Doklam standoff: India says did the right thing, asks for mutual withdrawal and talks

Doklam standoff: India says did the right thing, asks for mutual withdrawal and talks

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With the impasse deepening between the two Asian giants over their weeks-long border standoff, India has made it clear to China that “both sides must pull back troops and work things out with talks,” and underlined that other countries have backed India over the Doklam stand-off.
In a pointed speech in parliament on July 20, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that “both sides must pull back troops and work things out with talks” and stressed that India’s action (in sending its troops to the Doklam plateau last month) was motivated by its need to protect its security near where the boundaries of China, India and Bhutan meet.
“If China, unilaterally changes the status quo of the tri-junction point, it is a straight challenge to our security,” said Ms Swaraj.
The relations between the two Asian powers have been under severe stress for over a month after Chinese troops started building a road in the disputed Doklam plateau, which Bhutan claims as part of its own territory. India sent in its troops to stall the construction of the road as it would give the Chinese military access to the Chicken Point that links the mainland India with its seven north-eastern states.
India is insisting on diplomatic means to resolve the crisis amid aggressive rhetoric emanating from nationalistic state-controlled media in Beijing.
In a sign that India is hoping that dialogue will resolve the impasse, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will travel to China on July 27 for a meeting of national security advisers of BRICS grouping of emerging powers, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. India is looking for a separate bilateral meeting between Mr Doval and China’s influential State Counsellor Yeng Jiechi on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting to explore ways to defuse the crisis.

India speaks in one voice, opts for diplomacy to resolve China tensions

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Amid deepening impasse with China on the Doklam standoff, India has decided on a calibrated strategy to explore all diplomatic options to defuse tensions with Asia’s most powerful economy and a rising power.

The government and opposition parties spoke in one voice on pursuing the diplomatic course to deescalate tensions and underlined the need for national unity to deal with an increasingly assertive China.
At a meeting hosted by Home Minister Rajnath Singh at his residence in New Delhi on July 14, the government briefed opposition leaders on its decision to send troops to stall the building of a strategic road through the Doklam plateau by Chinese troops in the Bhutanese territory and its options in dealing with China.

China’s Belt and Road Forum: Should India get back on board?

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Delivering a keynote address to a mammoth gathering of 1500 people, that included 29 heads of the states and officials, entrepreneurs, financiers, academicians and journalists from over 130 countries including figures such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, Chinese president Xi Jinping reminded people of Zhou Enlai’s speech at the Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung in April 1955 that was also represented by the 29 heads of the states. If India was the prime mover of the conference in Bandung, China is in the driver’s seat as far as the Belt and Road Forum is concerned, and India is conspicuously absent after it boycotted the Forum on the pretext of sovereignty.
The Silk Road spirit
In his address, Xi Jinping said “China’s construction of the Belt and Road Initiative is not to make a new start, but to connect development strategies of different countries and complement each other’s advantages … China is willing to share its development experience with all the rest of the world, but we will not intervene into other nation’s internal affairs, export our social system and development model, nor force others to accept them.” Reiterating the ‘Silk Road Spirit’, the Chinese president said, “Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.” Reassuring the gathering of China’s ‘peaceful rise’, he said, “We will not follow the old way of geopolitical games during the push for the Belt and Road Initiative, but create a new model of win-win and cooperation. It will not form a small group undermining stability, but is set to build a big family with harmonious co-existence.”
If at Bandung, Zhou Enlai was successful in smashing the international blockade by seeking commonalities between the nations, in Beijing Xi Jinping has been successful in smashing protectionism and convincing the nations about common development, the globalisation with Chinese characteristics, and even common security. In order to bulldoze the $1.4trillion ‘project of the century’, Xi Jinping pledged $14.49 billion more to the existing $40 billion Silk Road Fund founded in late 2014.The Development Bank of China and the Export-Import Bank of China has pledged to inject $124 billion in the Belt and Road Initiative to support infrastructure, financing and industrial capacity. This is understandable as China’s trade volume and investment with the Belt and Road Initiative countries in 2016, exceeded $3 trillion and $50billion respectively.

Belt & Road: China’s Xi pitches for open trade and shared prosperity, pledges &100 billion more

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Unveiling his vision of “One Belt, and One Road,” a grand trans-regional connectivity project that seeks to link the four continents and encompass over 65 countries, China’s President Xi Jinping has made a robust pitch in the Chinese capital to the world to cooperate in his dream of shared prosperity.
Addressing the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 14, the Chinese president pledged around US$113 billion in extra funding for OBOR. He said that China’s Silk Road Fund will increase funding by 100 billion yuan, Chinese banks will extend 300 billion yuan in overseas capital, the China Development Bank will pledge 250 billion yuan, and the Export and Import Bank of China will add 130 billion yuan in special loans to Belt and Road projects.

Belt and Road initiative “a project of the century”: Xi Jinping

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Chinese President Xi Jinping
said Belt and Road initiative focuses on the Asian, European and African countries,
In his opening address outlining China’s vision, Xi referred to ancient Silk Road and spoke about significance of various civilisations, including the “Indus and Ganges civilisations”. Without referring to India’s objections to the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC), Xi said, “all countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other’s development paths and social systems, and each other’s core interests and major concerns.”
Xi said the Belt and Road initiative is “a project of the century” that will benefit people across the world. Denying any attempts to form a “small group” of nations taking part in the Belt and Road initiative of which CPEC is a part, Xi said China plans to build it as a road to peace and link his country to much of Asia, Europe and Africa

Amid Beijing-Kathmandu bonhomie, India hosts Nepal President

Amid China’s increasing forays in South Asia and its deepening relations with Kathmandu, Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari is in India this week on a five-day visit (April 17-21) that provides an opportunity to both sides to address each other’s concerns on a number of issues that shadow bilateral ties.
Mrs Bhandari, the first woman president of Nepal, will hold talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, who had visited Kathmandu in November last year, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explore ways to expand cooperation between the two fraternal neighbours. Mrs Bhandari’s visit comes in the backdrop of “intensified bilateral engagements” and these exchanges have been “immensely useful” in ensuring steady progress in co-operative ties across diverse sectors, said Sudhakar Dalela, joint secretary in charge of Nepal in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, ahead of the Nepal president’s visit. The canvas of India-Nepal ties, rooted in robust cultural and people-to-people ties, encompasses he entire spectrum, including trade, economic investment, water resources, energy sector including power trading, defence and security, oil and gas sector.

Dalai Lama in Arunachal: India asks China to refrain from artificial controversy

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With an upset China watching closely, Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has begun a week-long visit to India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The visit has raised the hackles in Beijing and looks set to fuel fresh tensions in Sino-Indian ties. Brushing aside Beijing’s strong objections, India has asked China to refrain from stoking “an artificial controversy” around the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a region in the eastern Himalayas China claims as its own and regularly denounces foreign leaders’ visits to the place as attempts to bolster India’s territorial claims. India has consistently maintained that Arunachal Pradesh is its integral part and that China should respect that.
Four days ago, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had told the media in Beijing that “China resolutely opposes the 14th Dalai Lama visiting border regions disputed by China and India” and warned that this would “seriously damage” bilateral relations. He dubbed the Dalai Lama as a “dangerous separatist” and urged India to “avoid taking any actions that would further complicate the border issue.” On April 4, the Chinese state media reacted vehemently, saying India “is deliberately risking confrontation” with China by allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh and warned that there will be “severe consequences” in bilateral ties if the visit was allowed.
The trip by the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh is expected to ratchet up tensions between New Delhi and Beijing, which are already festering over a host of strategic issues such as the long-standing unsettled border demarcation between India and China, China’s growing ties with Pakistan and some other South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives which India considers as its own backyard. Analysts say that while India officially would not like any political colour to be attributed to the Dalai Lama’s visit, it is sending a clear message that China has not respected India’s sensitivities in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir by including the disputed territory in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Amid China power play in Indian Ocean, India to focus on invigorating IORA

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Against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean turning into a theatre of geopolitical competition and increased Chinese forays into this strategic water body, the 21 littoral nations whose shores are washed by this strategically located resource-rich body will hold its first ever summit of leaders in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on March 7.
India, a preeminent Indian Ocean power, has high stakes in moulding the outcomes of the maiden summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The first IORA summit is special as it also marks the 20th anniversary of the grouping of the Indian Ocean littoral states. Ideally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been trying to shape a strategic and cooperative vision of the Indian Ocean Region, should be participating in the summit, but the crucial elections in India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh has kept him away from this important gathering of leaders of the region. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, a veteran diplomat, is expected to unveil India’s agenda and priorities at the summit in Jakarta on March 7.
Blue will be the reigning colour at the IORA leaders’ discussions in Jakarta. If all goes well, the summit should come out with a joint plan for the development of the blue economy which entails sustainable development of ocean resources by avoiding debilitating resource competition. Prime Minister Modi is an ardent proponent of the blue economy.
The increasing strategic salience of the Indian Ocean can’t be overemphasised. China will be the elephant in the room when the leaders of IORA nations meet in Jakarta as most of them have some form of China anxiety.

Trump’s ‘One China’ assurance to Xi defuses tensions

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It was an ice-breaking call China’s President Xi Jinping had been waiting for since the maverick billionaire Donald Trump took charge as the 45th president⋅⋅⋅
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Why India is wary of CPEC & OBOR: It’s sovereignty issue

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The China challenge or the China threat emerged as a leitmotif in a high-profile international conference in New Delhi, with India being upfront about its political differences with Beijing and asking the latter to respect India’s sovereignty in the course of building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
India, however, took care to eschew a negative adversarial construct of India-China relations, with Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar making it clear that in New Delhi’s assessment, the rise of India and China can be “mutually supportive.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his part, outlined briefly a template of harmonious India-China relations, saying “respect and sensitivity for each other’s core interests” holds the key.
“China is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. We expect they will respect other people’s sovereignty,” said Mr Jaishankar at the second edition of Raisina Dialogue, co-organised by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation.