Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held discussions on bilateral ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Ufa. Their fifth meeting in a year shows the growing depth of the Indo-China relationship.The two leaders met ahead of the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits in Ufa.It is the fourth bilateral meeting between the two leaders since their first in Fortaleza, Brazil, last July. In September 2014, Xi had visited India while Modi made a trip to China in <g data-gr-id="46">May,</g> 2015. Xi and Modi had also visited each other’s hometowns during their bilateral trips. This is not to say that the Chinese must be trusted blindly. China has emerged as an undisputed leader in the 21st century.
It has marched a long way from its chronic history of weakness to become a world power. China has also been vigorously following its foreign policy of co-opting weaker neighbours for maintaining its fast-paced growth and hegemony. However, China’s foreign policy moves do not seem to be peaceful or reassuring for the mandarins at South Block. There are many bones of contentions between the Chinese and Indian foreign policy officials which need to be smoothed out.China’s claim on islands in S.China sea and east China Sea has triggered tension with Japan and Vietnam. This also had a tangential impact on Indian due to the cancellation of a natural gas project with Vietnam.
This has also come under legal scrutiny from the International Court of Justice. Moreover, India –China border is another dispute which often flares up because the border is violated by the Chinese army and is a constant source of tension along the Ladakh border.Further overt and covert Chinese support to Pakistan is another constant thorn in the relation between Indian & China.While realising fully well that it would take decades to seriously compete with the US for global hegemony, China has focused its strategic energies on Asia.
Its foreign policy is aimed at enhancing its economic and military prowess to achieve regional hegemony in Asia. China’s recent emphasis on projecting its rise as peaceful is aimed at allaying the concerns of its neighbours lest they try to counterbalance its growing influence.5 China’s readiness to negotiate with other regional states and to be an economically “responsible” power is also a signal to other states that there are greater benefits in allying with China rather than opposing its rise in any manner. China realises that it has thrived because it devoted itself to economic development while letting the US police the region and the world. Even as it decries American hegemony, its leaders envision Pax-China continuing into the 21st Century. While a slowing China and its crashing stock market is bad news for global growth, it is not so bad news for India.n today’s India, the narrow nationalism, if not paranoia, built on the burden of 1962 seems only artificial. But, can Modi and Xi move beyond this burden and change the bilateral discourse?Without admitting defeat, India should start to work on the non-conflicting nature of India-China links woven by centuries-old philosophical and commercial interfaces.
The two are intrinsic and interdependent and still provide cues for the future. President Xi Jinping is reviving commerce by revitalizing the ancient Silk Route, on which Indian goods and culture spread to the East. That is a good thing. In fact, trade and commerce are the driving force of India-China relations today. Prime Minister Modi must take this forward.