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PM’s China Visit: A Watershed moment in Indo- China Relationsâ€‹
From May 14-17, 2015, Indian Prime Minister was on an official visit to China which he claimed to be a ‘new milestone’ for Asian relations. How this visit could transform the present century dominated by west into the century of Asia is something which time could tell, but major agreements signed between India and China give some hints about the success of this visit. The agreements signed between the two Asian giants are as under –
- Protocols between India and China on the establishment of consulates-general at Chengdu and Chennai and the extension of the consular district of the consulate general of India in Guanzhou to include Jiangxi province. The expansion of consular services can be seen as a push for more people to people contact among the two nations.
- MoU between the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship of India and the ministry of human resources and social security of China on cooperation in the field of vocational education and skill development.
- Action plan on cooperation in setting up of the Mahatma Gandhi National Institute for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
- MoU between India and China on consultative mechanism for cooperation in trade negotiations.
- MoU on cooperation between the ministry of external affairs of India and international department of the central committee of the Communist Party of China.
- Action plan between the National Railway Administration of China and the ministry of railways of India on enhancing cooperation in the railway sector (2015-16)
- MoU on education exchange programme.
- MoU between the ministry of mines of India and the ministry of land and resources of China on the cooperation in the mining and minerals sector.
- Space Cooperation Outline (2015-2020).
- Protocol on health and safety regulations on importing Indian rapeseed meal between the export inspection council, ministry of commerce and industry of India and the general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine.
- MoU between Doordarshan and China Central Television on cooperation in the field of broadcasting.
- Agreement between the ministry of tourism of India and the national tourism administration of China on cooperation in the field of tourism.
- MoU on establishing India-China think-tanks forum.
- MoU between India's NitiAayog and the Development Research Centre, State Council of China.
- MoU between India's ministry of earth sciences and the China Earthquake Administration concerning cooperation in the field of earthquake science and earthquake engineering
- MoU on scientific cooperation between Geological Survey of India, ministry of mines of India and the China Geological Survey, ministry of land and resources of China in geosciences.
- MoU between the ministry of external affairs of India and ministry of foreign affairs of China on establishment of states/provincial leaders' forum.
- Agreement on the establishment of sister-state/province relations between state government of Karnataka and provincial government of Sichuan of China.
- Agreement on establishment of sister-city relations between Chennai and Chongqing of China.
- Agreement on establishment of sister-city relations between Hyderabad and Qingdao of China.
- Agreement on establishment of sister-city relations between Aurangabad and Dunhuang of China.
- MoU between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Fudan University on the establishment of a centre for Gandhian and Indian studies.
- MoU between Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Yunnan Minzu University on the establishment of a yoga college.
Barring a few, none of the aforesaid agreements has a much potential to bring any major change about the Indian concerns over its relations with China until rigorous follow up is done.
The main Indian concerns regarding China are the huge trade deficit in China’s favour and the boundary issue. Apart from this, some minor concerns include Chinese support to Pakistan’s nuclear programme, staples visas etc. The agreements signed between Chinese and Indian establishments failed to address any of these concerns seriously. Despite ignoring these vital issues, the visit is considered as a watershed in Sino-India relations. It is because the latest tried to create a commensurate environment over which the foundations of closer relationship would be laid in future.
Another thing hailed by the ruling party members is the investment deals signed worth USD22 billions. Though it won’t be sufficient to bridge the huge trade gap to the tune of USD38 billion reported in year 2013-14 which is expected to increase, this investment if materialized would help in bridging this gap up to some extent in future. With labour charges increasing in China, in addition to the economic slow-down, Chinese businesses are looking at greener pastures, including to the growing Indian market.
And the most important thing realised implicitly by the both the nations is the fact that Asian century could never arrive until and unless the two giants of Asia i.e. India and China would start cooperating. It is evident that boundary issue is very sensitive for both India and China and both are treading on this issue vary cautiously. One should not expect to resolve it in a sitting or two. What is important is that both the nations have shown their resolved to solve even the most controversial issues amicably. The latest visit has another move to kept the ball rolling to facilitate the early the arrival of century of Asia.
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