INDIA- China Relations & Visit of FM
The 1962 war between India and China became the turning point that had warm relations for more than 2000 years in the erstwhile known history of the two neighbours. China being the fastest growing economy, largest trade partner of India, permanent member of UN Security Council, nuclear power and largest military among others is an emerging super power and cannot be ignored as a neighbour. When China has strained relations with its neighbour like Japan and Vietnam over territorial water disputes, having another estranged neighbour in the region is the last thing China would want. In this background, having good relations with each other is in interest of both India and China.
Role of United States in India China Relations
Among all its neighbours, India has most vulnerable relations with Pakistan which often reaches to a new low even at the drop of a hat. With other neighbours like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc too, several irritants exist as an obstacle for soothing relations. China is on the spree of developing infrastructural projects in these nations in order to contain India.
When Russia is playing a neutral role when it comes to India and China, the US is looking at India as a strategic partner to check the clout of China in the region. Since China is not ignorant of this fact, it was important for India to allay the fears of China arising out of the close relation between India and the US. In this background, soon after the US President Barack Obama’s India’s visit, India wasted no time in sending its External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj to China.
Significance of FM Visit
- There were two main reasons behind the four day visit of Indian Foreign Minister (FM) to China. First was to allay the Chinese concerns over the signing of India- US security pact following which China overtly said that it would make it tough for India to become a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The second reason was to prepare the ground work for India Prime Minister’s scheduled visit to China in May 2015.
- During her visit, she proposed a six point “template” to broad base Sino-India engagement with an action oriented approach to usher in Asian century. The six point in this ‘template’ included action oriented approach, broad base bilateral engagement, convergence of common, regional and global interests, development of new areas of cooperation, expansion of strategic communication and fulfilling common aspirations to usher “Asian century”.
- While in Beijing, she also attended Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meet during which the three countries reached a broader understanding to fight terrorism. Russia and China also extended their backing for India's inclusion in the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as well as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) besides supporting its aspiration to play a greater role in the UN. SCO has emerged as the most important regional block in Central Asia.
- In order to promote tourism between the two countries, she also launched ‘2015: Visit of India Year’ to attract more Chinese tourist to India which had already reached 174,000 in 2014. Indian PM also sent a video message to the people of China inviting them to visit India in large numbers.
- FM also assured to make it easier for Chinese companies to do business in India and expect that similar encouragement from the government of China. Meanwhile, China too agreed to invest USD20 billion in Indian parks.
- Following the FM’s visit, the special representatives of India and China will hold the 18th round of talks to resolve the boundary dispute where Indian delegation would be represented by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. If the boundary agreement between India and China is resolved, half of the problem areas in Indi-China relations would be automatically wiped out.
- Despite all the positive engagements, three major concerns which remained to be addressed are boundary dispute, huge trade deficit for India in bilateral trade (USD37 billion in 2013) and close engagement between China and Pakistan.However, both the countries
- have covertly accepted the fact that while working on resolving such issues in the background, such irritants should be allowed to disrupt the positive engagement between the two largest populated countries.