BEIJING: Creating a narrative of big powers engagement, India and China have imparted a fresh momentum to their burgeoning ties by signing twenty four agreements in diverse areas, and raised the bar for their economic and strategic partnership by
placing their cooperation in the context of an emerging Asian century.
Beijing has launched a charm offensive to welcome India’s Prime
Minister Narendra Modi on his maiden visit to China. In a
first-of-its-kind gesture, China’s President Xi Jinping personally
welcomed Mr Modi in Xian, an ancient cultural city and hometown of the
Chinese leader, on May 14. And on the second day, Mr Modi was
accorded a captivating ceremonial welcome, with Premier Le Keqiang
accompanying the Indian leader for the tri-service guard of honour.
PM Modi’s maiden visit to China has been pitched as an opportunity to
create a new dynamic and architecture in relations between the two
Asian giants. “The leaders agreed that the simultaneous rise of India
and China as two major powers in the region and the world offers a
momentous opportunity for realization of the Asian century,” a joint
statement said after wide-ranging talks between Mr Modi and Premier
There were no headline-hogging outcomes, but in their latest round of engagement, the two Asian juggernauts mapped out an ambitious agenda that included the setting up of a State/Provincial Leaders’ Forum and
closer collaboration in a broad spectrum of areas, including infrastructure, railways, development of smart cities, skill development and space.
The primary agenda in the India-China relations will remain resolutely
economic, and this was reflected in a slew of outcomes that flowed
from the leaders’ meeting in Beijing. Deals worth $10 billion are expected to be
sealed in Shanghai on May 16 as PM Modi seeks to proactively enlist China in his Make in
Mr Modi’s maiden visit to China has been marked by bonhomie and warmth, but that did not prevent Mr Modi from airing concerns on issues that could potentially derail relations between Asia’s emerging powers. “I stressed the need for China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back from realising the full potential of our partnership,” Mr Modi said at a joint media statement with Premier Li. The carefully chosen words reflected India’s concerns over a host of issues, including the Chinese practice of issuing stapled visa to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh; and Beijing’s forays into the Indian Ocean.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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