During his two
days diplomatic tour to India, Wang met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on
Sunday where both the leaders appreciated the idea of
injecting new momentum in their economic ties to explore untapped opportunities
to take the bilateral trade beyond existing USD 65 billion annually.
As per the Indian ministry of external affairs,
"There was a fairly long discussion on economic issues, trajectory of economic
ties as well as the hurdles being faced in pursuing enhanced economic
One of the major hurdles on the way of bilateral
trade relation between two countries is the ballooning trade deficit in favour
of China amounting to about USD 40 billion. India has consistently been raising
the issue of increasing trade deficit and seeking greater market access in China
to bridge the gap.
Statements from both the governments are, however,
silent on this specific issue. Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary in-charge of
China said, “Both the leaders agreed to expand economic ties.”
Apart from strengthening trade relationship, both
the sides agreed to properly handle the boundary question, which is vital for
India as it shares substantial length of boundary with China.
The two countries also agreed to speed up
connectivity, synchronize India's "Look East" policy with China's acceleration
of opening up to the west, and work hand in hand to advance cooperation
projects, such as Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.
The leaders also agreed to carry out commemorative
activities for the 60th anniversary of the declaration by China, India and
Myanmar of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence or Panchsheel, set by
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in order to inherit and spread
the spirit of the principles.
The first diplomatic initiative after Narendra
Modi took charge as the Prime Minister of India missed several issues.
The major among them was the issue of Tibet which
contains deep-rooted diplomatic differences between the two major Asian powers.
While China has been denouncing the legality of the Tibetan government in exile
and terms Dalai Lama a separatist, India has been a supporter of the Tibetan
issue and has allowed the government in exile to operate from the country.
In Particular, the ideological big brother of the
ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is a
strong supporter of the Tibetan cause.
The other long standing border issues are related
to the Himalayan region of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
Apart from border dispute, China’s relationship
with Pakistan has always been a concern for India. It’s the day China's foreign
minister, Wang Yi, arrived in New Delhi, there were news reported about China’s
building of military presence in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
“Even as Modi pursues closer economic ties with
China, there have been reminders of deep suspicion from India's security
establishment,” the New York Times said.
In spite of all these sensitive issues, India
still needs to maintain good relationship with China not only for its economic
growth but for many other reasons.
Increase in energy needs added with a shortfall in
domestic energy production, particularly hydrocarbons, has been alerting India
to look for energy-rich countries for imports.
Though India and Russia have launched a joint
study into the possibility of direct ground transportation of oil, experts
believe, the unstable political environment in Pakistan and Afghanistan is
considered to become obstacles on the way of importing hydrocarbons from either
Russia or even Central Asia.
In such a case, an oil pipeline proposal from
Russia to India through China would be an important step forward. The pipeline,
starting from the Russia's Altai Mountain region, would reach northern India
passing through China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
With China opening its door for Russian oil to
flow through its territory, this creates an opportunity for India to even pursue
its "Connect Central Asia" policy.
And, to realize the 2050
economic dream, based on a forecast made by Goldman Sachs in 2003, India
and China have to have good relation to become the first and third largest
economies by 2050. With other two BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) nations like
Brazil and Russia capturing the fifth and sixth spots, the club can form a
bigger economic entity if the two major Asian economies work together, for which
good relationship between two countries is most important.
So, the recent visit of Wang Yi to India can be
counted as a step forward in this regard which is expected to go further and
farther with more diplomatic visits and talks by leaders of both countries.