Interaction with the Delegation from China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), China
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) hosted Dr Lou Chunhao, Deputy Director Institute of South Asian Studies and Dr Zhang Shujian from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). The opening remarks were delivered by Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney. In his remarks, he conveyed the Indian sensitives on the Chinese position on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In the meeting, discussions were held on Chinese Stance on Article 370, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) and the agenda for the upcoming informal Summit in Varanasi. The issues of discussion are described hereafter.

Chinese Stance on Article 370

The Indian side expressed its disappointment on the Chinese support to the Pakistan’s proposal to raise the issue in the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) and the briefing given to the press by the Chinese Ambassador at the United Nation following the closed-door discussion. During his visit to Beijing, the External Affair Minister of India had conveyed that despite the abrogation of Article 370, the Indian posture on the Line of Actual Control between India and China remains unaffected. Yet the response from the Chinese side has caused deep concern and made the relationship difficult. The Chinese side responded that the issue of Aksai China and any development in the Ladakh region was of concern to China. Hence the reaction from the Chinese side was sharp.

Belt and Road Initiative

The Chinese delegates were keen to know if India is rethinking its stance on joining Belt and Road Initiative. They said that some in India were in favour of joining the BRI. The Indian participants clarified that the Indian position stands unchanged. Any project that violates the territorial sovereignty of the country cannot be considered at any point of time. Moreover, it is a unilateral project launched without any consultations with India. Hence, it is unlikely that India is going to change its stance on the initiative.

Bangladesh China India and Myanmar (BCIM)

The Chinese delegation was curious to know the Indian position on the status of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor. The Indian side clarified that there was ambiguity about the status of the project from the Chinese side. The BCIM was missing from the list of projects under the BRI after the second Belt and Road Forum, indicating that it is outside the umbrella of BRI, but soon the spokesperson indicated that the project was still part of the initiative. Moreover, not enough study on the geography, political, situation, markets, and economic gains from the corridor for all the participating countries has been made.

Agenda for the Informal Summit

The delegation was hopeful that during the upcoming informal meeting the prospect of India and China plus cooperation can be taken to the next level. The Chinese experts said that the Varanasi Summit will raise the ‘Wuhan Spirit’ to new heights. The Indian side mentioned that India-China plus is already successful in some of the areas. For the informal summit, the Indian side recommended that there should be some positive movement on delineating the border.

In conclusion, both sides agreed that the upcoming meeting in Varanasi will be crucial in determining the trajectory of the India-China relations.

Event Date 
August 21, 2019

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