Is it time for a China-India-Pakistan trilateral summit? There are hardly any takers in New Delhi for this radical proposal made by China’s ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui at a …Read More
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.”
As China entered the Xi era with the consecration of President Xi Jinping among the pantheon of Chinese greats like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, there has been a flood of messages from world leaders congratulating Mr. Xi on his elevation as one of the most powerful leaders of his country. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi choose to send a message through his Weibo account (a Chinese social network à laTwitter)saying: “Congratulations to President Xi on getting re-elected as CPC General Secretary. Look forward to further promote India-China ties together.” India-China relations had come under a cloud following the 72-day long stand-off at Doklam, but the two leaders had put that behind them when they met at the BRICS summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen in September.Read More
Putting the Doklam incident firmly behind, India and China have decided to steer their relationship on “an upward trajectory” by enhancing mutual trust and widening the arc of convergence.
Don’t look back, look forward to a brighter shared future – this was the big message coming out from wide-ranging talks between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xiamen. The first talks between the two leaders, after the Doklam incident threatened to derail relations and plunge the two Asian giants into a military conflict, lasted for over an hour. The talks firmed up a new big-picture understanding to start anew by managing their differences with mutual respect and sensitivity.
“It was a forward-looking approach. The discussions were constructive and forward-looking – where the relationship is going and will be going,” India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishhankar told Indian journalists at Wyndham Grand hotel.
In essence, what emerged from the Xiamen meeting between PM Modi and President Xi was a joint understanding and resolve on how to take this relationship forward.
Doklam is out, BRICS is in. In the picturesque coastal city of Xiamen, better known for its delicious noodles, entrepreneurial drive and pretty beaches, the sound and fury that accompanied the standoff between India and China on the Doklam plateau appeared a distant echo as India and China set differences aside to bolster the edifice of BRICS. The focus was on convergences and looking ahead, rather than nursing grouse and conspiracy theories as China joined hands with India and other BRICS countries to shape the strongest ever BRICS joint declaration on terrorism.
It was a triumph of Indian diplomacy, but it was also a reflection of the pivotal role of BRICS in fighting common threats and promoting regional stability. The 71-paragraph Xiamen Declaration, if implemented even partially, could be a potential game-changer in strengthening the counter-narrative of emerging powers on a host of geopolitical crises and shaping a new global governance architecture that crystallises aspirations of developing countries.
Looking ahead, both PM Modi and President Xi Jinping have spoken eloquently and convincingly about ushering in “another golden decade” for BRICS, but the key to unlocking the potential of that golden decade will lie in rescuing BRICS from Doklam-like conflicts which could derail not just BRICS, but the larger promise of an Asian century. The resolution of the Doklam crisis paved the way for a reasonably successful BRICS summit in Xiamen, but India and China need to make serious and sustained efforts to start anew and build a largely harmonious and future-looking relationship, without glossing over differences. It’s time, therefore, for a reality check.
Moving beyond Doklam, India and China have to, therefore, fashion a new alphabet of BRICS centred on “Business, Regional Integration, Innovation, Culture and Statesmanship.”
The resolution of the Doklam border standoff between India and China appears to have paved the way for a successful BRICS summit in Xiamen, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing that he was looking forward to “productive discussions and positive outcomes that will support the agenda of a stronger BRICS partnership under the chairmanship of China.”
I also look forward to productive discussions and positive outcomes that will support the agenda of a stronger BRICS partnership under the chairmanship of China,” the Indian leader said.
In his message, Mr Modi underscored the importance of BRICS as a force for upholding world peace, a veiled reference to the potential and role of the BRICS grouping as a platform for easing tensions between member countries.
The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen will mark the beginning of another decade of BRICS, with Chinese President Xi Jinping promising “a golden decade” of BRICS. The Xiamen summit is expected to culminate in a vision statement for consolidation and expansion of the BRICS to entrench it as the most influential forum of emerging economies and South-South cooperation.
Looking ahead, it seems the two emerging countries have decided to compartmentalize their bilateral relations and cooperation in pluralistic and multilateral forums like BRICS. In this regard, PM Modi’s bilateral talks with his Chinese host Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit will be crucial in mapping the way forward for this conflict-prone relationship between Asia’s leading economies.
Two days after mutual withdrawal of Indian and Chinese troops from Doklam, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed hope that India will learn lessons from this incident and prevent …Read More
Amidst the standoff on Doklam, China has invoked Panchsheel by saying that India has trampled upon the five principles of peaceful co-existence. In contrast to previous confrontations along the Himalayan …Read More
Japan’s unequivocal support for India’s stand on the Doklam crisis with China has come yet as another proof of the success of New Delhi’s diplomacy in getting its point across to other nations on the crucial issue, without getting provoked by the sound and fury in Beijing.
New Delhi’s calibrated approach is in stark contrast to China’s hasty steps and threatening noises that followed the Indian troops’ intervention to stop construction of a strategic road in Doklam which lies at the trijunction of India, China and Bhutan in the Sikkim sector, as the road would have made the PLA’s access easier to the ‘Chicken Neck’, the narrow strip of land that links India with its north-eastern states.
Signals emanating from the US also indicate that India’s behaviour was being appreciated as becoming of a mature power.
The explicit support of Japan, Asia’s second largest economy, is the first such expression of solidarity by an important Asian power for India in the wake of the Doklam stand-off. In the more than two months since the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops started on the Doklam plateau, “India’s restraint and smart diplomacy has elicited admiration and respect from major power centres, indicating growing international support for India’s position that sensitive issues like these should be resolved through dialogue, and not allowed to be hijacked by hysterical nationalist propaganda emanating from China’s state-controlled media outlets,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India and World, a prestigious magazine on international affairs. “In situations like these, soft power matters as much as hard power,” he said. Read more…
It is almost two months since Indian and Chinese soldiers became locked in a standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim Sector. The faceoff was triggered when a team of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was prevented by Indian troops from extending a class-5 track in the Dolam Plateau area which is part of Bhutanese territory. The Indian Army acted in response to a request from the Royal Bhutan Army under the terms of the 2007 Bilateral Friendship Treaty. Moreover, the PLA’s track building is in contravention of the 2012 Agreement between the Special Representatives of India and China, whereby the status quo was required to be maintained in the said area until the resolution of the trijunction in consultation with Bhutan.
While many seem to know China, few understand it. In the desperation to engage the PRC, there is a tendency to lose sight of the bigger picture. Given the conflicting interests coupled with unresolved issues, relations between India and China are bound to be marked by contradictions, leading to frequent confrontations. However, through deft diplomacy, differences can be managed. While solutions to vexed problems may not be on the horizon, disputes turning into conflict can be avoided in the larger interest of both nations.