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Modi, Jaishankar know Beijing better than most, & that could help defuse tension with China

While PM Modi has made more visits to China than any other Indian politician, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar was India’s ambassador to Beijing.

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New Delhi: India-China relations have run into rough weather once again with tensions between the two militaries along the disputed border in Ladakh.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s familiarity and regular engagement with Beijing over the years is expected come handy as New Delhi seeks to calm the situation.

While Modi has visited China nine times since he was serving as the chief minister of Gujarat (four times as CM, five times as PM), and met President Xi Jinping several times in his last six years as PM, Jaishankar was India’s envoy to China and knows Beijing’s ways well.

Also read: India to seek ‘amicable solution’ with China amid military build-up on LAC

Modi’s relationship with China

Modi is known as an old China hand who has visited that country more than any Indian politician so far, and has even developed ties with the Communist Party of China.

As CM of Gujarat, Modi was invited as a guest of the CPC to visit China in November 2011, when he was “accorded unprecedented importance and highest level of protocol”, which was seen as “going beyond the established norms”. He was accompanied by a high-level business and official delegation, and the visit was called a “grand success”.

Jaishankar was India’s ambassador to China at the time.

As a result, in 2014, when Modi became PM, there were high expectations that he would give a new turn to the India-China relationship, and even “silence” the issues over the Line of Actual Control” once and for all.

Four months after Modi came to power in May 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first bilateral visit to India in September, and scenes of bonhomie between the two — sitting on a swing beside the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad — became memorable moments for both countries. However, there were tensions at the border between the countries at the time.

“Modi, no stranger to China, having visited multiple times as Gujarat chief minister — has repeatedly stated that he wants to do business with China (literally). Chinese policymakers, on their part, had welcomed his coming to power,” wrote Tanvi Madan, senior fellow at Brookings Institution, in a blog.

It is also true that under Prime Minister Modi, a new practice of so-called “informal” summits began, with reciprocation from China. The practice began after the 2017 Doklam stand-off, so that the leaders could have a better understanding of issues facing both countries.

Both informal summits so far, in Wuhan in 2018 and Mamallapuram (near Chennai) in 2019, helped Modi and Xi better understand each other in terms of what is Xi’s vision for the ‘Chinese dream’ or what is Modi’s ‘New India’, according to Gautam Bambawale, former Indian envoy to China, Pakistan and Bhutan.

Modi has visited China five times as PM, while President Xi has visited India three times since 2014. Modi last visited China in June 2018 to participate in the 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Also read: Stand-off with China in Ladakh is India’s worst border tension since Kargil in 1999

Jaishankar espoused ‘stable, mature’ relationship

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar has time and again indicated how India should follow the Chinese model of addressing “legacy” issues and then become a superpower.

“We are in that journey (like China) from a civilisational society to a modern state… The difference between us is that they look at a problem and start thinking how to solve the problems… That is a systematic mindset. Those who solve it quickly are being rewarded,” he had said, defending some of the Modi government’s controversial decisions, such as the scrapping of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Jaishankar had also said the relationship between India and China is “very stable” and “very mature”.

“Where we differ (with China), we have mechanisms and, in a way, a sort of ethos of handling it. And frankly, it’s not a relationship that has given cause for anxiety to the world for many, many years,” he had said during his address to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in September last year.

When Xi and Modi had their last informal summit last October in Chennai, both had vowed to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas and also continue working on additional confidence-building measures.

“There is a deep understanding of each other, that’s true. But do we trust each other is the main question. At the end of the day, our motivations don’t match and that’s why we see these border clashes taking place,” said Phunchok Stobdan, veteran diplomat and expert on India-China relations.

“This is the reason why China and Russia, despite having issues, could solve the border issue but China and India cannot. Now is the time to talk, and talk only on the boundary question,” he added.

Also read: In Ladakh, like in Doklam, China must learn to deal with the assertive Indian soldier on LAC


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  1. China, Pakistsn and India first the media of all 3 countries should stop spreading hatred.
    China and India have the expansionist policies. China hunger for more and more have them facing the global wrath. Mr Modi wants to eat up the whole of Kashmir.
    Pakistan sends terrorists into India.
    I being an Indian can only say, the Indians voted for Mr Modi to get rid of poverty in entire India and to become a bigger manufacturer then China.
    Abolition of Article 370, 35A, GST, banning of old notes, what difference did that it made.
    Kashmir issue I tlink was one of the biggest mistake done by the Modi Government what have been achieved, Killings of so many soldiers died for what purpose, okay Pakistanis interferes in Kashmir but what does the Indian Government do in Balochistan.
    Bangladesh became Independent I admire Pakistanis they took this and still have the guts to show there eyes to india and Same thing if this would have happened with India, well you can see it happening in Ladakh, Indian Army will do everything to stop the Chinese.
    No nation wants to talk, co -existense suppression of people by military power instead of making them free as freedom of MANKIND, HUMANS ITS A CASE OF NATURAL JUSTICE DIRECTLY TO TO THE FREEDOM FROM SUPPRESSION, OPPRESSION.
    China did a mistake related to Corona and now the world wants to fo another mistake by punishing China, do 2 wrongs will make one right,

    Baliochistan Ugihur, Kashmiris, how long can they be suppresed.
    True love only makes BRIDGES.

    We only teach our child Mr Modi want to make Ram Mandir on the dead bodies of thousands of people, its a national shame for india.

    Sorry friends I am sorry if I hurt anybody’s sentiments as so much of VOILENCE is happening its unbelievable, WHAT WE NEED IS PEACE AND PEACE AND PROVIDE BASIC AMENITIES TO OUR NATIONALS OF INDIAN SUB CONTINENT, THEN HATRED.

  2. In 62 indian solvers were making soaps.

    There was another small war, 5 years Later. Chola and nathula incidents.. .. china was decidedly defeated.

  3. India should do 1 thing Asian countries should go one side western countries they are enemy no. 1in my view India should hand with China if China and India will be A1 they will rule this earth without any fear western world and Israel they are not interested any country will be a supreme power but in my view Israel is the only one that will be a super power in this world 🗺

  4. Team India mission for peace and love one India one world 125crs plus wish we follow the voice Hindi chini bhai bhai and respect the line drawn. We’re late as we are making roads now when they are at corridor and we are playing as tools to big brother deals that want to settle all dispute trough India. Let be corona to trade or company leaving to export or import to Korean etc etc we have made a long way and are not same India with no arms and ammunition as last time we will not let anything happen this time for sure now as truth involved us all the print is right fight between two cats we as monkey can make a lot. Let be in words and deeds self reliant for make in India start up to skills and make hay till the sun shine. Hope we get back our dreams and export target and setting up tit for tat policy with China as they are one step already forward in each field but we can give them what we want the world to remember. Okay

  5. Modi govt has made India a laughing spectacle………everyone can see India is trying to find a face saving way out !!!!

  6. Nice way to give lollipop to your innocent public, now opponent is equally balanced with you that why your media is silence and not creating any hype, if it was Pakistan I bet all the top trends would be related with Indo-Pak then.
    Cowards Indians can’t fight with China.

  7. An overly optimistic, sanguine reading of a complex, troubled relationship, to count the number of meetings as a measure of stability and success. When the constitutional status of J & K was changed on 5th August, unclear if any thought was given to how this would have a bearing on relations with China. The reference to reclaiming Aksai Chin by laying down lives. There is the on – off approach to joining Quad. The issue of BRI. As far as two Asian giants jostling for space to grow is concerned, that stage has passed. The Chinese do not view India as a serious threat in any domain. A new modus vivendi is required. Beyond a point, the United States does not solve our problems with China.

  8. Good article…the question is why the delay in dealing with a hostile China. We have seen it happen in Arunachal Pradesh as well. With Ladakh the problem is more serious, we have Pakistan, Nepal and China all breathing down our neck in the northwestern border

  9. India cannot afford to disengage with China as it did with Pakistan. India is no match to China both economically and militarily. Imagine if the all weather friends of Chona and Pakistan together with Nepal decided to take 8ndia by its horns. We would be beaten black and blue from two fronts.

  10. China is behaving like a cornered animal. The way it is raking up problems everywhere is plainly irrational. But, then with Communists, everything is planned.

  11. We all fully know the capability and salute india. however please appraise more precisely US, France, Germany and Uk , israel, brazil (israel ally to china and india- but badly affected through coriona virus) and UAE of the recent approach of china interfering in internal matters and corona mismanagement causing distress to whole globe. we need some back up for sure from allys as this is a global matter of great concern affecting south sea pacific, north and west. Thank you. probably this is already done, but just in case. Cjhina needs to be put in place and arrogance nullified completely, sont deserve any help from global to china.

    • Mr Sundar Ramanathan: You pontificate:

      “Cjhina needs to be put in place and arrogance nullified completely”

      You think that China, that dominates Inida economically and politically will be able to put China in place? Forgotten the débäcle of 1962 when China trounced India ?

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