Leaders of China and India should have strategic communication to forge consensus and narrow down differences in bilateral ties, a top Chinese scholar has said, underlining that “strategic mutual suspicions” is increasing between the two countries. “Strategic communication between China and India is necessary for the two countries. The Indian government refused to participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May this year, which exposed the strategic discord between the two to the international community,” said Hu Shisheng from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, an official think tank. Emphasizing that “strategic mutual suspicions” seem to be increasing between the two countries, Hu said China and India should take efforts to remove and clear the suspicions as soon as possible. “Enhancing bilateral trust will greatly benefit Sino- Indian relations and bilateral cooperation in the region,” he said as the India-China discord widened on a host of issues.
The Chinese scholar was speaking at the recent India think-tank forum. His speech was published in the state-run Global Times today. He said the content of strategic communication mainly concerns security and development interests in China and India, which can be explained by the bilateral, regional and global levels. “It is worth noting that the overlapping areas of security and development interests should be the focus of the two countries’ strategic communication,” he said. “For security interests, the vital matters at the bilateral level include issues concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-traditional security, military modernisation and cyber security, which are likely to worsen in the future,” he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met several times this year on multilateral platforms like BRICS and G20. Recently, they met at Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit. These platforms as bilateral dialogue mechanisms and special representative talks on boundary dispute provide former ministers and national security advisors opportunities to meet periodically. Chinese officials say after the US, China has the widest possible dialogue with India encompassing almost all areas of bilateral ties.
Hu, however, said there should be more dialogue between the two countries. “Attention should be paid to several aspects of the strategic communications between China and India. One is not revisiting old issues or disputes on which both have reached consensus already. Additionally, both sides should not be required to immediately form specific consensuses after high- level talks. And leaders of the two countries should take the initiative to discuss solutions to specific problems,” he said. He said there are three main ways of strategic communication. “One is the face-to-face interactions among top leaders. The dialogue among national leaders often determines the development direction of bilateral relations,” he said. “At present, the Sino-Russian, Sino-US and Sino-European interactions among top leaders are very effective. It is hoped that the Sino-Indian interaction between the two countries’ leaders can reach the same level. The interactions among top leaders should not only involve the main content of strategic communication mentioned above but also establish a friendly tone and direction for strategic communication and cooperation,” he said.
The working relationship among Chinese and Indian departments is also important, he said. When prominent events occur, the two countries’ ministries and military forces should enhance communication while in normal times, India and China can use the existing bilateral mechanisms to solve specific problems between them, he said. “In addition, India and China can carry out think tank dialogues at bilateral, regional and global levels, and launch reports for these dialogues,” he said.