others are considered sensitive due to issues of social unrest/law and order, and all of them are robus


By Asia News Network
April 16, 2019

Analysis

Bangladesh will not relocate Rohingyas

Foreign minister says won’t relocate Rohingyas if stakeholders don’t agree. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday said Bangladesh would not relocate Rohingyas to Bashan Char, an island in Noakhali, if all concerned think that would be a problem for them. “We thought they [Rohingyas] will live there better,” he told reporters mentioning that the government had made big arrangements for Rohingyas in Bashan Char. The foreign minister was talking to reporters after jointly inaugurating “Demonstration and Introduction of STP (Set-Top) Boxes for Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)” in Bangladesh Missions abroad with Information Minister Hasan Mahmud at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The foreign minister said the government had a plan to relocate around 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char on a voluntary basis in April next but now they did not know when it would take plac


By Daily Star
March 28, 2019

Analysis

Foreign companies eyeing stake in Malaysia Airlines

National carrier has been struggling since two high profile crashes in less than a year.   Several foreign companies, including from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, are keen to acquire a stake in Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), says the Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin. He said they do not necessarily take over the whole company, but may hold only part of the national carrier’s interest that is currently 100 percent owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd. “Alhamdulillah, those who are keen to buy MAB stocks are either from Asia, Europe and the Middle East. They have expressed their wish to the government and some have written to me. “They can do research on the company (MAB),” he said in an interview on TV3’s prime-time Buletin Utama on Monday (March 25) night. Daim said the aviation sector is increasingly complex and complicated, and huge funds and expertise ar


By The Star
March 26, 2019

Analysis

North Korea may have had core deciphering computers stolen

Computers may have been stolen during a break in in Spain. North Korean decryption computers may have been stolen from its embassy in Spain in last month’s raid by as-yet unidentified assailants, a high-profile North Korean defector claimed Sunday. Thae Yong-ho, a former deputy North Korean ambassador to UK said on his blog that the group of men who allegedly infiltrated the North Korean Embassy in Madrid may have stolen computers used to communicate with Pyongyang, which would be a harsh blow to the communist regime. “The world is reporting on the attack on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid, but North Korea has been keeping quiet over the incident for a month. I believe this is because they (the assailants) stole the ‘transformation computer,’ a core classified item in the embassy,” Thae said in his blog. “In a North Korean embassy, the transformation computer is considered more imp


By The Korea Herald
March 26, 2019

Analysis

What’s wrong with development in Pakistan?

Pakistan doesn’t suffer from a lack of development, but from flaws in the model of its pursuit. The key implicit assumption in the mainstream development theory is that urbanisation is a manifestation of a transition to ‘modernity’. This understanding is primarily derived from the urbanisation experiences of the countries of the Global North. That is, the industrial revolution allowed European/North American economies to produce large surpluses in the agriculture sector with the introduction of new production techniques. Thus, in the expectation of higher wages in t


By Dawn
March 26, 2019

Analysis

Recapping Thailand’s crazy election

Pro-military party exceeds expectation as Democrats struggle. Thailand’s election is almost over with 90 percent reporting and surprises abound as the pro-military Palang Pracharat party has proven a stronger adversary than expected for the Thaksin-backed Pheu Thai party. We take a look at several storylines that should be recapped as the country struggles to make sense of Sunday’s election. Thailand’s oldest political party must reorganize, reinvent Long billing themselves as the historical saviors of Thai democracy, the Democrat Party of Thailand have become the unwanted, middle-of-the-road party that stands for nothing and is appealing to none. The party will need to take a long hard look at itself after coming behind several other parties including the upstart Future Forward Party. Before placing blame on others, or Thaksin (as they tend to do for basically ever


By Cod Satrusayang
March 24, 2019