Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

[op-ed snap] Six ways on how to improve Sino-Indian ties, post-Wuhanop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The Challenges and difficulties(for improving relationship between the two countries) discussed in the newscard.


Is the recent Wuhan summit between Indian PM and Chinese President a success?

  1. The outcome of this kind of a summit can only be determined not through the communiques and words, but action taken on the ground
  2. Many things are not visible right now and will unfold on the ground in the coming months and years
  3. At this point, we can say that the principal achievement of the meeting is to put the strategic communications between the two countries on a new track
  4. The Wuhan summit has inaugurated a new era of diplomacy where the top leaders of India and China meet more frequently and find time to take up issues in much greater detail

Other positive outcomes of the summit

  1. The Wuhan summit signals that they do not want to clash against each other through misunderstanding and miscalculation
  2. At the same time they would not like to have their bilateral relationship be mediated by third countries like the US
  3. And neither would they like to have their relations with other countries(like the US or Pakistan) negatively impact on their own interaction

Confusion: On Chinese Commitments

  1. By assuring China that India will not militarily intervene in Maldives and refusing to have the Australians at the Malabar naval exercises, India has front-loaded some of its commitments
  2. Just what the Chinese have committed themselves to is not clear

The difficulties and challenges that the two sides confront lie in several important areas
First: the disputed border

  1. Unless the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is clarified, it is difficult not to have periodic incidents like in Depsang in 2014 and Chumar in 2015
  2. Also, there is no point in asking the Special Representatives designated to discuss the border issue, to intensify their work
  3. What is needed is action by the respective leaderships of China and India

Second: Need of peace keeping mechanisms

  1. Both sides need to urgently revitalise their peace keeping mechanisms on the border

Third: India and China need to resolve their problems on the economic front

  1. An immediate area of attention is in that of the trade balance which is heavily skewed against India
  2. But many Indian products like pharmaceuticals, Information Technology products and non-basmati rice are blocked from the Chinese market
  3. China needs to open up its markets to Indian goods

Fourth: Terrorism emanating from Pakistan

  1. As a friend of Pakistan and an important military partner, India feels that China should do more to restrain Pakistan

Fifth: Need of a diplomatic mechanism to discuss regional issues

  1. Both sides must have a diplomatic mechanism through which they can discuss regional issues like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka
  2. Building on the idea of a joint project in Afghanistan, the two sides should explore joint third-country projects in some of these countries

Sixth: Implementation of ideas at the lower level

  1. There is need for the top leaderships to sensitise lower level officials and military personnel as to what they are trying to achieve
  2. Unless the lower level officials implement the ideas, the high level meeting will be of no value

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