India, China, and the Future of Global Governance
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In order to push the transformation of the global governance structure, both India and China need to become partners in each other development. There have been positive changes in the bilateral security as well as business environments; however, given the potential of both there is still huge scope for cooperation. In order to tap this potential, both need to innovative developmental plans, policies, and initiate structural reforms in areas such as taxation, investment, finance, and labor. Macroeconomic policies should be in sync with social policies, which will ensure stability in society and public acceptance of government planning.
Some argue that emerging economies, with China playing a leading role, have challenged the post World War II order by establishing their own institutions such as NDB and AIIB. The fact remains, however, that the establishment of these institutions is an outcome of the limits of the Bretton Woods system, which has been on shaky ground since the 2008-09 financial crisis as well as the Euro crisis. The growth of new platforms is a reminder that if institutions like IMF, the World Bank, and Asian Development Bank continue to attach strings to developmental aids and loans, there is going to be a serious demand for alternative institutions. Especially when the global economic recovery is weak, the establishment of such institutions will promote infrastructural as well as social and economic development. Even if AIIB does not challenge the existing financial institutions, it would be seen as complementing the existing order.
Even though the paradigm shift in global governance has given India and China a bigger say as well as more responsibility in the evolving global system, there remains huge asymmetries in their power and economic structures vis-à-vis the developed economies. Rather than challenging the existing system, they need to bide their time, innovate new institutions, and become partners in each other’s development by docking their developmental strategies. It is natural to have differences between two big neighbors; nevertheless, these could be mitigated if a holistic view of the relationship is taken. Therefore, the momentum of high level visits and people-to-people exchanges needs to be heightened. Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s India visit in June, Modi’s participation in the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China in September, and President Xi Jinping’s participation in the 6th BRICS Summit in Goa, India in October this year all set the stage for a building a greater partnership between the two.
India Resets the Terms of Engagement With China
India and China continue to be at a loggerheads on a range of bilateral issues, as China shows no signs of budging on key issues that matter to India. Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar visited Beijing recently for the China-India Strategic Dialogue, but nothing much came out of his visit. Though Jaishankar suggested that he came with “a very strong sense of commitment to maintaining our relationship” and China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi underlined that he believed relations had seen “positive growth” in 2016, it was evident at the end of the dialogue that the two sides had failed in bridging their fundamental differences. There was no change in Beijing’s stance on blocking efforts to get Pakistan-based militant Maulana Masood Azhar listed as a terrorist under UN resolutions as well as Beijing’s ongoing opposition to India gaining entry to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. New Delhi has also been left asking Beijing to explain how it can take part in the Silk Road summit being held in China when the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir violates India’s sovereignty.
There was, however, some positive engagement on the unlikeliest of issues: Afghanistan. China reportedly expressed its admiration for India’s assistance efforts in Afghanistan and the two sides explored the possibility of joint development projects. This came against a backdrop of the growing threat the Islamic State (ISIS) poses to China. ISIS released a video last week of Chinese Uyghurs vowing to return home and “shed blood like rivers” even as the Chinese military displayed its might in a show of force in Xinjiang. A rattled China is calling for greater global cooperation against ISIS, which is also a reason why China has joined ranks with Russia in a bid to engage the Taliban in Afghanistan. But even in Afghanistan, there remain some major differences as the foreign secretary was careful to underscore. On the Taliban he suggested that “[China’s] characterization was that there were elements of Taliban which are very extreme. In their view there were also elements of Taliban that can work with [the] international community and Afghan government.”
As Beijing and New Delhi struggle to manage their complex relationship, India has become more nuanced in its approach in dealing with its most important neighbor. Even as it seeks to engage China on a range of issues despite differences, there is now a new realism in New Delhi in acknowledging and articulating these bilateral differences. The diffidence of the past has been replaced by a new self-confidence in asserting India’s vital interests vis-à-vis China. ..cont’dhypergrove likes this
"..... Two faces; one for love and another for the DMV". -- Between The Two, by poet Kenji Liu
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