China’s Xi rejects geopolitics behind BRI: Will India bite the bait?

Amid persistent anxieties about the nature of the Belt and Road (BRI) project among a host of countries, including India, China’s President Xi Jinping has rejected any ulterior “geopolitical calculations” behind the BRI and underlined China’s commitment to “building a community with a shared future for mankind.”
“China has no geopolitical calculations, seeks no exclusionary blocs and imposes no business deals on others,” the Chinese leader said at the Boao Forum for Asia, popularly known as ‘Asia’s Davos’, in the island of Hainan. He also assured that the project does not impose any unfavourable deals on any countries.

Read More

China’s Xi rejects Cold War mentality, pitches for open economy & trade

Amid the rising wave of protectionism and escalating Beijing-Washington trade war, Chinese President Xi Jinping has rejected “Cold War mentality” and projected himself as an apostle of globalization at the Boao Forum for Asia in the island of Hainan.
“China’s reform and opening up will definitely succeed and a Cold War mentality, zero sum thinking and isolationism are outdated,” Mr Xi told top industrialists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders at the Boao Forum. The Chinese leader’s comments were a veiled critique of US President Donald Trump’s America First world view and protectionist policies.

Read More

It is Doklam again: Will it lead to another confrontation?

On last Sunday, 25 March, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in Dehra Dun that India is “alert and ready for any unforeseen situation in Doklam”. Adding that the government was constantly working to modernise the forces and that they would be ready to “maintain our territorial integrity.”
This was a day after India’a Ambassador to Beijing, Gautam Bambawale, told the South China Morning Post in an interview that any attempt by China to change the status quo along the Indian border may lead to another Doklam-like standoff.
Earlier in the month, Sitharaman had told the Rajya Sabha that the forces of the two countries had redeployed themselves away from the point of the standoff in last June. In response to a question on Chinese activity there, she said that “in order to maintain these troops during winter, PLA has undertaken construction of some infrastructure, including sentry posts, trenches and helipads.”

Read More

3 keys for unlocking India-China economic ties: New Steps, New Horizons

President Xi’s report pointed out the right direction for developing China-India economic and trade relationship. In the future, following the principles of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, we will use three “keys” to unlock the potential of balanced and mutually beneficial China- India economic and trade cooperation in the “new era”.
With the guidance of our leaders and the guiding principles of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, India-China economic and trade cooperation will bring real benefits to our governments, business communities and ordinary people. It will become the bedrock and anchor of our bilateral relationship. With the development of this relationship, the day when “China and India speak in one voice, and the world listens” will come soon.

Read More

Trump’s new security calculus: India leading power & partner, China chief rival

In US President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled National Security Strategy (NSS), India is toasted as a leading global power, with Washington flaunting its love for New Delhi and deepening strategic and economic ties with this emerging power. Russia and China are painted as rivals and the US’ top national security threats, which threaten to “challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”
If there is one country which has come out shining in Trump’s “America First” NSS, unveiled in Washington on December 18, it’s India, the world’s most populous democracy and the fastest growing major economy. Seeking to bolster India’s rise, the NSS also backs India’s concerns obliquely on the China-led One Belt One Road project and asks Pakistan to take “decisive action” against terror groups operating from its territory.
Clearly, there is a lot to rejoice for India, but the prospects of adversarial relations with Russia and China presage a conflicted international geopolitical landscape which New Delhi will have to tread cautiously.
Shaping a balanced regional order and curbing China’s assertiveness align with New Delhi’s larger strategic goals, but given its own delicate relationship with China and extensive economic ties New Delhi will have to do a delicate diplomatic juggling act to avoid the impression of joining the US-led China containment design, which has been reinforced by the launch of the Quadrilateral dialogue among leading maritime democracies of the region, including India, US, Japan and Australia.

Read More

No zero sum games: India & China have more shared interests than differences

The human society has once again come to a crossroads of history. Should one opt for openness or isolation, cooperation or confrontation, win-win or zero-sum game? These are questions we are all thinking hard about. The choice made by major countries will significantly impact the future of our world and the entire mankind.
Both being big developing countries, China and India have far greater shared strategic interests than concrete differences, and far greater needs for cooperation than partial frictions.
We believe that as long as we continue to engage in in-depth strategic communication and promptly dispel strategic misgivings, the strategic value of China-India cooperation will speak for itself, and there will be a prospect of “the Dragon and the Elephant Dancing Together” and “1+1=11” effect as expected by our leaders.

Read More

ASEAN@50: Why Manila summit matters for India

It’s ASEAN moment in the Philippines capital – sparkling lights, giant Christmas tree and ASEAN emblems splashed all over this bustling metropolis conjure up a festive atmosphere that’s in keeping with the 50th anniversary celebrations of this vibrant grouping of 10 Southeast Asian nations. And Philippines’ maverick leader Roderigo Duterte has launched a veritable charm offensive as he rolls out the red carpet to welcome a host of world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, among others, for this defining marker in the history of ASEAN.
For India, the Manila summit will be an opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to underscore New Delhi’s strategic intent to play a bigger role in the region and impart more depth and content to its Act East policy.
On the strategic side, all eyes will be on the message coming out from the ASEAN summit on the South China Sea, where China’s suspected expansionist agenda has renewed anxiety about Beijing’s intentions and the region’s response to it. Ahead of the summit, Mr Duterte has already voiced his concerns and underlined the need for a written code of conduct that will ensure responsible behaviour by China in the disputed water body.
Looking ahead, as they celebrate 25 years of multifarious engagement across the spectrum, India and ASEAN will be looking to map new frontiers and raise the bar for this mutually empowering partnership. The message coming from the Manila summit will have a critical bearing on the future of this economically dynamic region and how it handles differences and power games to focus on the larger dream of realising the potential of an Asian Century.

Read More

Trump’s Meeting With Chinese Counterpart: Focus on Trade, North Korea Issue

“The United States really has to change its policies because they’ve gotten so far behind on trade with China and frankly with other countries,” Trump said at an expanded meeting with President Xi. “And I have great respect for you for that because you are representing China. But it’s too bad that past administrations allowed it to get so far out of kilter.”Trump’s two-day visit to Beijing resulted in a number of trade agreements worth $253.4 billion, according to Xi Jinping’s statements during a joint press conference on Thursday. Moreover, on the eve of Trump’s visit, the US and Chinese companies have already signed a number of deals worth $9 billion.

Read More

With China on mind, Japan pushes quad dialogue with India, US & Australia

With China’s President Xi Jinping promising to making China a major global power at the country’s twice-in-a-decade Party Congress, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has said that his country would soon propose a top-level security dialogue with the US, India and Australia on board.

Speaking to The Nikkei daily, he said that the “idea is for the leaders of the four nations to promote free trade and defence cooperation across a stretch of ocean from the South China Sea, across the Indian Ocean and all the way to Africa”. “We are in an era when Japan has to exert itself diplomatically by drawing a big strategic picture,” Mr. Kono said.

The daily reported that the foreign minister said that he had already had a brief discussion on the same with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on the sidelines of a foreign ministers meet in Manila two months back.

“Free and open seas will benefit all countries, including China and its Belt and Road Initiative,” he said, adding that dismantling North Korea’s missile programme will also focus prominently in the talks. Recently, expressing the US’s evolving view on China’s ambitious project, Mr. Tillerson had expressed concerns over China’s predatory economics and its not-so-responsible rise.

Read More