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.

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Competitive cooperation, not rivalry for India-China ties: Bhadrakumar

After more than ten weeks of posturing and charged rhetoric during the face-off at Doklam plateau in Bhutan, India and China have signaled their intention to start afresh and improve their relationship. This was reflected in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the BRICS summit in Xiamen on September 5, when they decided to take a forward looking approach to the bilateral relationship.

In an interview with Soumya Nair, former diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar talks about India’s options in dealing with a rising China and the course of India-China relationship, post-Doklam.

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THE INDIA-CHINA RELATIONSHIP: NEAR TERM PROSPECTS

The presence of strong leaders like Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi opens up the possibilities of path-breaking initiatives that could benefit both countries and transform the geo-political landscape in the region. Given China’s military and economic strength and assertive territorial claims, it will be up to Beijing to initiate the first steps.

India-China relations are presently at a critical stage. The decisions and events of the next 2-5 years will be crucial and could mark a new phase in the relationship. At the same time the flux in geostrategic alignments in the world, caused by the potential shift in the global balance of power to the East, have got accentuated with the election in November 2016 of Donald Trump as the 45th US President and consequent uncertainty about his policies.

The almost simultaneous emergence of strong, new leaders, namely Xi Jinping in China, Narendra Modi in India and Shinzo Abe in Japan, has injected an element of competition in the region. All three are pragmatic leaders with a track record of being decisive and a capacity to take bold decisions.
Ties between India and China are, presently, marked by mutual suspicion. Given China’s military and economic strength and assertive territorial claims, it will be up to Beijing to initiate the first steps. Thus far, Xi Jinping has shown no sign of taking such an initiative.

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Rising India & Rising China: A medium-term projection

As two major countries in the Asian region in terms of population, territory, higher economic growth rates and growing aspirations, the role of India and China vis-à-vis each other, and at the regional and global levels, is significant. Medium-term prospects of these two countries point towards relative enhancement in their respective comprehensive national strengths, gradual vanishing of “buffer zones” that existed between the two in the Asian region and a coalescing equation so far conditioned by the “cooperation and competition” dyad. Nevertheless, overall stability in the political relations can be expected between the two Asian powers in the medium term.
Unlike in the past, India is also leveraging a wide variety of diplomatic and strategic partnerships with the US, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam at a time when Beijing is trying to expand its appeal through One Belt, One Road project and cobbling up semi-military alliances with Pakistan and others. At the ideological level, a rising India is increasingly speaking about its democratic experiment as a possible model for others to adopt.Traditionally, this has been a contentious – if not made explicit – issue between India and China in their appeal to Asian, African and South American continents. Thus, the stakes are expected to be high for India’s relations with China in the medium to long-term.

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In OBOR shadow, Modi-Xi meeting in Astana

Amid Belt and Road concerns in New Delhi and Beijing’s continuing ambivalence over India’s NSG membership, the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kazakh capital Astana will be watched closely in the region.
The Modi-Xi meeting will be the first high-level contact between the two leaders since they last met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Goa in October last year. At that point, the two leaders had decided to move beyond their differences over New Delhi’s NSG membership to concentrate on expanding economic relationship. But since then, bilateral relations between the two Asian giants have come under further strain due to a host of reasons, including Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the visit of a high-profile Taiwanese delegation to India and New Delhi’s uncompromising opposition to One Belt, One Road project.

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BRICS bonding: Modi targets global supply chain of terror

Against the backdrop of the escalating threat from cross-border terrorism from Pakistan and the rise of the Islamic State, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for enhanced intra-BRICS and international cooperation in breaking the “global supply chain of terror and isolate those states that sponsor terrorism.”
Intensifying counter-terror cooperation topped the agenda during various engagements of PM Modi in Hangzhou, the venue of the G20 summit, on September 4. The focus on terror was evident in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during which he stressed that the approach to terror “must not be politically motivated.”

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