[op-ed snap] Off the road: India cannot sit out B&RI

source

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

The Belt and Road Initiative of China is a highly talked about international issue. The crux of this op-ed is an opinion that India should not shut the door on diplomacy over China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

  1. First, the reasons for India’s reservation for OBOR and why Delhi boycotted the event
  2. We also get to read whether the decision to boycott was right or wrong
  3. Make note of the points under ‘The Road ahead’ that will help in writing a Mains answer

Context:

  1. Three years after the plan for the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI, formerly called the Silk Road Economic Belt or One Belt One Road) was announced, China has concluded the first Belt and Road Forum
  2. While 130 countries participated, India boycotted the event, making its concerns public hours before the forum commenced in Beijing

India’s reservations:

  1. One, the B&RI’s flagship project is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which includes projects in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, ignoring India’s ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity’
  2. Two, the B&RI infrastructure project structure smacks of Chinese neo-colonialism, and could cause an adverse impact on the environment in the partner countries
  3. Three, there is a lack of transparency in China’s agenda, indicating that New Delhi believes the B&RI is not just an economic project but one that China is promoting for political control

Right or wrong?

  1. These concerns are valid
  2. The refusal to join B&RI till China addresses the objection over Gilgit-Baltistan is understandable
  3. The decision to not attend even as an observer, however, effectively closes the door for diplomacy
  4. It stands in contrast to countries such as the U.S. and Japan, which are not a part of the B&RI but sent official delegations

Neighbours:

  1. Each of India’s neighbours, with the exception of Bhutan, has signed up for the B&RI, expecting to see billions of dollars in loans for projects including roads, rail, gas pipelines, oil pipelines, electricity and telecommunications connectivity
  2. India’s anxiety about the possible debt trap may be well-founded, but it ignores the benefits these countries believe will accrue from the project
  3. As a friend and neighbour, India can at best alert them to the perils of the B&RI, and offer assistance should they choose another path

Road ahead:

  1. India may also face some difficult choices in the road ahead, because as a co-founder of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation it will be asked to support many of the projects under the B&RI
  2. At such a point, especially given the endorsement from the UN Secretary General, who said the B&RI is rooted in a shared vision for global development, India should not simply sit out the project
  3. It must actively engage with China to have its particular grievances addressed, articulate its concerns to other partner countries in a more productive manner
  4. India should take position as an Asian leader, not an outlier in the quest for more connectivity

Back2basics

What exactly is OBOR?

Touted as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project, the One Belt One Road initiative focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe. The emphasis is on enhancing land as well as maritime routes. The policy is significant for China since it aims to boost domestic growth in the country. Experts have noted that OBOR is also a part of China’s strategy for economic diplomacy. Considering China’s exclusion from G7, OBOR policy might just provide China an opportunity to continue its economic development.

Image result for OBOR initiative explained

If you wish to understand this issue in detail, we would recommend that you read this explainer from Indian Express – Why India is not part of the Belt and Road Initiative summit

[op-ed snap] Navigating the new silk road

source

Note4Students:

Mains Paper 2 : Issues regarding India and its neighbourhood

China’s Belt and Road Initiative reflects global trends and a new paradigm which India can support and shape. From UPSC’s perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Understand the difference between MDR-TB and XDR-TB

Mains level: Importance of joining hands with China and the advantages of this for India. Importance of synergistic relations between China and other Asian countries for re-adjustment & the balance of powers.

Now, this is not an entirely new angle to brood on. We have seen such op-eds come time and again and we will see more of them. For senior students, just brush over it – you are expected to know the basic concepts. Make note of how we are linking Aadhar’s fundamentals to SE Asian nations (We discussed this in an op-ed a few days back)

For newbies, understand the key terms – India’s Act east policy, One belt – one road initiative etc.


Context:

  1. There are speculations if Prime Minister Narendra Modi will surprise everyone and participate in China’s ‘Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation’

China’s friendly hand towards India:

  1. It would be an appropriate response to China’s recent four-point initiative and test its intent
  2. China has suggested starting negotiations on a ‘China India Treaty of Good Neighbours and Friendly Cooperation’
  3. Restarting negotiations on the China-India Free Trade Agreement
  4. Striving for an early harvest on the border issue and actively exploring the feasibility of aligning China’s ‘One Belt One Road Initiative’ (OBOR)
  5. India’s ‘Act East Policy’
  6. To repeat Nehru’s outright rejection in 1960 of Zhou Enlai’s proposal to settle the border dispute would be a historic mistake

With the long term in mind:

  1. India’s response should be based on its long-term interest and not short-term concerns
  2. First, treat the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as enlarging areas of cooperation; and push for India as the southern node and a ‘Digital Asia’
  3. India cannot be a $10 trillion economy by 2032 without integrating itself with the growing Asian market and its supply, manufacturing and market networks
  4. Second, complementary to China’s initiative, develop common standards with the fastest growing economies in Asia that are on the periphery of the B&R Initiative, such as Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia, to facilitate trade, investment and business engagement
  5. Third, offer a new cooperation framework in South Asia around global challenges
  6. For example, sharing meteorological reports, region specific climate research and the ‘Aadhaar’ digital experience, despite on-going security concerns
  7. Fourth, thought leadership provides an avenue to increasing global influence

Economy as strength:

  1. India has the potential to be the second largest world economy
  2. Modi’s participation in the Forum will not be as just one of the 28 leaders and 110 participating countries but as a partner shaping the changing world order
  3. Countries are now gaining influence more through the strength of their economy than the might of the military
  4. Calls for new alliances with Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan

China’s policy:

  1. As a continental power, China is knitting together the Asian market not only with roads, rail, ports and fibre optics but also through currency exchange, standards, shifting of industry and common approaches to intellectual property rights
  2. As the world economy is expected to triple by 2050, Asia will again have half of global wealth
  3. China is seeking to fill the vacuum following the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  4. India should add elements to it that serve its national interest as part of its vision of the ‘Asian Century’

Coordination needed:

  1. Coordination between the major powers is emerging as the best way of global governance in a multi-polar world
  2. Despite their territorial dispute, strategic differences and military deployment in the South China Sea, China and Japan have just agreed to strengthen financial cooperation, and the Forum could provide an impetus to settling the border dispute between India and China

India’s stance on forum irks China

  1. India is yet to decide whether it is attending the Chinese Belt and Road Forum on May 14-15
  2. Why China is Anxious?: Both Japan and the United States, that are not participating in the 60-nation Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, are sending delegations to the forum
  3. Therefore, India’s absence at the forum will be felt deeply by the Chinese Goverment
  4. India’s Stance:  India has also made it clear that it is impossible to attend as long as China considers the CPEC projects planned in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for Gilgit-Baltistan as a part of the Belt and Road initiative due to concerns over “sovereignty.”

[op-ed snap] India’s dominance in Indian Ocean is intact

Context:

  1. China recently launched its first indigenous aircraft carrier
  2. It may be named Shandong
  3. It will be China’s second carrier after it commissioned a modified Ukrainian Kuznetsov class aircraft cruiser Varyag into its navy as Liaoning in 2012

How does it effect India?

  1. First, China’s existing carrier, the Liaoning, is being used to train the crew to operate aircraft carriers and is not on operational deployment yet
  2. Compare this with India’s aircraft carrier: The INS Vikramaditya is fully operational
  3. India also has decades of experience in operating aircraft carriers, it has used them in warfare
  4. Second, the Shandong has only been launched, it doesn’t mean it’s ready for operational deployment
  5. India launched its first indigenous carrier, Vikrant, in 2013 and it is likely to be commissioned in the early 2020s after delays for various reasons
  6. Third, even after China commissions the Shandong, it will not send both its carriers on permanent deployment in the Indian Ocean

China’s interest areas:

  1. China’s primary areas of interest are the hotly contested waters and islands of the East and South China Sea
  2. The US maintains a potent naval presence in the area
  3. China will maintain both its carriers there although it will make symbolic port visits in the Indian Ocean region especially to Gwadar in Pakistan
  4. China plans a four- to six-carrier navy which will give it the capability to permanently deploy in the Indian Ocean
  5. But that will take a couple of decades at best and depends on the trajectory of the Chinese economy, which is slowing down
  6. By that time, India will have three aircraft carriers in service

Not nuclear powers:

  1. The two Chinese carriers are conventionally powered, not nuclear, which means they cannot be put on extended deployment
  2. They lack the logistics capability to operate far away from Chinese shores

India’s strategic location:

  1. China has to contend with India’s two unsinkable aircraft carriers: the Andaman and Nicobar Islands located close to the choke point of Malacca Strait and the Indian mainland itself which juts into the Indian Ocean
  2. The Andamans has India’s only tri-services command and there are plans to beef up military presence there
  3. India will be able to target PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) warships and interdict supplies using land-based assets like aircraft and missiles
  4. India has deployed its premier fighter aircraft, the Su-30MKI, in the Andamans and also in southern India

China’s presence in Indian Ocean:

  1. To break India’s dominance in the Indian Ocean, China has invested in a number of port projects in India’s neighbourhood, referred to as string of pearls
  2. All of them, including China’s expected naval base in Gwadar in Pakistan, are within range of India’s land-based fighters and missiles

Geographical advantage of India:

  1. India has the geographical advantage
  2. With over 40 warships under construction, it will have nearly 200 warships by 2025
  3. China has to contend with multiple naval powers in its core areas of interest
  4. The US navy looms large
  5. Japan has a powerful navy with advanced warships and submarines
  6. South Korea has a potent navy and Vietnam has acquired Russian Kilo-class submarines to counter the mightier Chinese navy
  7. India has multinational cooperation in the maritime domain primarily with the US and Japan
  8. India and the US share information on China’s maritime movements and train extensively during Exercise Malabar
  9. India’s chief of naval staff has said that India has plans in place for China’s naval presence in Gwadar

Way ahead for India:

  1. India should beef up its air defence and land-based anti-ship missiles in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as peninsular India
  2. Stationing the S-400 surface-to-air missile system that India plans to acquire in the Andamans will cover 500,000 sq. km of airspace over the Bay of Bengal
  3. All major Indian warships are being equipped with Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missiles along with the supersonic Brahmos anti-ship cruise missiles
  4. India is going to acquire nuclear and diesel-electric attack submarines

Note4Students:

The Chinese dragon will not be in a position to breathe fire on India in the Indian Ocean anytime soon.

Eyeing West Pacific, China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

  1. China has launched its second aircraft carrier, marking an incremental rise in its capacity to project power in the West Pacific
  2. The aircraft carrier is called Type 001-A before it acquires a formal name
  3. It is likely to christened Shandong, will supplement the Liaoning — China’s first aircraft carrier that was purchased from Ukraine, and commissioned in 2012
  4. The Type 001-A is expected to enter service of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) or PLAN by 2020
  5. The launch coincided with the start of the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system by the United States onto a golf course in Seongju, South Korea, in stated response to the North Korean threat
  6. Some Chinese experts propose that China would require five to six aircraft carriers, a capability nowhere in the horizon, to project power simultaneously in the West Pacific, as well as the Indian Ocean-India’s core area of concern
  7. On the other hand, the U.S. has 10 carrier strike groups, with at least four deployed in the Asia-Pacific region

Note4students:

An important development, since the China’s lack of capacity in this area has given India an edge till now. However, China will be better able to project force in the Indian Ocean region now.

[op-ed snap] A strategic encirclement

Context:

  1. China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper reported last month that the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) second aircraft carrier, referred to as “Type 001A” is nearing completion
  2. Another carrier, dubbed “Type 002”, is also under construction
  3. The Type 002 represents a much bigger class of ship but will incorporate modern design and operational features, including a catapult and early-warning aircraft

China’s grand strategy:

  1. China has built runways and fortified seven artificial islands created in the Spratly group in the South China Sea (SCS)
  2. India is encircled by a growing ring of Chinese power and influence
  3. To the north, garrisons, airfields and missile sites linked by modern road-rail networks underpin China’s dominant posture on the Tibetan plateau
  4. Xining-Lhasa rail link is progressing towards Nepal, where China has made significant political inroads
  5. To our east, China’s Yunan province will gain access to the Bay of Bengal via rail, highway and pipeline, linking it to the deep-water port being built by China at Kyaukpyu in Myanmar
  6. On India’s western flank, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will create access to the Arabian Sea from Xinjiang to the Pakistani port of Gwadar via Gilgit-Baltistan
  7. Further west, China has set up its first overseas military base at Djibouti on the Bab el-Mandeb
  8. To our south, China has built a new harbour in Hambantota and modernised Colombo port for Sri Lanka
  9. All three ports could provide bases or sanctuaries to PLAN ships and submarines deployed in the Indian Ocean
  10. PLAN intends to deploy its expanded marine corps to Djibouti and Gwadar
  11. The recent Chinese sale of eight diesel submarines to Pakistan and two to Bangladesh provides conclusive evidence of India’s “strategic encirclement”

What Chinese say:

  1. China’s sympathisers scoff at the “encirclement” thesis
  2. They maintain that China neither wants war, nor seeks further territorial gains
  3. It only wants economic engagement and tangible proof of friendship
  4. India has consistently failed to provide this friendship by playing the Dalai Lama card, cosying up to the US and withholding cooperation on the “Belt and Road” initiative

What China thinks about us?

  1. China looms large in India’s security perspectives, the former does not regard India as a threat – or even a competitor
  2. For Chinese strategists, asymmetry is inherent in such relations
  3. They bluntly advise that rather than obsessing with futile dreams of parity, India must reconcile itself to a subaltern status vis-à-vis China
  4. There is firm conviction in China that the root causes of the 1962 conflict were India’s “forward policy” and its putative ambition to seize Tibet

China’s aim:

  1. Hegemony in Asia, acquisition of nuclear weapons and the incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic
  2. The growth of PLAN and the creation of the SCS island-fortresses can be used to forward-deploy ships, aircraft and missiles to threaten US or other naval forces
  3. Such deployments could extend the operational range of PLAN surface and air forces by as much as 600-900 miles
  4. While Port Blair is 900 miles from Chennai, it happens to be 1,900 miles from the Fiery Cross reef, via the Malacca Strait
  5. When PLAN is the world’s second most powerful navy, it may feel confident enough to contemplate a re-enactment of 1962 in the Bay of Bengal to cut India down to size again

Note4Students:

How prepared would our political leadership and the armed forces be to react against a PLAN amphibious assault, on the Andamans, supported by one or more aircraft carriers? This is a daunting question. Read the op-ed carefully for Mains.

Renaming act does not make illegal occupation legal, India tells China

  1. What: India on Thursday rejected China’s move to rename six towns in Arunachal Pradesh, giving them new Chinese names in its official record
  2. According to MEA: Assigning invented names to the towns of your neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal
  3. Arunachal Pradesh is and will always be an integral part of India
  4. Previously: An announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs that said it would “standardise” the names of towns in Arunachal, which China refers to as ‘South Tibet’, as Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri respectively, on its version of the map that India contests
  5. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry: The names reflected, “China’s territorial claim over South Tibet is supported by clear evidence in terms of history, culture and administration”
  6. Background: Beijing’s move is being seen as an escalation of tensions by China that has been angered by the government’s decision to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the Tawang monastery this month
  7. China had reacted sharply to the Dalai Lama’s travels in Arunachal Pradesh, all of which is Indian territory that China continues to dispute
  8. China had not officially conveyed any decision on the ‘renaming’ to the Indian embassy or the MEA
  9. The next round of boundary talks between Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval is expected to take place later this year in Delhi

Note4students:

A dramatic escalation on the part of China. But it is in line with its attempts to claim territory all around it – whether in the South China Sea or elsewhere. It is an attempt to pressure India into towing its line on issues such as Dalai Lama and others. Make a note of the “standardised names”.

[op-ed snap] Lonely and disinterested

Background:

  1. China is steadily increasing its geostrategic presence in South, Central and West Asia
  2. There is a China-Russia-Pakistan axis on the rise in Southern Asia
  3. China and Russia are reveling in a new-found rapprochement and aim to fill the geopolitical vacuum bound to be created by the U.S. withdrawal from the region
  4. A retired Pakistan army chief is all set to take over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Saudi-backed Islamic Military Alliance (IMA)
  5. Which regional power has been missing from these significant developments on the regional geopolitical landscape?
  6. New Delhi is increasingly looking like a grumpy old man constantly whining about age-old fears, stubbornly unwilling to explore new opportunities and face new challenges

China-Russia-Pakistan axis:

  1. Alliances are natural to international politics and friend-enemy binaries and historical hesitations are often cast aside when such alliances take shape
  2. While China and Pakistan have been allies since the 1960s, China and the Soviet Union weren’t the best of friends during the Cold War, nor did they have a great relationship in the post-Soviet days
  3. Pakistan and the Soviet Union were Cold War rivals, and Russia did not, until recently, share a close relationship with Pakistan
  4. All that is changing now, with them ganging up to undo American dominance in the region, among other things
  5. The Afghan reconciliation process is a major focus of this new partnership
  6. In a December 2016 meeting in Moscow, they highlighted the importance of seeking a “flexible approach” to dealing with the Afghan Taliban
  7. Clearly, this new axis of a resurgent Russia, ambitious China and opportunistic Pakistan, in combination with other related developments, will not only diminish U.S. power in the region but could also potentially constrain Indian influence
  8. Sino-Russian relations, through joint military exercises and the Russian sale of advanced weaponry to China, for instance, could hurt India’s strategic options globally

Overcoming shortcomings:

  1. Beijing has traditionally been a reluctant dealmaker, preferring to stick to business instead
  2. Of late, it has overcome this pragmatic inhibition, first by joining the Afghan peace process and now increasingly focusing on West Asia
  3. In a sense, its engagement in regional conflicts is a logical extension of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project
  4. Having committed huge sums to the project, Beijing realises that some of its inherent political risks should be reduced by engaging in regional conflict resolution processes

West-Asia:

  1. Both China and Russia have been active in the West Asian theatre
  2. Having vetoed U.S.-sponsored sanctions against Syria, they believe that it is necessary to nudge the warring Syrian factions to negotiate
  3. Beijing has also been reaching out to and balancing the various adversaries in the region such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and even Iran, and increasingly talking the language of reconciliation

South Asian politics:

  1. Compared to the thornier West Asia, engaging South Asia is easier for China given that the smaller countries in the region see it as an infrastructure provider, with deep pockets and without the usual moral science lessons
  2. Bangladesh, one of India’s close allies in the region, is likely to attend the OBOR summit in May and may even sign up for it
  3. Chinese interest in Afghan reconciliation stems not only from a security/terrorism angle but also more significantly to ensure the sustainability of OBOR given its importance in providing access to Central Asia

Russian U-turns:

  1. Make no mistake, Russia is looking beyond a reluctant India in South Asia
  2. President Vladimir Putin has no time for diplomatic subtleties and tales about the long history of Indo-Russian relations
  3. Ignoring Indian sensitivities, Moscow has gone ahead with forging strategic ties with Islamabad: from lifting the arms embargo, selling weaponry, discussing the future of Afghanistan, to joint military exercises
  4. When Russia formally joins OBOR, it will have indirectly taken a position on Kashmir which is not necessarily in keeping with the Indian stand on the issue
  5. If the Russian envoy’s remarks at the Heart of Asia conference in December are anything to go by, Moscow is also taking a pragmatic stand on terrorism in South Asia

The Pakistan pivot:

  1. The ‘global outcast’, Pakistan is today an inevitable lynchpin of Southern Asian geopolitics
  2. In a world of realpolitik, norm regress and opportunistic bandwagoning, Pakistan is the new regional favourite
  3. Whether we like it or not, now that Pakistan’s generals have waited out the Americans and NATO from Afghanistan, the outcomes of the Afghan conflict will largely be determined by Rawalpindi
  4. This fits well with the Chinese and Russian regional grand strategies
  5. Gone are the days when Islamabad was currying favour with Washington; today, Moscow and Beijing are actively courting it
  6. Normative considerations apart, it is this sense of the big picture that prevents Beijing from acting against Pakistan-based terror groups; irritating India is a side benefit
  7. For sure, Pakistan has consistently used terrorism as a tool of statecraft, and yet there is a recognition today that it is a pivotal state in addressing terror

Head-in-the-sand approach:

  1. Amidst such geopolitical reshaping of the region, New Delhi has done precious little to counter them or to propose a collective regional future
  2. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which should have been the central plank of India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, is in doldrums today
  3. Having jettisoned SAARC and unwilling to promote other regional initiatives, institutional or issue-based, India continues to prefer unilateralism towards neighbours
  4. The shortcomings of bilateralism in a world hungry for institutions and structures should be evident to us

CPEC:

  1. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will pass through Pakistan-controlled territory that India has claimed
  2. We should find a via media with China on the issue rather than publicly dismiss the initiative
  3. Given that OBOR is a futuristic mega-project, its benefits as well as cross-national and inter-continental linkages, all of which would eventually bypass India, will only become clearer in the years to come
  4. To base our analysis on current cost-benefit calculations in terms of immediate returns and short-term sustainability is missing the big picture
  5. Moreover, our ability to create regional infrastructural arrangements, excluding China and Pakistan, remains limited
  6. In short then, a few decades down the line, India could end up far more isolated: the logical conclusion of an inward-looking political class

Note4Students:

It’s time New Delhi focussed on the big picture and avoided puritanical positions while addressing the emerging fault lines on the global geopolitical landscape. This is an important op-ed for Mains to understand China-Russia-Pak axis and its practical viability.

[op-ed snap] Cross signals across the Himalayas

Context:

  1. The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was in Arunachal Pradesh recently, which has greatly ruffled China’s feathers
  2. Any reference to Arunachal Pradesh (‘Southern Tibet’ as China prefers to call it), in context or out of context, has the effect of raising temperatures in Beijing
  3. The prolonged stay of His Holiness in the Tawang Monastery was, hence, the straw that broke the camel’s back
  4. The mild-mannered Dalai Lama spoke with unusual candour during his visit to Arunachal Pradesh, seeming to be at times even obliquely critical of China, something he had previously avoided
  5. All these years, he had displayed remarkable restraint, despite constant Chinese provocations

Choice of words:

  1. Nothing that the Dalai Lama said during his visit can even be remotely viewed as accusatory of China, but the words he employed — “I’ve long forgiven China’s Communist Government for occupying Tibet”; we support a ‘One China policy’, “all we want is the right to preserve our culture, language and identity”; “the 1.4 billion Chinese people have every right to know the reality (of Tibet)”, “once they know the reality they will be able to judge”, “until now there has been only one-sided, wrong information” — had the effect of a whiplash and was bound to irk China
  2. What should have provoked the Chinese even more is that at one point, reacting to Chinese objections to his Arunachal Pradesh visit, the Dalai Lama said, “I am the messenger of ancient Indian thoughts and values. I thank the Government of India for the support”

China’s reaction:

  1. So far, China’s reactions have been on predictable lines, though perhaps more incendiary than in the past
  2. Beijing has issued a series of warnings, viz., that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh would cause “deep damage” to Sino-Indian ties
  3. That New Delhi would need to make ‘a choice’ in its dealings with the Tibetan spiritual leader, that India had breached its commitment on the Tibet issue, taking particular umbrage at the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister’s statement that the State did not share its borders with China but with Tibet and asking India to stick to its ‘political pledges’ and not hurt China-India relations
  4. Official démarches were couched in still more intemperate language
  5. Some were in the nature of a threat, that the visit would escalate disputes in the border area, fuel tensions between the two countries, impinge on China’s major concerns and core interests, territory and sovereignty, and thus damage India-China relations
  6. Chinese official media and the Chinese Communist Party, in turn, stepped up pressure on the Chinese government to take action against India
  7. The China Daily observed that “if New Delhi chooses to play dirty… Beijing should not hesitate to answer blows with blows”
  8. Chinese official spokespersons have rounded off this kind of diatribe by affirming that issues concerning Tibet have a bearing on China’s “core interests”

China’s concerns:

  1. China’s verbal outbursts on this occasion do not conform to type, even where they relate to the Dalai Lama
  2. For China, a visit by the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, including a sojourn in the Tawang Monastery, one of the holiest of Tibetan Buddhism, is no ordinary matter
  3. As it is, China has certain deep-seated concerns about increasing political instability in areas such as Tibet, apart from the happenings in Xinjiang as well as other security problems
  4. The Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang at this time could, hence, look like a provocation

China’s insecurities:

  1. Very recently, China had floated the idea of an Integrated National Security Concept, reflecting the extent of its prevailing insecurities
  2. This has introduced certain ‘redlines’, that China would never compromise its legitimate rights and interests, or sacrifice its “core national interests”
  3. On more than one occasion during the current exchanges, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespersons had referred to issues concerning Tibet (and Southern Tibet) as having a direct bearing on China’s “core interests”
  4. Current China-India exchanges, hence, need to be examined from the purview of both international relations as well as the domestic situation prevailing in China

Background:

  1. It must not be overlooked that the that Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 occurred soon after China’s disastrous Great Leap Forward, in which a large number of Chinese perished, and the Dalai Lama fleeing Tibet and taking sanctuary in India
  2. In 1962, Beijing had masked its intentions skillfully, while India, in the absence of any major overt action by China, was lulled into a false sense of complacency
  3. We need to ensure that there is no repetition of lack of vigil on our part
  4. In 1959-60, the Dalai Lama had not quite attained the same international stature that he currently enjoys as the most revered symbol of Tibetan Buddhism
  5. Yet, China was even then willing to risk a conflict with India, then the undisputed leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, angered by the grant of asylum to the Dalai Lama
  6. The stakes for China are, if anything, greater today, as it seeks to emerge as a global leader
  7. China would like to ensure that its ‘rear’ remains quiescent, rather than troubled, so as to devote its energies to attain its goals

The Tawang factor:

  1. Indian commentators keep referring from time to time to the fact that China had shifted its stand on Tawang
  2. This may be true, but there is little doubt about the centrality of Tawang (the birth place of the sixth Dalai Lama) in China’s scheme of things for this region
  3. During several rounds of discussions on the Sino-Indian border, my counterpart as the Chinese Special Representative for boundary talks, Dai Bingguo, made it amply clear to me that Tawang was non-negotiable
  4. In 2005, China signed an Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question (Dai Bingguo and I were the signatories) which stipulated that areas with settled populations would not be affected in any exchange
  5. Even before the ink was dry, China began to dissimulate as far as Tawang was concerned, even though Tawang is the most ‘Indianised’ place in the entire Northeast
  6. All this leaves little scope for compromise with regard to areas like Tawang

How does Chinese mind works?

  1. It tends to be eclectic, contextual and relational, leaning towards systemic content and history
  2. Chinese thinking tends to be convoluted and its methodology obtuse
  3. Chinese assertiveness is often rooted in strategic insecurity and a perceived sensitivity to domestic tensions
  4. China constantly flaunts its ‘exceptionalism’ and its ‘uniqueness’
  5. Chinese exceptionalism tends today to be largely historical and revivalist
  6. A combination of Mao’s utopianism and Deng Xiaoping’s realism has left China in a kind of philosophical vacuum
  7. It has led to an excess of nationalism and nationalistic fervour, making China’s objectives clear-cut
  8. China’s policymakers are cautious by temperament but are known to take risks
  9. They are skilled at morphing the gains favoured by each past civilisation and adjusting these to modern conditions
  10. They prefer attrition to forceful intervention, a protracted campaign to gain a relative advantage

The OBOR outlier:

  1. As it is, China is constantly seeking ways to isolate India
  2. It is engaged in building advantageous power relations, acquiring bases and strengthening ties with countries across Asia, Africa and beyond
  3. China’s latest One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative signifies its new outreach, extending from the eastern extremity of Asia to Europe — the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor represents its most significant strategic aspect — and has the backing of most countries in the region
  4. India is an outlier in this respect, and perhaps the only major Asian nation that has not yet endorsed the concept
  5. If as China anticipates that OBOR has the potential to alter the status quo across the region with most nations accepting a long-term commitment to China, India could find itself friendless in Asia and beyond

Note4Students:

Read the op-ed for China-Taiwan-India relations, specially the visit of Dalai Lama.

“One-China” policy in focus during Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal

  1. Context: The visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Issues created:
    • One-China Policy: It has sharpened the focus on India’s commitment to the “One-China” policy
    • Tension in ties: The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday that the Tibetan leader’s visit to the “disputed areas” was fueling tensions between the two neighbours
  3. Indian position: China should not object to the Dalai Lama’s visit and interfere in India’s internal affairs
  4. Chinese position: It marked the fundamental distinction here- like Taiwan and any other part of China, Tibet is a part of Chinese territory no matter whether New Delhi agrees or not
  5. Southern Tibet, on the other hand, was stolen from China by India’s former colonial master taking advantage of China’s internal strife

Note4students:

Important issue in Indo-China relations for Mains. Note the key issues- sovereignty, One-China Policy, border dispute. These themes should form major part of answer.

Back2basics:

One-China Policy and Principle:

  1. The One-China policy refers to the policy or view that there is only one state called “China”, despite the existence of two governments that claim to be “China”
  2. As a policy, this means that countries seeking diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China) must break official relations with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) and vice versa
  3. The One China policy is also different from the “One China principle”, which is the principle that insists both Taiwan and mainland China are inalienable parts of a single “China”.
  4. A modified form of the “One China” principle known as the “1992 Consensus” is the current policy of the PRC government, and at times, the policy of the ROC government, depending on which major political party is in power
  5. Under this “consensus”, both governments “agree” that there is only one sovereign state encompassing both mainland China and Taiwan, but disagree about which of the two governments is the legitimate government of this state
  6. An analogous situation existed with West and East Germany in 1950-1970, North and South Korea until now, and more recently, the Syrian government and Syrian opposition

[op-ed snap] Rivals and partners

Context:

  1. China Development Forum kicks off in Beijing this weekend
  2. Leaders from both countries (India and China) should look to each other as partners in collaboration and knowledge-sharing to tackle some of the most urgent challenges of our time

Positive commonality:

  1. The two Asian giants are the two most populous nations, as well as two of the world’s largest economies
  2. Both countries have made extraordinary strides in growth and poverty reduction
  3. China has harnessed three decades of rapid development to lift more than 700 million citizens out of poverty
  4. India’s GDP rose by almost 9% each year for nearly a decade beginning in 2003, and it has surpassed China as the world’s fastest growing major economy

Common negative grounds:

  1. These gains, however, have been slowed by high environmental and social costs
  2. Income inequality, for instance, poses a particular challenge: The richest 1% of households in China own a third of the country’s wealth, while in India, they own about 58%
  3. Spreading the benefits of growth to a wider portion of their populations will be key which, in turn, suggests that in future, the quality of growth for both will matter more than solely the quantity
  4. In each country, air pollution from vehicles, power plants and industry leads to more than one million premature deaths per year
  5. Energy-intensive manufacturing, rapid urbanisation and high energy and consumption demands have made China and India the first and third highest emitters of greenhouse gases respectively
  6. Both have acknowledged that fossil fuels won’t be able to sustain the development they need, signalling important shifts

Plans for reducing pollution levels:

  1. In China’s case, its 5-year plan for 2016-2020 indicates its intention to become an “ecological civilisation”
  2. It will move away from polluting industries and towards consumption patterns that are less resource-intensive
  3. This year, it will be home to the world’s largest emissions trading scheme as it expands seven regional pilot trading systems to the national level
  4. India drew on the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi to frame its climate pledge for the landmark Paris climate agreement
  5. Its ambitious goal of achieving 175 GW of total capacity by 2022, and the recent auction of solar power below Rs 3 (4 cents) per kilowatt hour, are extremely promising signs of the direction of travel
  6. India is not only on track to achieve its renewable energy target set for Paris, it will likely do so three years ahead of schedule

The problems being faced:

  1. While India and China may be at different stages in development, both countries are poised to transform their economies to deliver high-quality, resilient and inclusive economic growth
  2. Their success will hinge on two key areas, urbanisation and energy
  3. Urbanisation drives the economy in both countries, but Chinese and Indian cities are experiencing significant growing pains
  4. Dangerous levels of air pollution impose a significant burden on health and GDP and have led to higher citizen awareness and action
  5. Traffic congestion has also become a large-scale challenge — it costs Bangalore an estimated 5% of its economic output and Beijing around 10%
  6. Both countries have introduced initiatives for better urban development

Steps taken:

  1. In China, 36 low-carbon pilot cities have set ambitious targets for carbon intensity reductions
  2. In India, a major push on delivering better urbanisation is underway through the government’s “Smart Cities” programme
  3. Recent analysis of India’s urbanisation used satellite data of night-time lights to compare cities’ urban form with their economic growth
  4. It found that Indian cities that were more compact in 2002 experienced faster economic growth from 2002-2012. Perhaps a similar analysis could be done in China
  5. The lesson can be shared: Better, more sustainable cities present a clear economic opportunity
  6. On energy, both China and India have made great strides in advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency, but they are still largely dependent on fossil fuels

Better opportunities if they join hands:

  1. Plenty of opportunities exist for collaboration on technology development and deployment
  2. China, for example, has some of the world’s largest manufacturing plants for solar and wind energy, and is the leading investor in clean energy
  3. India’s renewable energy target, if met, will be almost the same amount as the world’s entire installed solar power in 2014
  4. Both countries are in the process of reducing fossil fuel subsidies as well
  5. China has begun an internal review and identified nine subsidies to reform
  6. Going forward, it can learn from India’s experiences of deregulating diesel and kerosene prices and operationalising a coal cess, with some of the revenue raised going towards a clean energy fund

 

China inducts J-20 stealth fighters as part of military revamp

  1. China has inducted J-20 stealth fighters in its arsenal, marking a solid incremental step in the transition of its air force to the next level
  2. Also the Y-20 transport planes and H-6K bombers were inducted, which are already part of the country’s military aviation assets
  3. The Y-20 planes, inducted last year, are essential for force projection as they can carry heavy loads of personnel and equipment, possibly China’s
  4. Type 99 series tanks and troop carriers over long distances
  5. The J-20 stealth fighters are designed to compete with other fifth generation fighter jets, such as the F-22 Raptor of the United States and the Russian PAK-FA

Note4students:

Facts related to Chinese capabilities are not important. Note the phenomenon of increasing military capabilities.

[op-ed snap] The Tawang test

Context:

  1. China’s statement that it is “gravely concerned” over the government’s decision to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang monastery in early April
  2. It would “seriously damage” bilateral ties, is unwarranted

A long drawn controversy:

  1. It is an unacceptable escalation of rhetoric over an issue that India and China have engaged with each other on, including during the visit by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to Beijing
  2. The controversy over the Tawang area goes back to the Shimla meet of 1914, when the Chinese representatives just initialled, and didn’t sign, a trilateral agreement with British India and Tibet
  3. Later, in 1959, when the current Dalai Lama fled Tibet, he came into India through Tawang
  4. He has not visited Arunachal Pradesh since 2009, when he retraced his 1959 journey
  5. On that occasion too, his itinerary had evoked threats from Beijing, but eventually bilateral concerns outweighed them

The expectations ahead:

  1. The Chinese government would do well to not allow tensions with India over the issue of Arunachal Pradesh to spill into other spheres of engagement
  2. Perhaps it would also recall its own talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama that broke down after nine rounds in 2010 when it seeks to castigate him and New Delhi for their engagement
  3. Beijing’s objections over access for the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader to a religious shrine obviously cannot be allowed to intimidate India into restricting his free movement

What New Delhi should do?

  1. New Delhi must calibrate its moves to avoid misperceptions that it is indulging in political power-play
  2. Recent developments, such as visits to Tawang by American diplomats including the U.S. Ambassador, and an official dinner at the U.S. Embassy attended by a Minister and leader of the “Tibetan government in exile” based in Dharamshala, could be interpreted as messages aimed at China

The road ahead:

  1. Beijing has been touchy about visiting delegations from Taiwan and the grant of visas to those it perceives as dissident activists
  2. Pinpricks cannot substitute for policy and New Delhi should keep its focus on the major issues between the two countries
  3. The bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group membership and having Masood Azhar placed on the UN terrorists’ list have occupied much of the bilateral canvas
  4. The larger issue of the boundary resolution hasn’t been addressed adequately
  5. Statements last week from former Chinese special envoy Dai Bingguo, who suggested that flexibility from India over the “eastern boundary” in Arunachal Pradesh could yield flexibility from China over “other areas”, that is, the western boundary in J&K, are significant

Note4Students:

The op-ed throws light on India –China bilateral relations and is important for Mains.

Back2Basics:

Simla Accord:

  1. The Simla Accord, or the Convention between Great Britain, China, and Tibet, was a treaty concerning the status of Tibet negotiated by representatives of the Republic of China, Tibet and the United Kingdom in Simla in 1913 and 1914
  2. The Accord provided that Tibet would be divided into “Outer Tibet” and “Inner Tibet
  3. Outer Tibet, which roughly corresponded to Ü-Tsang and western Kham, would remain in the hands of the Tibetan Government at Lhasa under Chinese suzerainty, but China would not interfere in its administration
  4. Inner Tibet, roughly, equivalent to Amdo and eastern Kham, would be under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government
  5. The Accord with its annexes also defines the boundary between Tibet and China proper and between Tibet and British India (the latter became known as the McMahon Line)

China shifts focus on “eastern sector” as the core of border row with India

Issue: The China-India border dispute

Dalai Lama visit

  1. Context: The Chinese Foreign Ministry warned New Delhi not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, the State which is at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute in the eastern sector
  2. China: Gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai to visit Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Warned that an invitation to Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh will cause “serious damage” to peace and stability of border region and Sino-Indian ties
  4. Contradiction: China’s sharp response against the visit by the Tibetan leader in exile followed a contrasting call by a former Chinese boundary negotiator, who stressed that if the two sides managed to overcome their differences in the eastern sector, the final settlement of the Sino-Indian boundary dispute would be well within grasp

Tawang inalienable from Tibet

  1. China: The disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary, including Tawang, is inalienable from China’s Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction
  2. From the perspective of international law, the Simla Accord, as well as the ‘McMahon Line’ which it created, are not only unfair and illegitimate, but also illegal and invalid
  3. 2005 agreement: An Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, which was signed in 2005 has been “fundamental” in advancing the boundary talks
  4. This agreement pinpointed that the two countries should make meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question in order to reach a package settlement

 

[op-ed snap] The road to China is through Kabul

Context:

  1. Afghanistan has emerged as a platform providing new possibilities on the India-China cooperation front
  2. The strategic dialogue between India and China, which was divided into five sub-groups of which Afghanistan was one, focussed significantly on Afghanistan
  3. China expressed admiration for India’s developmental work in Afghanistan amidst a broader understanding that New Delhi and Beijing need to strengthen the government in Kabul

Islamic State:

  1. This development comes against a backdrop of the growing threat of the Islamic State (IS) to China
  2. The IS released a video this week of Chinese Uighur Muslims vowing to return home and “shed blood like rivers” even as the Chinese military displayed its military might as a show of force in Xinjiang
  3. A rattled China is calling for greater global cooperation against the IS, which is also a reason why China has joined ranks with Russia in a bid to engage the Taliban in Afghanistan

Separatist forces:

  1. China has for years blamed exiled Uighur “separatists” for violence in Xinjiang and has warned of the militants’ potential to link up with global jihadist groups
  2. It is worried about the spillover effect of continuing instability in Afghanistan
  3. The impact of Afghanistan’s destabilisation will be felt not only in Kashmir but also in Xinjiang where the East Turkistan Islamic Movement is active
  4. Moreover, China’s mega investment plans in Pakistan are predicated on a measure of regional stability

U.S. involvement:

  1. The Donald Trump administration is yet to clarify its position on Afghanistan
  2. And it is looking unlikely to add more American troops to the depleting reserves of Western forces in the country
  3. Therefore, it is not surprising that China is keen to engage India, the one country that has built a reservoir of goodwill in Afghanistan and has demonstrated some ability to deliver concrete results on the ground

Divergences on Afghanistan:

  1. But there remain some fundamental divergences in Sino-Indian positions on Afghanistan and broader counterterrorism postures
  2. Just last December, Mr. Jaishankar said that India and China were not able to “cooperate as effectively” as they should in countering terrorism
  3. His statement had come in the wake of China putting on hold the inclusion of JeM chief Masood Azhar’s name in the United Nation’s list of global terrorists
  4. Even after last week’s strategic dialogue, the Foreign Secretary was careful to underline the differences
  5. On the Taliban, for example, he suggested that “their [China’s] characterisation was that there were elements of Taliban which are very extreme. In their view there were also elements of Taliban that can work with international community and Afghan government”

Pakistan- the bone of contention:

  1. For long, India sought to include Afghanistan in its discussions with China on counterterrorism
  2. The Sino-India counter-terrorism dialogue was initially viewed as a promising bilateral initiative for dealing with terrorism
  3. But nothing of consequence emerged from these dialogues
  4. For India, the main source of terrorism is Pakistan where the state machinery continues to view terrorism as a legitimate tool of national policy
  5. For China, Pakistan is an important asset in its South Asia policy and an all-weather friend
  6. As a consequence, where New Delhi had, somewhat audaciously, expected to make common cause with Beijing vis-a-vis Islamabad and Rawalpindi, there was only disappointment at the outcome of these dialogues

Situation in 2014:

  1. As concerns started rising in the region about the consequences of the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014, China reached out to India
  2. This too couldn’t go far as China continued to emphasise that its relationship with Pakistan was far more important than a regional approach on terrorism with India
  3. In this context, New Delhi should not expect Beijing to change its Afghanistan policy significantly to suit Indian interests
  4. The fact that China is interested in working with India on Afghanistan suggests that new possibilities on regional cooperation are emerging, which India should not hesitate to explore
  5. Its success remains predicated on how committed China is in tackling extremism as opposed to hemming in India in South Asia

Note4Students:

The road to stability in Kabul lies through Rawalpindi, and China has few incentives to challenge the Pakistani security establishment’s traditional adversarial mindset vis-à-vis India that continues to look at Afghanistan for some chimerical ‘strategic depth’.

[op-ed snap] Back on track?

Context:

  1. Recent discussions between Indian and Chinese officials on the way forward in Afghanistan
  2. Indicates that both countries are attempting to put a very bad year in bilateral ties behind them, and seek common ground where possible

Exploring new horizons:

  1. In Afghanistan, both China and India see potential for investment and share concerns over the rise of radicalism and terrorism, besides, there are many avenues for cooperation
  2. Beijing also proposed a “joint development project” which concludes that China is unwilling to have its options cramped by Pakistan’s reservations about India’s role in Afghanistan
  3. The Ministry of External Affairs says there was broad agreement on trade and economic ties, with Chinese officials reportedly praising India’s measures to welcome investment and facilitate visas for closer business ties

2016 narrative:

  1. There was little movement on the issues that dominated the India-China narrative in 2016, particularly India’s bid for NSG membership and to have Masood Azhar designated a global terrorist at the UN
  2. But a new conversation has started, and could yield results by the mid-year deadline
  3. China is no longer trotting out its old line on opposing India’s NSG membership as a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  4. India has stopped referring to China as the “one country” that is thwarting its ambitions

China’s Belt and Road Initiative:

  1. New Delhi must prepare for the larger challenge this year that will inevitably come from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI, or One Belt, One Road)
  2. Through the mega infrastructure and trade project, China has plans in place to reach out to each one of India’s land and maritime neighbours, most of whom have signed up for it
  3. In May, a conference hosted by President Xi Jinping will bring all of India’s neighbourhood to Beijing, with the exception of India
  4. India has decided to not join the B&RI and will not attend even as an observer as the $51-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, now an integral part of the B&RI initiative, runs through areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
  5. This concerns India’s territorial integrity, and New Delhi needs to find ways to make China more sensitive to its concerns

The need to reduce differences:

  1. India and China must build on their discussion on the global scenario
  2. This includes the need to ‘play down their differences’ in order to manage the global instability created by President Donald Trump’s possible revision of ties with Europe, Russia, and of alliances in the Pacific
  3. Trump’s threat of abandoning the “One China” policy, and backing down on it after talks with Mr. Xi, should indicate the dangers of depending on a consistent U.S. policy on other issues in the region for India as well

Note4Students:

Read this op-ed to know about the changing balance of powers of the world. The topic India-China ties is important for Mains.

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: Fruits of patience

Context:

  1. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s conversations in Beijing last week with senior Chinese officials offer the first glimmer of hope that India’s patience might begin to pay off
  2. The downturn in bilateral relations over the last year was marked by China’s decision to block India’s campaign for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and putting Pakistan’s Masood Azhar (of the Jaish-e-Mohammed) on the terror list of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
  3. Delhi was certainly surprised by the intensity and inflexibility of Beijing’s approach to the two issues

China’s boastfulness:

  1. Although Beijing presented its objections in procedural terms, Delhi knew Beijing’s opposition was political
  2. China’s sense of its own rise and a growing political clout in the multilateral arena seemed to convince Beijing that it was under no obligation to make nice with Delhi
  3. After all, the current power differential between the two nations had become too glaring
  4. China’s GDP is now nearly five times larger than that of India and its defence spending is three times bigger

No more peers:

  1. That Delhi and Beijing are peers has long been an unstated assumption of India’s China policy
  2. Delhi now had to adapt to the political consequences of growing strategic asymmetry
  3. China’s opposition at the NSG and the UNSC also challenged another long-standing Indian belief
  4. Delhi had also believed that despite deep differences with Beijing on many bilateral issues like the long and contested Himalayan boundary, there was great room for cooperation between India and China on global issues
  5. But the developments at the two multilateral forums, the NSG and the UNSC, seemed to shatter that proposition

China and Pakistan:

  1. Making matters worse was the fact that Pakistan was a critical factor in China’s calculus at the NSG and the UNSC
  2. Whatever the logic of Beijing’s strategic partnership with Islamabad, India had hoped that China will show some sensitivity to India’s concerns and would stay neutral in the disputes between the South Asian rivals
  3. After the NSG and UNSC episodes it was difficult not to conclude that Beijing’s tilt towards Islamabad was absolute and complete

Delhi’s two-fold approach:

  1. One was to continue the campaign for the membership of the NSG and putting Masood Azhar on UNSC’s terror list
  2. The other was to take up China’s opposition at every diplomatic encounter- bilateral and multilateral- with Beijing
  3. Last week’s positive soundings from the first round of the newly instituted strategic dialogue suggest Delhi’s patience and firm persistence on the two issues might have been worthwhile

Recent developments:

  1. On its part, Beijing signaled its readiness to make the first round of strategic dialogue purposeful and the two sides prepared for a substantive discussion
  2. The level of engagement, the breadth of the issues covered and the depth of discussions underlined the new commitment to limit the recent damage to bilateral relations
  3. Setting the stage for last week’s conversation was the Trump factor that threatens to upend all assumptions on where the world is headed
  4. The Trump discontinuity, Delhi and Beijing know, demands some fresh thinking in both capitals

Issues that will persist:

  1. The positive characterisation of last week’s talks by both sides does not mean the multiple divergences can be bridged any time soon
  2. Some issues like the boundary dispute, trade deficit, and the One Belt, One Road initiative, where the differences between the two sides are too deep, are not amenable to easy or early resolution
  3. But others like India’s NSG membership are not too hard to resolve

Note4Students:

The op-ed is important for Mains exam. Keep track of this news as it develops.

[op-ed snap] China’s weapons of trade war

Context:

  1. China exports more to the US than the US exports to China
  2. That makes US President Donald Trump so furious that he may be willing to start a trade war over it

Trade war:

  1. Trump has levelled tough protectionist threats against China
  2. As he attempts to consolidate his presidency, he is unlikely to back away from them
  3. And with the Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress set to take place in Beijing in November, Chinese leaders are unlikely to yield to US pressure

Who will be hurt:

  1. A trade war would undoubtedly hurt both sides
  2. But US has more to lose. If nothing else, the Chinese seem to know precisely which weapons they have available to them
  3. China could stop purchasing US aircraft, impose an embargo on US soybean products, and dump US Treasury securities and other financial assets
  4. Chinese enterprises could reduce their demand for US business services, and the government could persuade companies not to buy American
  5. The bulk of numerous Fortune 500 companies’ annual sales come from China nowadays—and they already feel increasingly unwelcome
  6. An escalating trade war, with each side erecting symmetric import barriers, would fuel inflationary pressure in the US, potentially driving the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates higher and faster than it would otherwise
  7. Together with diminished growth prospects, this would depress equity markets
  8. Declining employment and household income could lead to a sizeable loss of gross domestic product (GDP) in both the US and China

America’s main jobs supplier:

  1. Beyond being America’s second most important trading partner, China is America’s main jobs supplier
  2. A trade war could thus cost the US millions of jobs
  3. If China switched from Boeing to Airbus, for example, the US would lose some 179,000 jobs
  4. Reduction in US business services would cost another 85,000 jobs
  5. Soybean-producing regions could lose some 10% of local jobs if China halted imports

Key components:

  1. Though the US exports less to China than vice versa, it is China that controls key components in global supply chains and production networks
  2. Consider the iPhone. While China provides just 4% of value added, it supplies the core components to Apple at low prices
  3. Apple cannot build an iPhone from scratch in the US, so it would have to search for alternative suppliers, raising its production costs considerably
  4. This would give Chinese smartphone businesses an opportunity to seize market share from major players
  5. Today, 80% of global trade comprises international supply chains
  6. Declining trade costs have allowed firms to splinter their production lines geographically, with goods processed and value added in multiple countries along the chain
  7. If China threw a handful of sand in the gears of these chains, it could disrupt entire production networks, doing serious damage to the US

Exchange rate:

  1. Meanwhile, Trump will continue to accuse China of manipulating its exchange rate, ignoring the recent downward pressure on the renminbi (which indicates that the currency was actually overvalued)
  2. Both Japan and Switzerland have engaged in outright currency intervention in recent years, and the US itself may well join their ranks, when the strong dollar’s impact on US export competitiveness becomes untenable
  3. In any case, China can probably forget about achieving “market economy status” under World Trade Organization rules until after Trump is out of the White House

Steps US might take:

  1. The trade confrontation between the US and China will also affect bilateral investment flows
  2. The US may cite national security concerns to block Chinese investments
  3. It may also stop government purchases from Chinese companies like Huawei, and force Chinese firms and wealthy individuals to reduce investments that have hitherto bolstered US asset prices
  4. A high-quality US-China bilateral investment treaty would create a level playing field for American companies, giving them better access to China’s large market
  5. But those talks will invariably be pushed back, while disputes over intellectual property rights and cyber security will be reinvigorated

Conclusion:

For the past five years, China has sought to establish a growth model that is less reliant on exports and more reliant on domestic consumption. But China often needs a crisis or an external shock to drive reform. Perhaps Trump is that shock. While his policies will be bad for China in the short term, they may also provide the impetus China needs to stop subsidizing exports and perpetuating distortions in the domestic economy. If this happens, China may actually emerge from the era of Trump better off than before.

Note4Students:

The op-ed is important for an understanding of the US-China economic situation and the expected Trade war in the current global situation.

[op-ed snap] Speak in our own voice

Context:

  1. In mid-January, a week before he resigned as U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma held an unusual dinner at his residence, inviting the Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju as well as the Sikyong, or Leader of the Tibetan ‘Government in Exile’
  2. What’s more, the dinner follows a series of interventions by American officials on India-China issues in the past few months

Visit to Arunachal Pradesh:

  1. Verma made waves by becoming the first U.S. envoy to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh in October 2016
  2. The visit drew a sharp response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry about “third parties” interfering
  3. His visit followed comments by U.S. Consul General Craig Hall, during a visit to Arunachal, referring to the State as an “integral part of India”
  4. The comment was accurate, and a boost for New Delhi’s claim, but diplomatically speaking, unusually forthright
  5. S. federal government’s religious freedom body (USCIRF) commissioner attended a conference in Dharamsala for Chinese dissidents, including Tibetans, Uighurs and Falun Gong activists
  6. Thomas Shannon, then U.S. Undersecretary of State, visited New Delhi, warning that China’s actions in the South China Sea were “madness” and its next “target” was the Indian Ocean

New Delhi’s role:

  1. In the absence of a pushback from New Delhi, the impression created is that it is allowing, possibly even encouraging, the U.S. to be its voice on what are essentially bilateral issues between India and China
  2. At a time when India and China have had major differences over a series of issues, allowing an external voice into this bilateral equation can only drown out India’s own
  3. Unfortunately the U.S. is not the only country making itself heard in this equation
  4. Australian and Japanese experts as well as Indian think tanks are increasingly articulating the need for their trilateral with India to go further, calling for a strategic “middle power coalition”

Drawbacks of this move:

  1. First, India is not, nor is it likely to be a treaty ally of the U.S., as Australia and Japan are
  2. Second, such a coalition would necessarily be considered a front to counter Chinese maritime hegemony
  3. While Indian naval presence would boost efforts to police the South China Sea, the other members of this coalition would hardly be able to help India on its most prominent frontier with China, the unresolved Line of Actual Control
  4. In short, to allow these so-called middle powers to speak for India is a mistake equal to that of allowing any big power to do the same

Three-and-a-half fronts:

  1. Today, India and China square off or have conflicts on what can be called three-and-a-half fronts
  2. The land front, where they have fought one war in 1962
  3. The maritime front, where the U.S. and its allies want India to take part in joint patrols to confront China’s naval ambitions
  4. India’s neighbourhood, particularly Pakistan, where Chinese investment is altering bilateral equations
  5. And the Tibetan front, which could be considered a half-front

Bilateral relations:

  1. Despite the lows of the past year, including the impasse where India singled out China as the “one country” inhibiting its progress into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, New Delhi and Beijing have kept their bilateral engagement steady
  2. As Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar heads to Beijing this week for the newly created Strategic Dialogue, it would be hoped that relations will be brought to an even more steady bilateral keel, especially as India charts its course in the foreign policy-scape rocked by the uncertainties of the new U.S. Presidency
  3. It would do well by following the Gandhian principle that “true power speaks softly, and has no reason to shout”
  4. Nor does it need to employ the voice of others, or use frivolous pinpricks when serious issues are at hand

Note4Students:

The op-ed is important for Mains. Keep track of this issue and its development.

[op-ed snap] A season to repair relations

Context:

  1. The Chinese Ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui put forward some suggestions for improvement of bilateral ties between China and India

Stressed bilateral ties owing to:

  1. China’s obduracy on India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) bid
  2. Its incomprehensible stand on the listing of known terrorist-progenitor Masood Azhar under the U.N. Security Council’s 1267 Committee
  3. The deployment of Chinese military and engineering assets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

Absence of trust:

  1. While the border areas between the two countries have remained conflict-free, the Line of Actual Control continues to be subject to conflicting interpretations by both India and China
  2. Commentators have suggested that India’s Tibet policy is also being recalibrated, drawing conclusions from the Dalai Lama’s projected visit to Arunachal Pradesh and his being “seen at Rashtrapati Bhavan, sitting beside President Pranab Mukherjee”
  3. The nationalist Chinese media condemned it

Chinese Ambassador’s suggestions:

  1. He suggested a ‘friendship and cooperation treaty’
  2. An FTA to boost bilateral relations
  3. Joining of hands on China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative
  4. A true indicator of Chinese positivity would be approval for India to open a Trade Office in Lhasa in place of the old Consulate General that operated there till ’62

Reasons for these statements:

  1. These statements could be part of an effort within the Chinese establishment to review relations with neighbours like India, given the strategic uncertainties generated by the advent of Donald Trump’s administration in the U.S. and his unabashed negativity towards China
  2. Trump’s phone call with the Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen, before he took office; his proclaimed intention to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese goods; and the new U.S. Secretary of State’s thinly disguised threats against China’s building of artificial islands in the disputed areas in the South China Sea have all generated concern in Beijing

Devil in the detail:

  1. A treaty of friendship and cooperation between the two countries recalls the 1954 “Panchsheel” Agreement which essentially tied up the status of Tibet
  2. It also outlined the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence that became empty words over the ensuing years as the relationship slid into conflict and then took years to revive
  3. Given the state of bilateral relations, and the extent of unresolved political and security issues that bedevil the relationship, not to mention the disparity in economic strength, a treaty of friendship and cooperation may only be an inventory of good intentions but not a transformative document0

Bilateral Trade:

  1. The idea of an FTA is forward-looking
  2. Trade between India and China has grown to an annual volume of $70 billion (2015-16)
  3. India has made a strong pitch for Chinese investments under Make in India in infrastructure development, solar energy and smart cities
  4. Recent reports, however, also suggest security hurdles faced by Chinese firms seeking to invest in India
  5. An FTA that is comprehensive, covering goods and services, cross-border investment, R&D, standards and dispute resolution would be worth exploring

Connectivity:

  1. Connectivity builds the sinews of successful diplomacy
  2. South Asia with its poor inter-country connectivity only buttresses the poor state of diplomatic cooperation in much of the subcontinent
  3. India’s own reaction to China’s OBOR has been hedging and tentative, mainly because of the CPEC through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
  4. At the same time, India is a part of the frontline membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that is bolstering OBOR

Disregard of sovereignty issues:

  1. The Chinese have chosen to disregard the sovereignty issues surrounding the dispute between India and Pakistan over the State of J&K, despite the provisions of the 1963 China-Pakistan Boundary Agreement which conceded the disputed nature of the territory (in what Pakistan now calls Gilgit-Baltistan but what India claims as part of Jammu and Kashmir) covered under the agreement
  2. This is a crucial reason for India’s reservations about OBOR
  3. The Chinese are seen by India to have acted in disregard of Indian sensitivities on this matter, which is a cause for legitimate concern

Connectivity routes:

  1. The old route between Lhasa and Kolkata via Nathu La was the most easily traversed route — and may still be, despite the road networks constructed by the Chinese in Tibet — between Tibet and mainland China, via land and sea, up until the mid-20th century
  2. Nathu La is already the crossing point for border trade between India and the Tibet Autonomous Region
  3. An opening of ties between India and the Xinjiang region of China is also worth examining
  4. Providing for air connectivity between Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, and New Delhi as one of the OBOR linkages, for instance, would help the promotion of people-to-people ties and trade and commercial contact and could also help open a new chapter in counter-terrorism cooperation between India and China

Terrorism- A common cause of concern:

  1. The two countries have a common interest in curbing religious radicalism and terrorism
  2. Kashmir and Xinjiang, both contiguous neighbours, have similar challenges posed by terrorism and separatist movements

Note4Students:

China’s approach on NSG, Masood Azhar, the activities in PoK, to name a few, have cast long shadows on the relationship. Is it time to take Indo-China relationship in a positive direction? Read b2b for Prelims.

Back2Basics:

  1. The Chinese Ambassador chose to make these remarks at the newly-established Ji Xianlin Centre for India-China Studies at the University of Mumbai campus
  2. Ji Xianlin was one of China’s foremost modern Indologists and a protagonist of friendship and civilisational understanding between India and China

Respect sovereignty, India tells China

  1. Who@where? Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar @ Raisina Dialogue
  2. China is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. Thus we expect they will respect other people’s sovereignty
  3. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through a territory that we see as ours & there needs to be some reflection by China but we have not seen signs of that
  4. China and Pakistan have fast-tracked the construction work of the CPEC, a large part of which passes through PoK
  5. Once completed, the CPEC will provide an all-weather energy route for China from the Gulf
  6. India’s concerns have also increased in recent weeks with reports of China-Pakistan naval cooperation in Gwadar port of Balochistan, which will serve as the entry point to CPEC

Note4students:

Keep abreast with India’s diplomatic stance on various issue of international relations. Raisina Dialogue was covered yesterday- refer this link.

[op-ed snap] Running into the Chinese wall

  1. Context: On December 30, China decided to veto India’s proposal to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar at UN
  2. It is significant that among the P5, the U.S., U.K. and France co-sponsored India’s resolution against Azhar, China vetoed it, but Russia, India’s traditional backer, did nothing at all
  3. Effect: It capped a terrible year in bilateral ties
  4. Recent past: China’s economic corridor through Pakistan, India’s invitations to Uighur, Falun Gong and Tibetan activists, the expulsion of Chinese journalists from Mumbai, the Chinese block on NSG membership for India
  5. Chinese decision to put a permanent block on the Azhar proposal further aggravated tension between the countries
  6. In the past, Beijing blocked India’s proposals at the UN to designate Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and Abdul Rehman Makki and Azam Cheema of the LeT as terrorists
  7. Azhar’s case different: He had been seen live across televisions worldwide in 1999, being exchanged for hostages on the Kandahar tarmac after the hijack of IC-814
  8. He recorded in his own book (From Imprisonment to Freedom) details of the terror plot to hijack the plane, and of links to the Taliban officials who pushed Indian negotiators on the ground (including current NSA Ajit Doval) into effecting his release
  9. He openly spoke of meeting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, travelling to Somalia to help recruit for al-Qaeda, and his loyalty to Taliban chief Mullah Omar
  10. 15 years later, despite his complicity in everything from the Parliament attack to the Pathankot attack, Azhar hasn’t yet been added to terrorist list, largely due to China’s ignominious role
  11. Fight against terror: China is fragmenting global consensus on terrorism
  12. Shifting U.S.-Russia ties have also made a great impact on the global terror consensus
  13. In 2001, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to President George W. Bush, expressing full support for the U.S. fight against al-Qaeda
  14. This would in turn help Russia with its Islamist threat as well
  15. Putin even allowed the U.S. to set up bases across Central Asia and virtually take over Afghanistan’s security command
  16. That relationship no longer exists, and Russia is questioning the U.S. presence in its backyard again
  17. Russia’s new closeness with China, and growing ties with Pakistan are a third factor impacting global consensus
  18. A trilateral meeting of the three countries called for a “flexible approach” to remove Taliban figures from the UN sanctions list
  19. As part of efforts to “foster a peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement”
  20. The recent Taliban statement that it won’t target infrastructure projects in Afghanistan is significant, given China’s high-stakes OBOR plan that runs through the region
  21. Also lying in the dust is India’s decades-old proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

Note4Students:

The world is increasingly divided on the consensus on terror that once helped India apply pressure on Pakistan, is now dividing along these fault lines. If India is to stick to its course of securing its citizens and borders, the answer may lie in bridging ties with all nations involved.

Back2Basics:

  1. After the 9/11 attacks, the global consensus to fight the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and all allied groups was formed by the UNSC resolution on terrorism in 2001
  2. In 1999, the UN had set up an al-Qaeda/Taliban sanctions committee to impose strictures on anyone dealing with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden

[op-ed snap] Behind Pakistan’s CPEC offer

  1. Context: A senior Pakistani General suggested that India should shun its “enmity” with Pakistan and join the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project
  2. Chinese foreign ministry has called the offer a “goodwill gesture”, exhorting India to take it up
  3. An odd suggestion: India has no dialogue with Pakistan at present
  4. It has opposed the project, bilaterally with China “at the highest level” as well as at the UN
  5. Relations with China have deteriorated considerably since President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan to announce the project in April 2015
  6. China and Pakistan have been further drawn into a closer embrace, with Pakistan investing considerable resources in securing Chinese officials working on CPEC
  7. China is redrawing its plans for the OBOR to Central Asia to incorporate Pakistan’s interests
  8. China has defended Pakistan against India’s efforts to pin it down with regard to support to terror groups
  9. It is an obstruction in India’s NSG membership application
  10. India should step back and see where China and Pakistan want to go with CPEC
  11. The offer to India was made along with offers to other “neighbouring countries”
  12. Iran wants Gwadar to be a “sister” port to Chabahar
  13. Turkmenistan and other Central Asian republics have shown interest in the warm-water port, a nodal point for goods through Pakistan to the Chinese city of Kashgar
  14. Despite its problems on terror from Pakistan, Afghanistan is becoming a nodal point for China’s connectivity projects to Iran
  15. Russian engagement with the Taliban, indicate much more is changing in the region than just the alignment of highways and tunnels

Note4Students:

While India has done well to shore up relations with others in the South Asian region, it cannot afford to be blindsided by their involvement with the OBOR project and Chinese plans. CPEC is no longer a project in Pakistan, but one that runs through it, a project that will link 64 countries.

Back2Basics:

  1. CPEC aims to facilitate trade along an overland route that connects Kashgar and Gwadar, through the construction of a network of highways, railways, and pipelines
  2. It will link the city of Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan to China’s northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang via a vast network of highways and railways
  3. Project will be financed by Exim Bank of China, China Development Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  4. A network of pipelines to transport liquefied natural gas and oil will also be laid as part of the project, including one between Gwadar and Nawabshah to eventually transport gas from Iran

After Mongolian incident, Chinese daily warns India on Dalai Lama

  1. What: The Global Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party of China (CPC), has counseled India not to leverage the Dalai Lama issue to undermine Beijing’s core interests
  2. This in tune with an assurance that China has apparently received from Mongolia that it will no longer welcome the Dalai Lama in Ulan Bator
  3. The visit to Mongolia last month by Dalai Lama – described by China as a Tibetan separatist leader – has conflated with the controversial remarks by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump questioning China’s sovereignty over Taiwan

Note4students:

A number of incidents have heightened tensions in the region over the past few weeks. These range from the Dalai Lama’s visit to Mongolia and the subsequent trade and travel restrictions imposed by China on Mongolia (a land locked country), to Mr Trumps call with the Taiwanese leader. China also recently confiscated and then released an underwater drone belonging to the US. In turn, India has expressed support for Mongolia, also Mr Trump seems set to adopt a tougher stance towards China

New Delhi nod for Karmapa’s Arunachal visit

  1. What: The govt allowed Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, to address a public gathering at Mon in Arunachal Pradesh
  2. The Gyalwang Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism
  3. He escaped from Tibet in 2000
  4. Recently the govt has allowed the U.S Ambassador to India and the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh
  5. 6 months ago the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by PM Modi, allowed the Karmapa to travel abroad

Note4students:

This news item can be important from a culture perspective – terms such as Gyalwang Karmapa, Tibetan Buddhism. The other importance is from point of view of China’s claims on Arunachal Pradesh – the news shows how the govt has recently become more aggressive in countering Chinese claims.

Back2basics:

Tibetan Buddhism combines the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhism with Tantric and Shamanic, and material from an ancient Tibetan religion called Bon. Although Tibetan Buddhism is often thought to be identical with Vajrayana Buddhism, they are not identical – Vajrayana is taught in Tibetan Buddhism together with the other vehicles.

Buddhism became a major presence in Tibet towards the end of the 8th century CE. It was brought from India at the invitation of the Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen. At present Tibetan Buddhism is a religion in exile, forced from its homeland when Tibet was conquered by the Chinese.

[op-ed snap] CPEC: Prospects and Challenges

  1. Context: China and Pakistan have operationalized CPEC, to connect “Kashgar to Gwadar”
  2. Prospects: Many infrastructure and energy projects under way. Many investments in energy sector- gas, coal and solar energy across Pakistan
  3. Challenges: Critics question the project’s viability, some accusing China of launching a second “East India Company”
  4. Security challenges- especially in western areas near the key Gwadar port, where militants ranging from Baloch nationalists to Taliban and the Islamic State have carried out attacks
  5. World Bank warns that project delays in CPEC’s first year could prove an impediment to Pakistan’s overall growth
  6. Pakistan-India tensions, could endanger sectors of the project where Pakistani troops are engaged in providing security
  7. Economic slowdown in China and political instability in Pakistan could impact the project’s future
  8. China sees CPEC as: physical link between OBOR project and MSR- India has refused to be a part of either
  9. It plans a floating naval base off Gwadar
  10. Delhi should take a closer look at security implications of China-Pakistan clinch that is fast drawing in Russia

[op-ed snap] Asia: next hub of global wealth II

  1. India: Has capacity for global leadership in the hub of new knowledge-based order, including new pharmaceuticals and crop varieties
  2. It is the only country with both extensive endemic biodiversity and world-class endogenous biotechnology industry
  3. It has leadership in software-led innovation, foundation of the new low-carbon digital-sharing economy
  4. It is also developing low-cost solutions for urbanisation, governance, health and education problems
  5. China is keen to have India on OBOR initiative, suggesting FTA and both countries recognise the synergies for achieving the ‘Asian Century’
  6. India’s knowledge-based strengths complement those of China in infrastructure and investment.
  7. India should seek to ‘redefine’ OBOR, adding a stronger component for a ‘Digital Sustainable Asia’
  8. The countries should understand each other on issues like NSG membership, global terrorism, and Gwadar, which are irritants in the development of stronger ties

[op-ed snap] Asia: next hub of global wealth I

  1. Indications: China emerging as the largest global economy
  2. Alliances losing relevance in Asia, countries gaining more influence because of the strength of their economy than the might of the military
  3. India and China: have no strategic thinker who conquests lands outside this sphere
  4. This in sharp contrast to Western strategic thinking on control of seas, security alliances
  5. West also relies on rules pushing common values as best way of organising international relations
  6. China will remain world’s largest producer of goods and India can be the largest producer of services- the real driver of future growth in Asia

Army’s Demchok mission a success

  1. What: The Army has completed laying an irrigation pipeline for residents of villages in the Demchok region of Eastern Ladakh
  2. Background: A face-off last week with Chinese troops over the work
  3. The irrigation project was being built under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to link a village with a “hot spring”
  4. This is the first time since 2014 when the Chinese Army had come deep inside the Indian territory in Demchok in protest against an ongoing irrigation project

‘60% dip in sales of Chinese goods this Diwali’

  1. Source: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT)
  2. Claim: That there was a 60 per cent dip in the sales of Chinese goods this Diwali
  3. Reason: A result of the massive social media campaign urging people to boycott Chinese products

It’s Dalai Lama’s turn to visit Arunachal now

  1. Event: Arunachal Pradesh is preparing to welcome the Dalai Lama for another controversial visit
  2. It is likely to attract criticism from China
  3. Context: It comes days after China criticised Richard Verma, U.S. envoy to India, for visiting Tawang that it declared as “disputed”

Nothing unusual in Verma’s Tawang trip: India II

  1. War: Disagreement between the nuclear-armed neighbours over parts of their 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border led to a brief war in 1962
  2. Both sides held the 19th round of Special Representatives’ talks to resolve the dispute over the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in April this year
  3. However the issue has not been resolved

Nothing unusual in Verma’s Tawang trip: India I

  1. India asserted territorial sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, describing it as an “integral” part of the country
  2. Event: China admonished the United States for sending its ambassador in India Richard Verma to Arunachal Pradesh, to attend a festival
  3. The annual festival had drawn similar objection from Chinese authorities when the Dalai Lama visited Tawang in 2009 as a special gesture to mark half-century of his exile in India
  4. China claims more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) of territory disputed by India in the eastern sector of the Himalayas
  5. Much of that forms the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls South Tibet

Ladakh drill not aimed at third country, says China

  1. The first-ever Sino-Indian joint military exercise in eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir was held on Oct 19
  2. The exercise was descirbed as a normal exchange between the frontier troops of China and India to properly deal with border affairs

[op-ed snap] The Asian century beckons

  1. Theme: India-China bilateral relationship and the way forward.
  2. Recent developments in India-China relationship: First, an improvement in China-India business cooperation as seen in the two-way trade figures.
  3. Second, people-to-people exchanges exceeded one million for the first time last year.
  4. Third, 11 pairs of sister provinces/cities have been created between the two countries.
  5. Fourth, cooperation between the two has also strengthened in issues pertaining to climate change, global governance and reform of international financial institutions.
  6. The way ahead: First, keeping up the momentum of high-level exchanges to  enhance strategic communication and increase mutual understanding.
  7. Second, aligning our development strategies as both India and China share common ideas and complementary strategies of development.
  8. Third, deepening business cooperation. We may actively explore a China-India regional trading arrangement and encourage cooperation on major projects.
  9. We can also work together on new and renewable energy projects.
  10. Fourth, promoting people-to-people exchanges by introducing more direct flights between the two countries and promoting religious exchanges.
  11. Fifth, enhancing international and regional cooperation. E.g. we need to enhance cooperation in SCO, and work together to ensure the success of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank, increase strategic communication and coordination on international and regional affairs and become global partners in matters of strategic coordination.
  12. Sixth, managing our differences with mutual cooperation.

India and China to cooperate on Delhi-Nagpur high-speed rail

  1. India and China have signed agreements for cooperation covering a host of issues like a feasibility study on Delhi-Nagpur high speed railway
  2. It also includes construction of Delhi-Chennai high-speed railway and establishment of China-India Technology Park in Hainan Province
  3. Besides, India is studying China’s coastal manufacturing zones
  4. Why? It can help India develop its 7,500-km of coastline and help the country further strengthen its export potential, particularly in labour-intensive industries such as textiles, leather, light and electronic manufacturing
  5. The agreements were signed as part of India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, which started in 2010

China caught in a corridor of uncertainty

  1. Context: The Uri terrorist attack
  2. China: Described the attack as shocking & expressed sympathy for the victims
  3. It asked for relevant parties to create a favourable environment which will secure CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  4. Indications: These comments amount to Beijing’s admission of deep strategic interest in the Kashmir region
  5. By tying up the Uri attack with concern for CPEC, Beijing has shown that its views on terror are shaped by its evolving interests in the South Asian region
  6. China is unable to appreciate India’s concerns about constructing important projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that is historically part of India

China may allow imports of Indian non-basmati rice

  1. Indian Demand: Market access for products including non-basmati rice, pharmaceuticals and several fruits & vegetables among others
  2. Beijing had been denying market access to India’s non-basmati rice
  3. Why? The item had failed to meet Chinese norms on quality, health and safety
  4. Concern: Likelihood of a pest called Khapra beetle (or cabinet beetle) getting transported along with Indian non-basmati rice consignments to China
  5. China was the world’s largest rice importer in 2015-16 followed by Saudi Arabia and Iraq
  6. Trade deficit: The Centre had repeatedly taken up the issue of the country’s ballooning goods trade deficit with China bilaterally
  7. India’s goods trade deficit with China has surged from $1.1 billion in 2003-04 to $52.7 billion in 2015-16

Willing to work with India, says Xi

  1. Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in an attempt to reboot troubled ties
  2. PM Modi: India and China must be sensitive to each other’s concerns
  3. Concerns: Including terrorism emerging from the area covered by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — the $46 billion connectivity project that India has objected to
  4. Response to terrorism must not be motivated by political considerations
  5. President Xi: China is willing to work with India to maintain their hard-won sound relations and further advance cooperation- a tacit acceptance that the relationship needs improvement
  6. China and India should continue dialogues at various levels and in various areas, and frequently exchange views on major issues of common interest to enhance understanding and trust

India, China hold financial and economic dialogue

  1. News: China and India held their 8th high-level Financial and Economic Dialogue in Beijing to strengthen trade and economic cooperation
  2. Aim: Exchanging ideas and status reports on the macro economic situation in both the countries
  3. The officials of both the countries brief each other about their economic and fiscal policies and discuss issues of structural reforms and bilateral investment flows and economic cooperation
  4. Outcome: Underlined the need for building more solidarity to adopt more responsible macro economic policies

China says NSG door not shut on India

  1. News: China’s state-run media said that the door for India’s admission into the NSG is not tightly closed
  2. South China Sea: And also that New Delhi should fully comprehend Beijing’s concerns over the disputed South China Sea
  3. Co-operation: India and China are partners not rivals & as both head into a season of intensive top-level diplomatic encounters that could well define the future of their partnership, the two need to work together to keep their disagreements in check
  4. NSG issue: What should be noted above all else is that India has wrongly blamed China for blocking its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  5. So far, there is no precedent for a non-Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory to become a NSG member

Chinese scribes asked to leave after adverse report

  1. The 3 journalists were intercepted when meeting with members of the Tibetan community in Bangalore
  2. This event is likely to further the strain put on Indo-China relations over the past few months
  3. Beijing had reacted adversely to a conference being held in Dharamsala for Chinese dissidents
  4. More recently over the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting – India accused China of blocking its membership bid
  5. Last week, China’s decision to ‘express concern’ over the violence in J&K was another source of tension

India ramps up its military presence in Eastern Ladakh

  1. News: India’s quiet efforts at beefing up military capabilities in Eastern Ladakh, to match China’s wide-ranging transformation across the border, are finally becoming a reality
  2. A much-criticised policy after the humiliation of 1962 war had resulted in India deliberately neglecting infrastructure
  3. This was even as China had transformed the mountainous and disputed border into a showcase of its economic might with all weather roads running up to frontline military posts
  4. The process of force enhancement from the Indian side was put in place over the last 5 year

Way forward on restoring Stilwell Road

  1. Despite its concerns, India has toned down the two concerns because of the Look East policy
  2. The process of advancing the strategy requires the stability of northern India, in which a well-functioning road system matters a lot
  3. In line with these developments, Assam has recently started to fix part of the road
  4. China as a more developed country should play a major role in the reconstruction work
  5. All three countries should set up a joint dialogue mechanism, in which their concerns and problems can be put on the negotiating table
  6. Dialogues will also include how to make peace with ethnic insurgents, and the three countries can find out solutions together
  7. The ethnic groups living in this area can seize the chance and prosper

Issues with Stilwell Road in India & Myanmar

  1. Myanmar: Started to renovate another section of the road, but the reconstruction is not smooth
  2. Why? Lack of funds and technologies and the presence of Indian and Myanmarese ethnic insurgents in the area
  3. India: Worried about the reconstruction of the road for two reasons
  4. First, the road starts from Assam, a State where local militants have become increasingly active
  5. Second, China-made products can flood into the Indian market through the road

What is Stilwell Road?


  1. Connects: India, China and Myanmar
  2. Earlier: Called the Ledo Road, but renamed after Stilwell at the suggestion of Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek
  3. Ledo: A small town in northern India, is the starting point of this legendary road
  4. From Ledo in Upper Assam to Kunming in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, the road is 1,800-km-long
  5. It is obvious that the road that connects China, India and Myanmar bears economic significance for South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia

Beijing calls for restoration of Stillwell Road

  1. Context: Chinese media reports on restoring the Stilwell Road
  2. Chinese media: India, China and Myanmar should establish a joint dialogue mechanism to restore the Stilwell Road to revitalise trade in the region
  3. China: Completed the reconstruction of the section from Kunming to the Sino-Myanmese border and connected the road to China’s well-developed road system
  4. Myanmar: Accomplished restoration of the section from the Sino-Myanmese border to Myitkyina, with China’s help
  5. India: However, the sections from Myanmar to India and within India are barely usable & some parts have already been deserted due to bad conditions

India eases curbs on conference visas for China

  1. India has removed conference visas for Chinese participants from the prior referral category
  2. China has, on several occasions, pressed India for lifting restrictions on conference and research visas
  3. It was a major hindrance for the Chinese to come here and share technological advancements and strategies
  4. The timing of the move is seen as an attempt to soften the atmosphere in the run-up to the meetings of the NSG in Vienna

India, China agree to advance ongoing boundary negotiations- II

  1. China also agreed to advance the ongoing boundary negotiations under the Special Representatives mechanism
  2. Also resolved to take actions to maintain peace and tranquillity in the boundary regions
  3. Other agreements: For strengthening cooperation in investment, trade and tourism
  4. China has shown its interest in India’s flagship schemes such as Digital India and Make in India
  5. It might also invest in the Smart Cities project
  6. Tourism: China has agreed to accommodate more Indian tourists to visit Kailash Mansarovar via the Nathu La pass into Tibet

India, China agree to advance ongoing boundary negotiations- I

  1. Context: India and China agree upon issues including nuclear energy and boundary negotiations
  2. President: India aims to rapidly expand its civilian nuclear programme in line with the country’s energy needs
  3. China agreed to strengthen cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy
  4. Earlier: Chinese spokespersons had opposed India on joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group without signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

India-China engagement in multilateral institutions

  1. Context: President Pranab Mukherjee on a four-day visit to China
  2. G20: Institutions such as G20 have seen greater engagement by India and China and these have been beneficial overall
  3. WTO: India had welcomed China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organisation in 1995
  4. India: Has always welcomed engagement with Beijing in multi-lateral institutions
  5. Nuclear Suppliers Group: Mr. Mukherjee’s visit to China comes at a time when Beijing has reiterated that India’s inclusion in NSG is contingent upon India signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Cardinal principle of Sino-Indian relations

  1. Context: President Pranab Mukherjee on a four-day visit to China
  2. The cardinal principle: The recognition that bilateral differences need to be reduced and ways to expand areas of agreement multiplied
  3. Both countries have managed to do so substantially, especially since the 2008 global financial crisis, by engaging each other in bilateral and multilateral fora

President praises diaspora for improving Sino-Indian ties

  1. Context: President Pranab Mukherjee on a four-day visit to China
  2. Praise: He appreciated the work of the Indian diaspora in China in developing Sino-Indian ties
  3. The work of the diaspora, many engaged in various economic sectors, has added new dimensions to the already expanding relations between India and China
  4. He called them unofficial ambassadors of the country & the representatives of a multi-party democratic system

China, India capable of solving disputes, Beijing tells U.S.

  1. Context: A Chinese top official asked U.S. to respect the efforts by China and India to resolve their boundary dispute peacefully
  2. China: The two nations are wise enough to deal with it
  3. The Chinese side is committed to safeguarding peace and tranquillity of the border areas between China and India and resolving the boundary question through negotiation
  4. Background: Chinese statement comes after the Pentagon accused Beijing of deploying more troops along the Sino-India borders
  5. Pentagon report also warned of increasing Chinese military presence in various parts of the world, particularly in Pakistan

India wants UN to declare more JeM men as terrorists

  1. Context: India’s bid to get declared JeM operatives as terrorists by UN
  2. India is ready with cases of other JeM individuals to place before the panel
  3. Background: China had recently put a technical hold on declaing JeM leader Masood Azar as terrorist by UN

About China holding back terrorist status

  1. Background: Recently China had put technical hold on Masood Azar being declared as terrorist
  2. It also said that the issue should be decided by concerned parties (Ind-Pak)
  3. Indian stand: JeM is known to have interests beyond South Asia and was listed as a terrorist group by the U.N. in 2001 due to its linkages with al-Qaeda and Taliban
  4. And by siding with Pakistan, China is turning a multilateral issue into a bilateral one given that the

China wants ‘fair’ solution to border dispute

  1. Context: Chinese Foreign Ministry on India-China border dispute
  2. Statement: China and India should meet each other halfway to reach a fair and reasonable political solution to the border dispute acceptable to both sides
  3. Indication: Beijing’s willingness to make concessions on the vexed issue

India-China military hotline likely

  1. Hotline: India and China are close to a breakthrough in establishing a hotline between the two military headquarters
  2. CBMs: It is a part of an effort to improve border management through a new round of confidence building measures (CBMs)
  3. India: Having a coordinated line on terrorism is in the interest of both India and China
  4. India is keen to step up its interaction with Beijing as engaging China more will resolve many of the issues

China responds cautiously to Indo-US logistics pact

  1. Context: India’s decision ‘in principle’ of signing a logistics support agreement with the US
  2. China: India is an influential country in the world and has been upholding independent diplomatic policy
  3. India will make up its diplomatic policies based on its own interests
  4. The subject could be taken up during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to Beijing
  5. Omission: Earlier China criticised Carter’s decision to drop Beijing from the itinerary of his Asia visit

India, China argue over Masood Azhar

  1. Context: India’s move to add Maulana Masood Azhar to international list of terrorist faced Chinese opposition at the UN
  2. Beijing’s response: they had not dismissed India’s move to bring a ban on Azhar. but as the information provided by India to the UN was inadequate, placed a ‘technical hold’— a temporary measure
  3. India’s accusation: China discriminating among different kinds of terrorists (think of Pak angle)
  4. Who is Azhar?: head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed mastermind of Pathankot terror attacks
  5. Azhar was also chief organiser of the Pakistani jihadist group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in early 90s

China blocks bid to block Masood Azar

  1. Context: China once again foiled India’s bid at UN to ban Masood Azar, clinging to its pro-Pakistan stance
  2. Reason: Masood Azhar does not qualify to be nailed as a terrorist to face UN sanctions as his case did not meet the Security Council’s requirements
  3. Masood Azar: JeM chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind

‘Closer Nepal-China ties need not worry India’

  1. News: Nepal’s expanding relations with China should not irritate India, a senior leader of Nepal said
  2. Context: Nepal want to establish relations with both the neighbouring countries [China and India] on the basis of equality, which should not cause irritation
  3. Relevance: Statement came in, as agreements inked by Nepal with China during the ongoing visit of Prime Minister K.P.S. Oli
  4. Bilateral cooperation deals with China are highly significant which help achieving long-term socioeconomic development goals to Nepal on its own

China evades response to presence of its troops in PoK

  1. Context: Recent reports of presence of PLA troops at a forward post in the PoK
  2. News: Chinese Foreign ministry has denied the incident
  3. Background: India has conveyed its protest to China on the China-Pakistan Economic corridor, as it goes through PoK along the Karakoram Highway
  4. Initiative: India and China have established Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination along the LAC to discuss the issue of incursions and aggressive border patrols

India may ease visa norms for China

India is all set to overhaul its security cooperation agreement with China and further liberalise visa norms for the neighbouring country.

  1. MoU signed in 2005 between the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Public Security, People’s Republic of China, is being revisited to expand its scope.
  2. The MoU was signed for exchange of security-related information to combat terrorism.
  3. The new agreement will factor in contemporary global threats like the Islamic State, as many Chinese nationals are also learnt to have joined the extremist outfit.
  4. India-China share experience on anti-hijacking, hostage-like situations and coordinate positions on anti-terrorism endeavours at regional and multilateral levels.
  5. China is among the top five nations which have expressed interest in doing business in India.

India and China link Home Ministries to counter terror

India and China have decided to establish a ministerial mechanism for the first time, linking the 2 home ministries

  1. It will fill the vital gap in the overall institutional architecture of the bilateral ties.
  2. Both countries decided to exchange information on terrorist activities, terrorist groups and linkages.
  3. The topics include law enforcement, cyber crimes, terrorism, trans-border crimes and drug trafficking.
  4. Communication lines would be opened to ensure information flows on aircraft hijacking and hostage situations.

In India, Li will ink pacts on river and culture

The Vice-President of China will sign agreements marking cooperation on better river water management and cultural exchanges.

  1. He will preside over the renewal of the 2013 memorandum of understanding on joint water management.
  2. China have a particular interest in Gupta empire, as it was during this period that the Nalanda university prospered which later on hosted Xuanzang during his visit to India.
  3. There will be renewal of the MoU on smooth sharing of hydrological data related to the common Himalayan rivers.
  4. Water scarcity is a big issue in China whereas the north-eastern States of India have abundant river water so hydrological exchanges are mainly aimed at emergency planning to help India.

Implications of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for India

  1. (+ives) – Economic dev. will unite the factions within Pak & that would increase regional stability.
  2. Commitments to China will put pressure on surging of Radical groups, India needs constraint on Fundamentalism in Pakistan.
  3. China and Pak have started a joint initiative to tackle terrorist activities around the Xinhua province. This will further reduce terrorism in PoK.
  4. (-ives) – POK, an Indian territory will used in CPEC, it is a challenge to sovereignty of India.
  5. Chinese naval vessels may frequently confront Indian Naval vessels due to the Gwadar Port.
  6. Influence of China and Pakistan will increase in Afghanistan which is bad for India’s investments there.

China says India’s fears of military base in Maldives unfounded

  1. China tagged India’s anxiety as baseless after Male approved a law to allow foreigners to buy land in the country.
  2. A senior Chinese military officer said that China did not own any military base abroad, nor did it seek military expansion.
  3. Maldivian President tried to placate the opposition and neighboring countries mentioning that Maldives is looking at projects like Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands or Dubai’s Palm Islands and not at strategic projects.
  4. The Maldives will now allow foreigners who invest more than US$1 billion to own land in perpetuity, provided 70 per cent of it is reclaimed from the sea.

 

 

 

Mandarin lessons for ITBP

  1. In an effort to bridge the communication gap between ITBP men and China’s PLA, the ITBP men are being taught Mandarin and Tibetan languages.
  2. There have been occasions where language barrier has caused friction between ITBP personnel and PLA.
  3. The need to learn Tibetan stemmed from the fact that a large number of locals, like grazers and villagers, move around in the vicinity of the LAC.

It was Chinese drone which Pak shot down – China acknowledged. Why?

  1. China has accepted that the drone shot down by Pakistan in PoK is of Chinese origin, quashing Pakistan’s claim that it was an Indian drone.
  2. Why has China done so?
  3. No country readily accepts that its drones are so weak that someone has managed to shoot one down.

Is this a tactical shift in foreign policy by China to integrate South Asian nations and further its one belt initiative?

Can we expect China and even Russia to start playing a greater direct role from now on in India-Pakistan affairs?

China to participate in Indian International Fleet Review

  1. Despite maritime friction, China will participate in Indian International Fleet Review (IFR) to be held in Feb’16 in Vishakhapatnam.
  2. India and China will exchange visits of naval ships and hold PASSEX [passing exercises] and SAR [search and rescue] exercises.

 

Lakhvi’s day at UN

China has blocked India’s attempts to ask questions about the release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi at the United Nations.

Lakhvi, who is one of the masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was released from custody in Pakistan.


The Problem with UN:

  1. Its procedures are bureaucratic, defying what is needed to combat terrorism.
  2. For example, there is an ombudsperson to whom appeals can be made for de-listing from a list of terrorists.
  3. Even terrorists can appeal to this office. China just had to push a file to block India.

Indo – China: Focus on LAC clarification

India slaps anti-dumping duty on steel imports from China, Malaysia

Some issues with China still unresolved

Oil & gas exploration work in South China sea will need Beijing’s nod

China doesn’t recognise ‘illegal’ McMahon Line

China stalls India’s proposal at UN

China sets up largest gold sector fund for nations along ancient Silk Road

China to actively fund in Pakistan

[op-ed snap] India and China in a multipolar world

China hits back over South China Sea

  1. China and its two main detractors in the South China Sea — Vietnam & Philippines.
  2. China accused them over illegal constructions & reclamations for Spratly islands, called by China as Nansha islands.
  3. Beijing says its construction in Spratly Islands is within the scope of its sovereignty.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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