Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Indo-China Ties

Indo-China Ties

  • The year 2010 saw India and China celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

  • The six decades of the India-China relationship behind us have a record that is chequered.

  • The awareness of historical contact between the two peoples of India and China created the basis for our well-intentioned attempt in the 1950s to build a new type of relationship based on Panchasheela, or the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

  • Today, there are both challenges that the relationship confronts us with and also opportunities. For India, the situation is complex since China is not only our largest neighbour but also because China is today a major power in the world both from the traditional geo-political point of view and the more current geo-economic point of view.

  • China's rapid economic growth over the last three decades has been spectacular and riveting. It is now the second largest economy in the world with a GDP of roughly $5.5 trillion. China has begun to deal in the currency of global power, and its economic success is impacting its foreign, defence and security policies.

  • However, the view that India and China are rivals is an over-generalisation and oversimplification of a complex relationship which encompasses so many diverse issues.

  • Firstly, we have a border related disputes. But we have in place a well organised set of confidence building measures to ensure peace and tranquillity on the border.

  • Another issue of concern is the management of trans-border rivers. Many of the rivers nourishing the plains of Northern India and also areas in North-east India arise in the highlands of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and are a source of livelihood and sustenance for millions of our people. There are reports of China damming trans-border rivers and India has sought assurances from China that it will take no action to negatively affect the flow of the rivers into India, so that our rights as the lower riparian are not adversely affected.

  • China has assured us that the projects on the Bramhaputra are run-of-the-river projects and are not meant for storing or diverting water.

  • There is also the question of the China-Pakistan relationship. India has genuine concerns regarding some aspects of the China-Pakistan relationship particularly when it comes to China's role in PoK, China's J&K policy and the Sino-Pak security and nuclear relationship. The need for mutual sensitivity to each other's concerns cannot be denied. The issue of giving stapled visas to Indian nationals from the state of Jammu and Kashmir arises in a similar context. We believe that the India-China relationship will grow even stronger as China shows more sensitivity on core issues that impinge on our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

  • There is also an information gap that keeps our peoples from understanding each other better and which we need to bridge by concerted public diplomacy from both sides. There is much work to be done to improve perceptions within the media in both countries.

  • However, there is common ground between India and China on combating terrorism and extremism, enhancing maritime security, and on the need for a peaceful environment to permit the domestic economic growth and development of the two countries.

  • Our consultations within the G − 20 have shown the way in this regard. Similarly, we have partnered well in BASIC (for the climate change negotiations), and in the BRIC grouping of Brazil, India, Russia and China. We hope such cooperation will also be strengthened on the important issue of UN Reform and that we will be able to build common ground on the issue relating to the expansion of the Security Council and India's interest in permanent membership.

  • Our trade with China is growing faster than that with any other country and China is our largest trading partner in goods with trade likely to exceed US$60 billion this year.

  • As India and China continue to pursue their interests, and so long as their overwhelming preoccupation remains their domestic transformation, and both understand that this goal requires a peaceful periphery, the elements of competition in the bilateral relationship can be managed and the elements of congruence can be built upon:

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India