20 May 2015
New Delhi, May 20 — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tour of northeast Asia was a geopolitical mood setter. Neither Indian nor Chinese officials expected major breakthroughs. The problems between New Delhi and Beijing were too difficult to be solved in a few days of back and forth. The real goal was to set an environment for future resolutions.
Modi used the visit to communicate the diplomatic equivalent of body language.
One, India avoided whining, wagging fingers or hectoring. Modi has a reputation in China for “toughness” so he can afford to be affable and non-threatening in his interactions. Modi’s e-visa gesture, waving aside the concerns of India’s security agencies, underlined his authority to China’s leadership.
Two, India put every single outstanding issue in the bilateral relationship on the table, in the manner of great powers. New Delhi even took the initiative of adding nuclear non-proliferation and space cooperation to the agenda. How willing the Chinese are to work through each of these issues over the years will be a constant test of Beijing’s intentions.
… With a $ 2 trillion GDP, India’s market is too large for Beijing to ignore. “Economics is the main driver, and adhesive if you like, binding both sides together,” says Hoo Tiang Boon of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 18/11/2015