Apart from the frequent border incursions in Arunachal Pradesh, China has showed its distinct dislike for even India to explore oil blocks that Vietnam had offered. Can both countries bury the hatchet and settle all impending issues when their chiefs meet in September?
One of the earliest diplomats to visit New Delhi and call on the Prime Minister Modi was Wang Li, the Foreign Minister of China. This was in apparent early bird move to ensure a meeting of President Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September, which is now confirmed. But the dates have yet not been officially announced. The Chinese President is aware that Indian PM Modi is set to meet President Barack Obama on 30th September in the White House.
His emissary, in the person of Sushma Swaraj, is on the move and has covered several countries, including Myanmar. She is now in Singapore. Modi's plans include a short visit to Japan to meet Shinzo Abe, his counterpart, and a great friend and admirer of India. (Abe has a few issues of his own to deal in relation to China). Modi will also receive the Australian PM Tony Abbott in September. A very tight schedule and a lot of important issues are to be covered with all these important diplomats.
Of immediate importance is the planning for President Xi Jinping's visit. Indian imports from China have been increasing at a tremendous pace to reach $52 billion in 2012-13 as against India which could manage a poor $13.5 billion. In the meantime, the target for trade by 2015 could reach $100 billion of imports. Imports from China are likely to be far more than the exports India can muster.
In order to make President Xi Jinping's visit a success all round, efforts have already been made by the Chinese government. An advance team from China visited India to study the prospects for cooperation in Railways. It appears this team has had its first round of preliminary consultations with the Ministry and all others concerned. According to China's Consul General in Mumbai, Liu Youfa, they may even sign an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on their cooperation in this area.
In the recent months, China has made other moves showing its ambition to be the lead banker for infrastructural development in Asia by garnering support from BRICS in setting up NDB (National Development Bank) with an authorised capital of $100 billion. All the five members will equally share $10 billion to meet the paid up capital. The founding members, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are also keen to go ahead with this. China has been explaining that NDB will be able to reduce the clout enjoyed by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Beijing's ultimate interest is to reinforce its economic clout in this area.
In so far as Modi's visit to Japan is concerned, both India and Japan have a common factor of checking the aggressive designs of China. Since 1894, Japan has been controlling Senkaku Island, which the Chinese call as "Diaoyu". China has attempted to dominate the East China Sea and has territorial claims also on Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Taiwan.
It must be noted that these claims with all its maritime neighbours are in violation of the UN Convention on Laws of the Seas (Unclos). Because of this bullying attitude all, these nations look towards the US for support. In the case of India, apart from the frequent border incursions in Arunachal Pradesh, China has showed its distinct dislike for even India to explore oil blocks that Vietnam had offered. India should go ahead with this exploration, and also not be afraid of taking part in joint military exercises with Japan, US or any other nation.
Apart from the two-way trade relationship that China enjoys with Australia (reaching $133 billion in 2013), the latter also has inward migration from Chinese people. Although Australia's relations are good, they have some concerns too. After seeing what is happening in the neighbourhood, the Australian cabinet minister Malcolm Turnbull, a key lieutenant of PM Tony Abbott is reported to have called the Chinese policy of dealing with its neighbours as "counterproductive" and "singularly unhelpful" to regional security.
As far as India is concerned, China's claim on Arunachal Pradesh has no legal or historical basis. It may also be remembered that illegally occupied Aksai Chin was passed over to China by Pakistan, which has been, so far, its closest friend! China's policy of "strategic containment" of India by enchancing Pakistan's military might, particularly in the nuclear field has been alarming, to say the least. Also, they are in various stages of completion of Gwader all-weather port in Baluchistan. They talk of friendship but are covering India from all sides.
The Chinese have employed other techniques to keep claiming Arunachal Pradesh as their own. From time to time, they issue wrong maps of their own choice and creation; they issue stapled visa for Indians from Arunachal Pradesh visiting China and most importantly, they do a lot of export of goods that can be easily made in India. Here, it is the importers in India who should be blamed for obtaining such cheap goods from China.
When President Xi Jinping comes to India for serious discussions, it is imperative that Prime Minister Modi, while welcoming him as an honoured guest of India, must ensure that the following issues are discussed threadbare and basic understanding reached, so that final agreement can be signed within the agreed time frame. These are:
a) our present LOC is the final actual border between the two countries and that China should return back those territories given by Pakistan from PoK. The PLA will not any more tresspass into our territories, nor there any intrusions in the air.
b) China will whole-heartedly support the induction of India as the permanent 6th member of the UN Security Council
c) India would welcome a restructuring of the UN Security Council itself. The policy of UK and France enjoying the permanent member status should be null and void, and should be replaced by a permanent representative nominated by European Union
d) this change, if approved by the UN General Assembly, would leave USA, China, Russia, India and European Union as permanent members. If, however, UNSC is to be made a 7-member council, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia should be considered and two of them selected
e) To increase our bilateral trade and other relations, it is essential that China undertakes to not give any more military assistance to Pakistan. India will be willing to sign a no-war treaty with Pakistan, if China truly guarantees that it will not arm Pakistan any more. Also, China should not support so-called jihadi groups in J & K region. If anything, China should advise Pakistan to dismantle such terror camps.
f) China will not be the springboard for shipping fake Indian rupee currency notes
g) China and India agree to mutually help each other in exploring for oil and other sources of energy, such as solar
It would be a great day if PM Modi and President Xi Jinping can jointly achieve these objectives before them so that both Indian and Chinese people can live in peace.
has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)