China, In­dia on right track

Co­op­er­a­tion has great po­ten­tial, says FM ahead of sum­mit

Global Times - - Front Page - By Bai Tiantian and Zhang Xin

China’s for­eign min­is­ter said Wed­nes­day there is great po­ten­tial for Sino- In­dian co­op­er­a­tion as the two coun­tries strive to mend ties torn by the re­cent bor­der stand­off and re­turn to the track of co­op­er­a­tion.

In­dia an­nounced on Tues­day that its Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi will at­tend next week’s BRICS sum­mit in Xi­a­men, East China’s Fu­jian Prov­ince, a day af­ter In­dia pulled back its troops from the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory of Dok­lam.

“As two big neigh­bors, it is nat­u­ral for some prob­lems to oc­cur as in­ter­ac­tion in­creases. What’s im­por­tant is that [ the two coun­tries] should put these prob­lems in suit­able po­si­tions, re­spect each other, fol­low the con­sen­sus reached by the lead­ers of the two coun­tries and

prop­erly han­dle [ these prob­lems],” For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said Wed­nes­day.

“We hope China and In­dia could join hands to achieve mu­tual pros­per­ity and make con­tri­bu­tions to the peace and de­vel­op­ment of the world,” Wang added.

He did not con­firm whether there will be a bi­lat­eral meet­ing be­tween Chi­nese President Xi Jin­ping and Modi at the BRICS Sum­mit, but said such meet­ings de­pend on mu­tual in­ten­tions and whether there is enough time.

Xi will chair the BRICS Xi­a­men Sum­mit from Septem­ber 3 to 5. He will also chair the Di­a­logue of Emerg­ing Mar­kets and De­vel­op­ing Coun­tries on mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion for com­mon de­vel­op­ment.

“De­spite the bor­der stand­off, which is a bi­lat­eral is­sue, China and In­dia have many com­mon in­ter­ests in mul­ti­lat­eral and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion. The co­op­er­a­tion in­ter­ests out­weigh our dif­fer­ences,” Qian Feng, an ex­pert at the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion for South Asian Stud­ies, told the Global Times on Wed­nes­day.

China and In­dia have co­op­er­ated in fight­ing un­just and un­rea­son­able treat­ment to­ward de­vel­op­ing na­tions and in win­ning a greater voice against de­vel­oped coun­tries. The two coun­tries have also co­op­er­ated closely on global is­sues such as cli­mate change, counter- piracy, food se­cu­rity and coun­tert­er­ror­ism, Qian said.

“Not only at the BRICS Sum­mit, at the G20 and many other plat­forms, China and In­dia have jointly pushed for re­forms and a new global eco­nomic or­der. In these is­sues, Bei­jing and New Delhi of­ten voice sim­i­lar opin­ions,” Qian noted.

BRICS – Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa – is rec­og­nized as an im­por­tant force in global gov­er­nance. China holds the BRICS pres­i­dency this year.

Eco­nomic ties

China and In­dia are two of the fastest- grow­ing ma­jor economies. Even dur­ing the stand­off, mul­ti­lat­eral eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion was not hin­dered.

On Au­gust 4, In­dia signed a $ 329 mil­lion agree­ment with the Chi­naini­ti­ated Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank ( AIIB) to fi­nance the Gu­jarat Ru­ral Roads Project. The project will re­port­edly im­prove ru­ral road con­nec­tiv­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity to 1,060 vil­lages in all 33 dis­tricts of Gu­jarat state, ben­e­fit­ing about 8 mil­lion peo­ple, the Eco­nomic Times re­ported.

“Al­though China and In­dia have poor strate­gic mu­tual trust, do­mes­tic eco­nomic de­mands re­quire co­op­er­a­tion. China needs In­dia’s mar­ket, whereas In­dia can see for it­self that it can­not rely on the West on eco­nomic mat­ters, such as in­fra­struc­ture, which is China’s strong point,” Lu Yang, an as­sis­tant re­searcher at Ts­inghua Univer­sity’s Belt and Road Strate­gic Research In­sti­tute, told the Global Times.

She noted that eco­nomic de­mands were one of the rea­sons that drove the two coun­tries to re­solve the Dok­lam stand­off.

In 2016, In­dia’s ex­ports to China dropped by 12.3 per­cent year- on- year to $ 11.75 bil­lion, while In­dia’s im­ports from China rose by 2 per­cent to $ 59.43 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion posted on the web­site of the Em­bassy of In­dia in China. In­dia’s trade deficit with China rose by 6.28 per­cent year- on- year to $ 47.68 bil­lion last year.

In the first half of this year, In­dia filed 12 cases against Chi­nese im­ports, spark­ing con­cern from China’s Min­istry of Com­merce.

Lu said that In­dia’s anti- dump­ing cases against China have ex­isted for many years and re­cently came un­der the spot­light due to the Dok­lam ten­sions.

“The cases were not nec­es­sar­ily driven by pop­ulist sen­ti­ment in In­dia. For ex­am­ple, China ex­ports many stat­ues of Hindu gods to In­dia, which was a blow to lo­cal In­dian ar­ti­sans. How­ever, In­dia’s un­der­de­vel­oped do­mes­tic in­dus­trial sys­tem re­al­ized that many Chi­nese prod­ucts are more com­pet­i­tive by na­ture,” Lu told the Global Times.

Lu’s opin­ion was echoed by Qian, who said a bet­ter so­lu­tion for the trade im­bal­ance and the anti- dump­ing cases would be for the two coun­tries to ad­just their trade struc­ture through ne­go­ti­a­tions.

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