Sino-India relations in 2018: Post Doklam standoff, Asian giants India and China hit reset mode

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Updated: December 28, 2018 2:54:23 PM

The year 2018, has witnessed a huge success in the India-China relations which took off with the first informal meeting of the top leaders of both sides Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping of China, which restored and heightened the relations between the two countries.

Sino-India relations in 2018: Post Doklam standoff, Asian giants India and China hit reset mode (PTI)

The year 2018, has witnessed a huge success in the India-China relations which took off with the first informal meeting of the top leaders of both sides Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping of China, which restored and heightened the relations between the two countries.

Since that meeting Post Doklam, both Modi and Xi have met four times and each time, the relations have improved.

Sources told Financial Express Online that, “This level of relationship is unprecedented in the bilateral relations of the two countries. The military to military contact is back on track, the Hand-in-Hand exercise between the two armies which was shelved last year resumed this year. ”

Of significance is also the number of times foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has met her counterpart as well as defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her counterpart Wei Fenghe having met a few times this year.

In fact in 2018, the 21st round of border talks between the two countries took place in November when both sides sought to find solution to the border question.

The bilateral ties between the two countries took a nosedive when China went ahead with the $ 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and which was subsequently followed by the 73-day standoff at Doklam.

To a question regarding India’s position on BRI, the source pointed out that, “The position of the government has been very clear. China should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation. CPEC is a direct challenge to our sovereignty. CPEC has dual use, which is a matter of concern.”

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While adding that the narrative on BRI is changing and the source said that there should be responsible policy in place.

In 2018, the leaders have tried to work towards ensuring there is improvement not only in the political relations but there is peace and tranquillity at the border too.

The second informal meeting between the leaders of India and China has been slated for 2019.

“Though the elections will be taking place in India early next year, the second informal meeting has already been scheduled. The two countries are interested in further strengthening the relations.”

India has tried this year to push India’s exports to China to address the over $ 51 billion trade deficit.

There has been a forward movement market access in China. The leadership in China has given market access to Indian agriculture products as well has opened up for pharmaceuticals which is expected to help in balancing the trade deficit.

“Products including basmati rice, sugar, soya bean, rapseed oils are getting access to the Chinese market. We are witnessing the removal of barriers,” the source added.

Responding to a question related to Chinese Telecom player Huawei’s presence in India, the source said that “New Delhi has to weigh the situation. West is not exactly altruistic. As far as the company’s presence in India is concerned, at this stage, Huawei is legal entity.”

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India has engaged with China on Indo Pacific – which is a concept. Though Chinese side have expressed doubts but they appreciated Prime Minister Modi’s statement at Shangri La Dialogue Forum in Singapore, earlier this year.

“India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members,” Modi said in a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore.

In his speech, Modi spoke of how India’s strategic autonomy had helped it to develop “special” and “privileged” ties with Russia, a strong partnership with the US and a multilayered relationship with China.

As reported earlier, last week external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj from India and Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi leading a delegation participated in the first ever meeting of the People-to-People mechanism in New Delhi that was set at the informal meeting in Wuhan.

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