Dr. Manmohan Singh made his maiden visit to China this week with the hopes of pushing forward bilateral talks which have been on the upswing. He was to have discussions with Premier Wen Jiabao during his three-day top level visit and discuss bilateral issues over a Sunday night tete-a-tete .High on the agenda would have been the border dispute, which has been a thorn in the neighbours’ flesh over the past few decades yet a complete resolution is nowhere in sight. There can be no solution to the problem till other troubles exist between the nations. An effort is being made at the corporate level. A high level business delegation also accompanied the proverbial convoy to Beijing and is expected to make some important breakthroughs to improve relations. The only clear change in the border issue is expected to be on the technological front where the 3500km long border is going to be delineated.
The Prime Minister is also scheduled to meet Presigent Hu Jintao, for the second time in his tenure, and the National People’s Congress chairperson, Wu Bangguo.
China is clearly emerging as India’s focal point in the Look East policy, and peace and prosperity are the buzzwords at the Indian PMO these days. It is important that China and India remain on the same page on world issues for the region to advance and continue to advance at the fervent pace it doing so, at the moment.
With ambitious trade budgets, India is certainly making the right noises in the direction of unified financial growth, but there are other issues where Beijing is disgruntled with New Delhi’s attitude. The proximity of the UPA government to the USA is a cause for concern to China. With Pakistan, too, a staunch USA ally in the war against terror, China must be beginning to feel the American heat in the region, after Islamabad’s secret nuclear deal with North Korea was discovered to have had Chinese interference as well.China needs to ensure that India partners her on issues of energy consumption and anti-terrorist activities. Both India and China are soon to become the largest consumers of energy in the world, and a common stand in the world will be mutually beneficial to both nations. The terrorist organizations on the border and in the Nepalese areas, too, are a cause for concern to both countries.Sino-Indian relationships are at a high, after the countries jointly celebrated the India-China Tourism year in 2007, with over a million tourists visiting China from India.With such confidence building measures in place, China and India should be on the way to strong bilateral relationships. However, the feeling of suspicion is mutual, according to diplomats, with New Delhi suspecting support from China to Islamabad and Yangoon, in particular, while China suspects that the US and the West are trying to use India as a strategic vantage point to encircle China. Also impeding the rapid advance of relations is the Indian refusal to sections of the Chinese industry, due to concerns over security. An upset Beijing, in a world that seems to have only two flavours, one of which is Sino, might not work out in favour of India in the long run. And the sooner the disputes get solved, the better it will be for New Delhi and the rest of India.Vineet Kanabar