In­dia fos­ters friendly mood with China be­fore sum­mit

Global Times - - Front Page - By Yang Sheng

Sino-In­dian ties have been re­cov­er­ing be­cause of the forth­com­ing sum­mit of the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SCO) in China, ex­perts said, but warned that if In­dia wants China to co­op­er­ate more deeply, it needs to show greater sin­cer­ity to strengthen mu­tual trust.

“In­dia has made some moves to re­pair bi­lat­eral ties with China, such as a ban on the Dalai Lama’s ac­tiv­ity in New Delhi last month. In­dia wants to fos­ter a friendly at­mos­phere be­fore the SCO Sum­mit,” Hu Zhiy­ong, a re­search fel­low at the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sciences’ In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, told the Global Times on Tues­day.

This year’s SCO Sum­mit will be held in Qing­dao, Shan­dong Prov­ince, in June. In­dia joined the SCO last year.

On Mon­day, Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokesper­son

Hua Chun­y­ing said, “This year, un­der the guid­ance of the two coun­tries’ lead­ers, re­la­tions be­tween China and In­dia have en­joyed a pos­i­tive mo­men­tum with close ex­changes and new co­op­er­a­tion at var­i­ous lev­els.”

Yang Jiechi, a mem­ber of the Po­lit­i­cal Bu­reau of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of the For­eign Af­fairs Com­mis­sion of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, held talks with In­dian Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Ajit Do­val on Fri­day. The two coun­tries also held the fifth meet­ing of the Chi­naIn­dia Strate­gic Eco­nomic Di­a­logue in Bei­jing on Satur­day.

The two sides like­wise held meet­ings on bor­der af­fairs and trans-bound­ary river work­ing mech­a­nisms, Hua said.

In­dia’s Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj is sched­uled to visit China this Satur­day and hold bi­lat­eral talks with her Chi­nese coun­ter­part Wang Yi. In­dia’s De­fense Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man will also visit China next week and hold di­a­logue with her coun­ter­part, Hin­dus­tan Times re­ported.

Last month, New Delhi or­dered In­dian of­fi­cials to stay away from ac­tiv­i­ties or­ga­nized by Dalai Lama’s group, and also banned a rally or­ga­nized by Dalai Lama’s group in New Delhi.

In­dia’s at­ti­tude to­ward a sim­i­lar is­sue is quite dif­fer­ent from last year, Lin Min­wang, a pro­fes­sor at Fu­dan Uni­ver­sity’s Cen­ter for South Asian Stud­ies, told the Global Times. “This is the re­sult of China’s pol­icy formed by both tough strug­gle and sin­cere co­op­er­a­tion with In­dia.”

When Bei­jing protested the Dalai Lama’s ac­tiv­i­ties in In­dia last year, New Delhi called it “in­ter­fer­ence in In­dia’s do­mes­tic af­fairs.” So New Delhi is ap­par­ently chang­ing its pol­icy to­ward China, Lin noted.

“If Sino-In­dian ties re­main in­tense or un­friendly like last year, it would be em­bar­rass­ing for its leader to visit Qing­dao, and the bi­lat­eral meet­ing with the Chi­nese leader will not ma­te­ri­al­ize, so New Delhi has to re­pair ties with China and show its sin­cer­ity,” Hu said.

Wait-and-see at­ti­tude

How­ever, Chi­nese ex­perts re­main cau­tious about the fur­ther im­prove­ment of bi­lat­eral ties. Lin said, “We don’t know if In­dia’s pol­icy to­ward China is a long-term strate­gic change or a tem­po­rary tac­ti­cal move.”

At the fifth meet­ing of the China-In­dia Strate­gic Eco­nomic Di­a­logue in Bei­jing, In­dia asked for China’s help to speed-up the Ban­ga­lore-Chen­nai train cor­ri­dor, In­dian me­dia Eco­nomic Times re­ported on Sun­day.

“In­dia is co­op­er­at­ing with Japan on its rail­way projects, but we con­sider the rail­way projects in In­dia risky since In­dia im­posed some ex­ces­sive de­mands on Japan, adding that the cost to up­grade its rail­way sys­tem is huge, so China will re­main cau­tious, and with­out enough po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust and dé­tente in the bor­der area, a deeper co­op­er­a­tion is un­likely to hap­pen,” Hu said.

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