Interaction with International Department of Communist Party of China Central Committee (IDCPC)
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The Vivekananda International Foundation hosted a delegation from the International Department of CPC Central Committee (IDCPC) on 16 January 2020. The delegation was led by Dong Weihua, Deputy Director-General of Research Office of International Department of CPC, and Vice-Secretary-General of China Council for BRICS Think Tank Cooperation (CCBTC). The other members of the delegation were Zhang Yiji, Associate Researcher of China Council for BRICS Think Tank Cooperation (CCBTC), Suo Bugu, Staff of the China Council for BRICS Think Tank Cooperation (CCBTC) and Gao Yuanyuan, Interpreter of China Council for BRICS Think Tank Cooperation (CCBTC). Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF delivered the opening remarks. In his opening remarks, he commended the efforts made by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) as a multilateral organisation. The BRICS as an organisation has come a long way that is evident in the joint declaration of the organisation. At a time, when the international order is under stress, BRICS as a new-age institution can work towards bringing stability to the world order.

The interaction covered; India-China relations, China-Pakistan relations, Indo-Pacific and Quad and the role of BRICS

India-China Relations

The Chinese participants were interested to know about the state of India-China relations from an Indian perspective and the agenda of the third informal summit. The Indian side explicated that the second informal summit had set the tone and agenda of the India-China relations. It was evident from the deliverables of the summit that both sides have the intention of deepening relations especially as the two sides approach the 70th year of bilateral relations. It highlighted the fact that there is a desire at the highest level of leadership to improve the India-China relationship and enhancing people to people relations becomes an essential element. The bilateral relations have become wide-ranging. Consequently, there is a large number of visits taking place on both sides. Both countries acknowledge that there is a need to manage our differences, there is also a realisation that the India-China border has to be managed. The 22nd meeting of the Special Representative took place in December 2019, it showed some progress in the border talks. The imbalance in India-China trade relations is yet another irritant in the bilateral relationship. At the Mahabalipuram summit, it was decided to set up a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism to deepen economic cooperation.

China –Pakistan Relations

The Indian side highlighted that although India-China has informal summit format, the growing proximity between China and Pakistan has become a concern for India. Over a period of time, this relationship has started affecting the internal security of India. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is being constructed under the umbrella of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), passes through the sovereign territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, India was disappointed that China collaborated with Pakistan to organise a closed-door meeting on Kashmir at the UN. Recently, yet another failed attempt to organise a similar meeting was made. The issue of protecting Pakistan at every level does not go down well in India. Rather both sides should concentrate on the new challenges they are facing today. In the India-Pakistan, Simla Agreement, it was agreed that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Broadly, China has also agreed with that position but there appears to be a contradiction in Chinese stand. The India participants highlighted that Pakistan is in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Since China is the chairperson of FATF, it should take an objective view and put pressure on Pakistan to desist from providing funding for terrorism.

Indo Pacific and Quad

The Chinese side wanted to know the Indian interest in the Quad and the priority areas of discussions in the meetings. The Indian participants expounded on the position and stated that PM Modi has articulated the Indian stand in his speech at the Shangri La Dialogue of 2018. It was further reiterated by the Indian Foreign Minister. In essence, it is an inclusive concept for a rule based order and transparency. The Quad is essentially a quadrilateral relationship between India, Japan, US and Australia. It is just like any other multilateral relationship like the Russia-India-China (RIC) relationship. It is still an evolving institution. As far as Indian role is concerned it emphasises on the humanitarian assistance, disaster relief (HADR), and areas of cooperation that produce stability in the region. India is open to common denominators such as the blue economy, maritime economy and other HADR that would bring stability in the region. In 2004, the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean Region created great damage to the region. The four Quad countries got together and provided impromptu and timely relief. The Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean are the major arteries of the region. The Quad countries intend to look into issues that sustain a peaceful and open order.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)

The Chinese side were curious to know the importance of BRICS as an organisation and the agenda that should be discussed in the deliberations. The Indian side explained that despite scepticism by some countries, BRICS has emerged as a pole in the multilateral context. The biggest challenge before the BRICS countries is how we deal with an increasingly unstable world. Additionally, the BRICS countries should look at the bilateral relations within the organisation. On the issue of the Global Governance, the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) needs to be reformed. Yet, we find that there is hesitation in China to support India’s candidature. The most evident downsize of globalisation is inequality among different countries. The BRICS countries should try to address this unequal gains from globalisation among the states.

The bilateral relations have been stable. Both countries have no choice but to live with each other and get along. We cannot allow the problems to grow. The Confidence Building Measures (CBM’s) have to be made more visible to the public.

India-China relations are still at a rudimentary stage in SCO, BRICS and the interactions are very weak. New arrangements are required to deal with this situation.

The Chinese delegation agreed that the BRICS has embarked on the journey of the second decade and India and China can cooperate on concrete projects within the framework. The Chinese delegation appreciated the inputs from the Indian side. It was agreed that the trade and border issues are the most pressing issues in bilateral relations. Both sides should start taking cognisance of the issues for the steady growth of India-China relations.

Event Date 
January 16, 2020

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