September 14, 2018
11 months

What is the issue?

Despite normalisation of ties post-Wuhan summit, Sino-Indian relations is still amid a mix of competition and cooperation.

How China hold an upper hand over India?

  • The One Belt One Road initiative can leverage china to import energy resources from central Asian countries and beyond.
  • “Silk Road Economic Belt,” under OBOR, will build land connectivity between China and Europe through the Central Asian countries.
  • China set up a military base in Djibouti to have a vigil over the Indian ocean region and is also increasing its presence in the Gulf region and in Africa.
  • Under “string of pearls” strategy it has already helped constructing ports and port facilities at Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Chittagong in Bangladesh, and Kyaukpyu in Myanmar.
  • Through this, it has been slowly and steadily trying to assert its presence in the Indian Ocean and beyond.
  • India reels under a huge trade deficit of $51.75 billion with China and it shows no signs of abating.

How India hold an upper hand over China?

  • With the revival of the Quadrilateral Initiative, Indian Navy can hold a commanding presence in the region between the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca.
  • With the location of Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands at the entrance of the Strait of Malacca, setting up of a tri-services command gives it an unmatched reach in the region.
  • The Gulf region is home to a huge Indian Diaspora and New Delhi has always had the upper hand in the West Asian region.
  • Yet, possible withdrawal of oil imports from Iran with US pressure might lead to a thaw in the bilateral relations.

 What are their competing interests?

  • India has not joined the OBOR initiative owing to concerns about violation of its sovereignty in Jammu and Kashmir in the case of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • The $46-billion CPEC aims to connect Gwadar on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast to Kashgar in the Xinjiang province in western China.
  • India is always concerned about China’s “all-weather friendship” with Pakistan, especially the concerns regarding the supply of nuclear and missile know-how to Pakistan.
  • China has also repeatedly blocked India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG).
  • The two countries had also been locked in a stalemate last year when Chinese forces started constructing a road in the Doklam region in Bhutan.

What should be done?

  • Although China announced slashing of tariffs on 28 medicines recently, the issue of entering the Chinese market after prolonged field trials and approvals persists.
  • Thus sector-specific concerns have to be addressed by both sides as and when as it arises.
  • Apart from reducing the huge trade deficit with China, India can develop a coherent policy to benefit from Chinese investment in the infrastructure sector.
  • It should use multilateral forums like the BRICS and AIIB to deal with China’s growing presence in its immediate neighbourhood.
  • Regarding the transgression of border troops from both sides, India needs to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal it effectively.
  • Thus, both sides need to develop out of competition with their differences not be allowed to become disputes.

Source: Business Line

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