Academic journal article Indian Foreign Affairs Journal

Resilient Sino-Indian Relationship: Assessing Prime Minister's 2013 Visit

Academic journal article Indian Foreign Affairs Journal

Resilient Sino-Indian Relationship: Assessing Prime Minister's 2013 Visit

Article excerpt

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited China on 22-23 October 2013. This was his fourth visit to China as the prime minister of India. During his first visit in January 2008, the two countries had signed a document titled, "Shared Vision for the 21st Century of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India"1. Among various issues that the Vision document mentioned, cooperation on the climate change issue and the international energy order was conspicuous. The two sides reiterated their readiness to join the international community in the efforts to address climate change. As regards the energy challenge, the document stated, "...the two sides pledge to promote bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy, consistent with their respective international commitments, which will contribute to energy security, and to dealing with risks associated with climate change". Yet another highlight of his visit was that he was extended the honour to address the scholars at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where he broached "the idea for an open inclusive economic architecture from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific".

The same year in October, Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had again gone to China to participate in the seventh summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting and held discussions with Chinese leaders as well as other participating world leaders, and shared his thoughts and ideas with regard to the world financial crises.

He visited China for the third time in April 2011 to participate in the BRICS summit held in Sanya, where South Africa was admitted as the fifth member of the multilateral grouping. It may be recalled that while earlier the issuance of the stapled visa to a senior Indian army officer from Jammu and Kashmir had cast a shadow on the bilateral relations, during his visit to Sanya, Beijing issued normal visas to the Indian journalists accompanying him. During the visit, the Indian Prime Minister and the Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to set up a joint mechanism on coordination and consultation on border affairs, to resume senior level defence exchanges and to initiate a high-level economic dialogue mechanism to address investment and market accesses' grievances by Indian companies particularly in IT and pharmaceutical sectors.

Thereafter, he also met (former) President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of multilateral meetings, such as the BRICS Summits and East Asia and ASEAN Summits.

He also played host to the Chinese President Hu Jintao in 2006 and Premier Wen Jiabao in 2005 and 2010. The visit of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in 2005 was indeed a milestone in the relationship between the two countries. During that visit, the joint statement signed between the two leaders explicitly referred to "Sikkim of the Republic of India". The two sides had also signed the historic "Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question,"2 which inter alia stated, "In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas".

After the leadership transition in China, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit in Durban in March 2013 and held wide ranging discussions. The Chinese president also elucidated his "five point" policy for strengthening bilateral relations. In an interview with an Indian news agency in Beijing, President Xi said that Sino- Indian ties are "one of the most important bilateral relationships". Articulating his five proposals, Xi said that first China and India should maintain strategic communication and keep the bilateral relations on the "right track". "Second, we should harness each other's comparative strengths and expand win-win cooperation in infrastructure, mutual investment and other areas"3, he added. The third point he mentioned was that India and China should strength cultural ties and constantly increase the mutually expanding friendship between the two countries. …

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