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Diffusing tensions

In a significant development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping that both sides need to be sensitive to each other’s aspirations on Sunday. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou.  Xi also struck a conciliatory note and said that both sides ought to “respect and give consideration to each other’s concerns”. This is the second meeting between the two leaders in less than three months. Both Xi and Modi are expected to meet again in October at the BRICS summit in Goa.  The past year has been witness to rising tensions between the two Asian giants over various hot button issues. China’s refusal to back India in its bid for membership into the Nuclear Suppliers Group has left the NDA government red-faced. Other complaints pertain to China's refusal to have JeM chief Masood Azhar listed as a terrorist by the UN Security Council’s 1267 committee. India holds Azhar responsible for orchestrating the recent Pathankot airbase attack. Beijing decision to give Pakistan diplomatic cover has frustrated New Delhi’s efforts to corner Pakistan across international forums. Modi also raised concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will run through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and the terrorism based in the region. China, meanwhile, has expressed its consternation over the recent defence logistics pact between the India and the US. Other concerns that were raised include India’s growing influence among nations in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea areas. Finally, Beijing has also raised concerns about Indian infrastructure projects close to the border with China. Despite closer ties with the US, Prime Minister Modi has made unprecedented overtures to China during his tenure, courting greater economic investment. To the uninitiated, China remains India's largest trading partner. Besides the long-standing border dispute, the greatest roadblock in Indo-China ties is Pakistan. China has decided to use Pakistan as a buffer against potential security threats in light of a growing tide of fighters from the troubled Xinjiang province to jihadist groups. On the economic front, it is heavily invested in the $46 billion dollar-China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which stretches between Chinese province of Xinjiang and the Pakistani port city of Gwadar, which is located in the strife-torn region of Balochistan.
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