During his China visit, Prime Minister Modi has been unusually forthright in speaking about the problems that hold back the India-China relationship. He probably feels that his desire to strengthen ties with China being so clear, he has earned the confidence of the Chinese leaders enough to be able to pinpoint India’s concerns about some aspects of China’s policies that we find difficult to digest. This is a new approach Modi has fashioned. Our earlier approach has been to soft pedal differences, avoid airing them in public and pretend they are more manageable than they actually are.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to have gone beyond the cautious approach usually advocated by the tightly-knit ‘China group’, an informal team of Sinologists in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in dealing with Beijing during his recently concluded China tour. In reminding the Chinese that there are “complex,” issues “holding back the relations,” Mr Modi was more than candid. He said in presence of Premier Li Keqiang: “I stressed the need for China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back from realizing full potential of our partnership.
The challenge facing India is the degree to which it should separate economic and security issues. China has huge financial resources and sectoral expertise that could be mobilised for India’s development. The CII has identified 18 sectors in which Chinese companies could invest and 5 areas in which we seek more openings for Indian products in the Chinese market. As against this, it should be noted that we have been discussing the opening of these 5 sectors with China for 10 years without success.
Bangladesh-India Land Boundary Agreement 1974 and Protocol thereunder of 2011 Some personal insights
The unanimity with which the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha finally, on May 6 and 7 respectively this year, passed the Bangladesh-India Land Boundary Agreement, 1974 and the Protocol thereunder of 2011 was indeed a historic, game-changing development in the tortuous post-Partition annals of this fragmented sub-continent. It finally put to rest some of the demons released by the Radcliffe Award that drew the lines across the map partitioning the historic geo-political configuration that used to be India until August 14, 1947.
While last year China created an avoidable controversy by sending its giant drilling rig HD-981 for drilling for oil within the EEZ of Vietnam to bolster its claims in South China Sea, of late Beijing has adopted innovative strategy of building islands of sand for supporting its maritime claims.
Paresh Baruah’s United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent and S S Khaplang’s National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) have joined hands with seven other militant organisations active in India’s north-east to form the United National Liberation Front of West South-east Asia. According to news reports, the meeting took place in the Sagaing region of Myanmar where Chinese intelligence personnel are known to be active.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Canada has been significant in in many ways. The first stand-alone visit by an Indian Prime Minister in over forty-two years seems to have rejuvenated a long neglected relationship. The visit generated business worth CAD $1.6 billion and saw the signing of sixteen commercial agreements between various Indian and Canadian Companies. While India and Canada have a longstanding bilateral relationship based on shared democratic values, pluralistic societies and strong people-to-people contacts, this is a partnership that has so far not realized its full capacity.
Forty-six billion dollars. A figure like this not only makes for a great headline but also creates a hype which deflects from the fine print and details that lie behind this number. Not surprisingly, the focus of attention – in Pakistan, in India and in other parts of the world, including the US – is the big number and how it will be a ‘game-changer’, how it will change the destiny of Pakistan, how it will change the strategic balance in the region and so on and so forth.
The policy shift being attempted by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in which he sought to relegate India to the fourth circle of priority and appease Pakistan has had mixed reception in the Indian strategic community. It ranges from disappointment over side-lining of India to a resigned acceptance of an emerging situation in which India's space may get constricted. The result is both a sort of detachment over what happens in Afghanistan and hope of seeing China and Pakistan getting steadily bogged down in the Afghan quagmire.