Categories
Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism

Chinese Provinces and Nepal: The Case of Tibet Autonomous Region

Originally published on the ICS Delhi Blog on 29 April 2016.

The Chinese government might not be able to play a prominent role in Nepal for now, given both Indian dominance and sensitivities. However, China appears to be using its provinces such as Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan to exercise influence in a different, apparently less threatening way.

The major objective of China’s diplomatic strategy in Nepal has been to ensure that Kathmandu blocked the flow of Tibetan refugees into its territory. In November 2014, the frontier police force in Tibet and the armed police and fire department of Nepal conducted a joint exercise and during his visit to Nepal the following month, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi also laid the foundation stone for a police academy gifted to Nepal to train officers of its Armed Police Force that guards districts bordering Tibet. The number of Tibetans entering Nepal from China, it must be noted, has fallen from about 2,500 in 2008 to just about 200 in 2014.[1]

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Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism

Expectations from the Modi Visit to China

This article was originally published as Jabin T. Jacob, ‘Is it wise for India to stay out of Silk Road initiative?’, South Asia Monitor, 12 May 2015, before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China.

Of the predictions that came true, more sister-province/state and sister-city agreements, announcement of a new visa arrangement, an India-China Think-tank Forum.

 

It is now slowly but increasingly evident to Indians across the board that China, their largest neighbour, will likely be their most important foreign policy challenge for decades to come. Gradually but surely, China will come to occupy regular attention in India across a range of fields from geopolitics to scientific research and development to political and ideological creativity. In this context, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit to China and the media coverage it will generate will be an important milestone in how Indians perceive and understand China.

Possible Outcomes

Modi has gained a reputation for extreme secrecy and last minute ‘deals’ during visits abroad. China, however, will not be such an easy place to do this. Unless, of course, CPC General Secretary and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, is willing to play ball. This however, is unlikely, given the Chinese self-image of being in a league of just two, contending with the US for regional and global domination while everybody else is for all practical purposes, and despite any rhetoric to the contrary, slotted into lower tiers of importance.

What then are the possible agreements that the two sides might reach during the Modi visit?

Categories
Comparative Politics Political Parties Sub-nationalism

Taiwan’s 9-in-1 Election Results: Warning for the KMT-CPC Relationship

The major losses suffered by Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in the nine-in-one local elections – called so because there were elections held to nine levels of local government – at the end of November are the result of both internal and external reasons. With elections to the Taiwanese presidency and to the Legislative Yuan due in 2016, China will have to both rethink the scope and recalibrate the pace of its embrace of the island that has held out against it since 1949.

 

Background

Over the years, the Communist Party of China (CPC)-ruled mainland has adopted a variety of approaches to bring Taiwan – dubbed a ‘renegade province’ – around. While for most of the Maoist and Dengist eras, there were really no serious attempts at coercion, rapprochement with the US in 1971 did bring about the ‘one China’ policy that put the Republic of China on Taiwan on very shaky footing as far as its international standing was concerned.

Categories
Comparative Politics Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism

Reclaiming India’s Foreign Policy for its Citizens

This is the modified version of a Valedictory Address delivered at a conference titled, Citizen’s Foreign Policy at the Department of Political Science, Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University on 11 November 2014

It is an important distinction to make between citizen’s foreign policy and people’s foreign policy. While the latter is generally used in the sense of ensuring that foreign policy is not just a matter of high politics but is also one of wider democratic consideration of the interests of ordinary people as well, it is also in this sense liable to be misused or misinterpreted. Just as democracy by the numbers alone does not convey the full import of the values and spirit of democracy, so also simple reference to the ‘people’ as a way of legitimizing a foreign policy choice has its drawbacks. The reference to a citizen however comes with clear implications.

Categories
Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

The Modi-Xi Tango: Missteps and Fluffed Lines?

Originally published as Jabin T. Jacob, ‘Xi Jinping visit: High on expectations, low on delivery’, Hindustan Times, 22 September 2014, p. 12.

Nobody expected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to wrap their arms around each other in a bear hug. A rightwing nationalist BJP-led government in India and a Communist Party of China that relies heavily on nationalism as a crutch for continued legitimacy at home were not expected to have it easy at the first formal summit of their leaders, especially on political and strategic issues.

Expectations however, were sky-high on the economic front.

Categories
Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism

Assessing the Xi Visit: After the Optics, A Reality Check

Published as जबिन टी. जैकब, ‘नाजुक रिश्तों की नई दिशा’, Dainik Jagran (New Delhi), 20 September 2014, p. 10

Original text in English follows below.

चीन के राष्ट्रपति शी चिनफिंग का तीन दिवसीय भारत दौरा संपन्न होगा। इसे कई कारणों से खासी ख्याति मिली। हालांकि ठोस नतीजों की बात करें तो इससे कोई बहुत महत्वपूर्ण दिशा उभरती दिखाई नहीं दी। सालों से चीन ने जिन चीजों के लिए प्रसिद्धि हासिल की है वे हैं इसकी परियोजनाओं का वृहद आकार, तीव्र महत्वाकांक्षाएं और इन्हें पूरा करने की तेज रफ्तार। इन तमाम मुद्दों पर चीन के राष्ट्रपति का भारत दौरा खरा नहीं उतरता।

शी चिनफिंग और नरेंद्र मोदी, दोनों नेता अपने-अपने देश में मजबूत माने जाते हैं और इसलिए लंबे समय से लंबित सीमा विवाद का राजनीतिक हल निकालने की स्थिति में नजर आते हैं। हालांकि विश्लेषकों ने चीन के राष्ट्रपति की इस यात्रा के दौरान सीमा विवाद पर किसी बड़ी सफलता की उम्मीद नहीं की थी। हालांकि इस दौरे से आर्थिक मोर्चे पर बड़ी उम्मीदें थीं, क्योंकि यात्रा से पहले मुंबई में चीनी महावाणिज्य दूत ने चीन द्वारा भारत में सौ अरब डॉलर के निवेश की उम्मीद जताई थी।

Categories
Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

Xi visits India: Great Expectations

co-authored with Alka Acharya and originally published as , ‘Modi, Xi and Great Expectations’, Rediff.com, 17 September 2014.

Symbolism is often as important as the essentials in conveying the magnitude of an event – especially when the eyes of the world are focused on it. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to receive the Chinese President Xi Jinping in Ahmedabad and establish a personal rapport in a culturally resonant setting with brisk economic undertones, before moving on to the capital, New Delhi, has certainly added the element which elevates the tenor and adds a dash of élan to this meeting between two of the most important leaders of Asia today. It will likely set the template for the relations between the two countries, at least for the next five years. The statements and body language of both these leaders will thus be closely scrutinized.

Categories
Comparative Politics Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism

Sino-Indian Sub-National Economic Ties: Changing the Game

With a still young political leadership in both China and India, economic ties will be a major plank of the India-China relationship. Even as the burgeoning trade deficit for India is a major bilateral problem, the two countries are also trying to lay fresh sinews in their relationship through Chinese-assisted infrastructure development in India. What is also important to note that is that much of these economic interactions are or will be increasingly negotiated at the sub-national level.

Categories
Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism

People-to-People Connectivity in the BCIM Region: Principles and Practicalities

Original presentation titled, ‘People-to-People Connectivity’, Stakeholders’ Consultative Workshop on the BCIM Economic Corridor, organized by the Institute of Chinese Studies with the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKAIAS) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Kolkata, 2 May 2014.

Outline

A. What are your governing values/principles in which you see people-to-people connectivity?

B. What are you trying to achieve?

C. What are you trying to avoid?

D. What are the practical issues involved in implementing these principles and achieving these objectives?