India China relations often referred as Sino-Indian relations have been smooth for most of the past 2000 years except for the last fifty odd years. They are one of the two most ancient civilizations of the world sharing 3647 kilometres of border. Apart from being two most populous countries of the world, China and India are second and fourth largest economies of the world, are among the fastest growing economies of the world. In recent times, the process of development and diversification of bilateral relations has gathered pace.
India China share similarity of view on many fronts like World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Climate Change talks, reforms of World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) of which China is member had granted the observer status to India, while South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had granted the observer status to China. They also participated in the BRIC (Brazil Russia India China) summit and East Asia Summit. Despite of these facts, India China often find each other on the opposite side of the table on many issues for instance UN security Council reforms.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established on October 1, 1949, and India was the second non-communist country to recognize it. Within a few months, on April 1, 1950, India and China established diplomatic relations. The two countries also jointly expounded the Panchsheel (Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence) in 1954. India China bilateral relations suffered a serious setback when in 1962 China attacked India over Tibetan and boundary issue. Asylum provided to Dalai Lama by India was considered to be the most immediate cause of that war. Though there were other causes also like boundary issue for which the war was fought.
Many analysts feel that the war was ostensibly fought over the boundary and Tibetan issue but real causes were something else as boundary and Tibetan issues are yet to be resolved even after the fifty years of that war. The real motive behind Chinese offence was to damage the image of India and Nehru which were getting more limelight than China at international stage, meanwhile exhibiting its strength and weakness of its neighbor to the world.
India and China restored ambassadorial relations in August 1976. Higher political level contacts were revived by the visit of the then External Affairs Minister, A.B.Vajpayee in February 1979. The Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua paid a return visit to India in June, 1981. The next milestone was Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China in December 1988. During this visit, both sides agreed to develop and expand bilateral relations in all fields. It was also agreed to establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) to seek fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution on the boundary question. From the Chinese side Premier Li Peng visited India in December 1991. Late Prime Minister Narasimha Rao visited China in September 1993. The Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India – China Border Area was signed during this visit.
The improving relation once again soured when India conducted the nuclear test in May 1998 and then in Parliament, then Defence Minister George Fernandez said that China is India’s enemy number one.
As of now, apart from boundary and Tibetan issue, many other developments emerged which added to the list of irritants in the India China relationship for instance stapled visa given by China to the visitors from Kashmir, stapled visa to residents of Arunachal Pradesh which China considers as its own territory, development of ports in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh to increase its clout in Indian Ocean, China’s open military, financial and atomic support to Pakistan doesn’t go well with India. From Indian side, China is opposed to India’s foray in that part of South China Sea over which both Vietnam and China lay their claim.
India and China sorted out their differences on the China's practice of issuing visas on a piece of paper to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. China had resorted to this practice on the ground that Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory. India took strong exception, saying it infringed on its sovereignty and also amounted to China altering its long-standing policy to stay neutral on the Kashmir issue. It was finally sorted out in 2011 after China quietly stopped the practice, prompting India to resume defence ties after a year-long hiatus.
China maintains that it have sovereignty over whole South China sea while Vietnam lays its claim over the parts of South China sea. In October 2011, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Vietnam’s Petro Vietnam signed agreement on the investment, exploration and supply of oil and gas in the South China sea. South China sea has proven oil reserves of 7.7 billion barrels and estimated reserves of 28 billion barrels. The agreement between India and Vietnam has strained the relations between not only India and China but also between China and Vietnam.
China didn’t accept the McMohan line as a boundary between India and China as McMohan line was the result of agreement between British India and Tibet and since Tibet is part of China, it has no authority to sign an international agreement. India considers the agreement genuine as during the signing of agreement, China had no control over Tibet. So far 14 Rounds of Boundary Talks have been held and 15th round is slated to be held in January 2012 and both countries have agreed on the continuation of talks and accept that issue will take time to be resolved.
Despite of many irritants between both nations, New Delhi and Beijing insist on increasing the economic and cultural cooperation. China has displaced Unjited States to become the largest trade partner of India. According to ASSOCHAM, current trade between India and China exists at $63 billion is supposed to reach $100 billion in next four yearsThe overall bilateral trade figures for 2010 are as follows:
|(All figures in US$ billions)
|India Exports to China
|China Exports to India
|Trade Balance for India
Source: Ministry of External Affairs Report
India-China total trade crossed the target of US$ 60 billion for 2010 recording an increase of more than 52%. India’s exports to China for year 2010 reached US$ 20.86 billion, a growth of more than52% when compared to year 2009. However, India’s exports to China in 2010 were only slightly more than the figure for year 2008 when our exports reached US$ 20.34 billion. India’s exports in 2010 recorded an increase of only 2.5%. China’s exports to India for year 2010 reached US$ 40.88 billion, an increase of almost 41% compared to 2009. The trade deficit for India for year 2010 stood at more than US$ 20 billion, more than US$ 15.87 billion trade deficit in year 2009. The total trade for the first five months of 2011 (Jan-May) stood at US$ 29.36 billion, a year-on-year increase of 17.15 %. The trade deficit in this period was US$ 7.69 billion.
Putting behind the ghost of past, both countries are actively engaging in the cultural cooperation. The year 2008 marked the 70th anniversary of the Indian Medical Mission to China and the two countries organized India-China Joint Medical Mission to commemorate the event. During the visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in January 2008, the Mission was flagged off. Ten doctors from India visited China in January 2008 and a team of Chinese doctors went to India in the latter part of the year under a MoU between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). The second version of the same was exchanged in 2010. The new Culture and Information Wing of the Mission began functioning from June 2008. A Kathak dance teacher joined the Mission on ICCR deputation to hold classes for dance students. This Wing conducts other events every month, which includes lectures, film/documentary shows, performances, book talks, etc dealing with Indian culture and heritage. The Wing also has an open library with around 3000 reference books on India.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Beijing in December 2009 by Both governments to organize the "Festival of India" in China and the "Festival of China" in India in 2010. The decision to hold the two festivals was taken by the two Governments during the visit of H.E. Mr. Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China to India in November 2006. As part of the Festival of India in China from April to Oct 2010, eleven Indian performing groups performed in 40 cities across China. The Festival also included India Film Weeks in three cities, one large scale Exhibition in three cities, India’s participation at the Beijing International Book Fair – 2010 as Guest of Honor country, a series of food festivals and a Painting Exhibition by Chinese artists on Indian themes, etc.
Every country must seek favorable terms with its neighbor as one can’t change its neighbors. Both New Delhi and Beijing realize this fact and therefore are both nations are endeavoring on their part to reduce the number of irritants. In pursuant of this, China accepted Sikkim as part of India and in a reciprocal manner, India recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.
International issues like WTO, Climate Change talks can further utilized to strengthen the relationship between India and China. India and China are growing aggressively and the gap between the first world and India, China is reducing. In course of respective development, India and China must recognize each other as complementary rather than being competitive. None of them can afford a full scale war as both need enough resources for further development and best option available for both the nations is to carry on the talks in disputable issues while engaging aggressively in mutually beneficial issues.
For such topics of Basic understanding on the subject matter which will keep you motivated to crack GD & PI at CAT 2011, NMAT, XAT, SNAP and forthcoming exams Feb.MAT2012, ATMA, MHCET 2012, CMAT 2012 along with various other state specific MBA entrance tests. This would also be useful for WAT, Extempore speaking, Essays.