Tag Archives: Special Representatives

Candour on the Red Carpet: Parsing the Sino-Indian Joint Statement

Published as जबिन टी. जेकब, ‘चीनी पीएम की यात्रा पर संतुलित रुख’, Business Bhaskar, 22 May 2013, p.4.

(Original in English follows below Hindi text)

देश के पश्चिमी इलाके में मौजूद दपसांग में चीनी ‘घुसपैठ’ की वजह से तीन सप्ताह का गतिरोध खत्म होने के दो सप्ताह बाद चीन के प्रधानमंत्री ली खचियांग भारत की पहली आधिकारिक यात्रा पर यहां पहुंचे। पिछले दिनों की गतिविधियों पर नजर रखने वालों के सामने यह साफ हो गया है कि भारत न तो लद्दाख की घटना की वजह से अपनी जगह से उखड़़ा और न ही ली खचियांग की पहली आधिकारिक यात्रा के दिए गए संकेत से बहुत अधिक प्रभावित दिखा। भारत ने वही किया जो एक परिपक्व, आत्मविश्वास से भरी ताकत करती है।

राजनीतिक और आर्थिक लिहाज से देखें तो चीन के लिए ग्लोबल और स्थानीय स्तर पर अपने कदमों का कोई आकलन करना तब तक मुश्किल है जब तक कि वह यह न जान ले कि भारत अपने हितों को किस तरह देखता है और इसके मुताबिक क्या कदम उठा सकता है। Continue reading Candour on the Red Carpet: Parsing the Sino-Indian Joint Statement

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China’s New Foreign Policy Team

The first annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) in China has just ended with the ‘election’ of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang as President and Premier respectively and approval of a new cabinet of ministers. Despite the NPC’s largely rubber-stamp role – candidates approved by Congress were pre-selected by the Chinese Communist Party – the first sitting of the NPC was important because among other things, it also announced the line-up of China’s new foreign policy team.

It is important to note that major foreign and security policy initiatives are the preserve not of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as part of the Chinese government but of the Communist Party. Continue reading China’s New Foreign Policy Team

15th Sino-Indian SR Talks: Moving Beyond the Boundary Dispute?

Originally published: Jabin T. Jacob, “China-India Special Representatives Talks: Moving Beyond the Boundary Dispute?RSIS Commentaries, No. 029/2012, 20 February 2012.

2012 marks a sensitive anniversary in Sino-Indian relations – 50 years of the conflict over their disputed boundary in 1962 that led to a quick and humiliating defeat for India. In half a century, however, relations between the two countries have been radically transformed in several areas – bilateral trade is booming and China and India share concerns over regional and global issues such as the situation in AfPak, energy security, climate change and the reform of international organizations.

And yet, these new interactions and common interests have created their own set of problems such as a mounting Indian trade deficit, for example, or the competition for energy resources. Meanwhile, the persistence of their boundary dispute further ensures that relations remain beset by mistrust and a sense of rivalry.

Changing Attitudes Continue reading 15th Sino-Indian SR Talks: Moving Beyond the Boundary Dispute?

2012 Kicks Off: No Visas and More Boundaries

In Sino-Indian relations, it would appear that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Or do they?

2012 was still young when another ‘visa issue’ cropped up between China and India. This time the Chinese refused a visa to an Indian Air Force officer from Arunachal Pradesh slated to leave for China as part of a 30-member Indian military delegation.  Contrary to expectations, however, the visit actually carried on with the delegation being halved in size and the IAF officer in question one of the 15 who were dropped. One can wonder about the wisdom of deliberately including an Arunachali in any delegation to China when the person is sure to run into a (great) wall. But perhaps this was, as is normal in the practice of statecraft, simply a testing of the waters? Continue reading 2012 Kicks Off: No Visas and More Boundaries

Buddhism in India’s Soft Power Quiver

Originally published: Jabin T. Jacob, “A tale of two coalitions,” DNA (Mumbai), 8 December 2011.

The Special Representatives talks on the Sino-Indian boundary dispute slated for the end of November were called off after the Chinese objected to a Buddhist gathering in India that would have hosted the Dalai Lama. The incident has been viewed in different lights among New Delhi’s strategic community – as a diplomatic gaffe signifying lack of coordination within the government, as standing up to China by refusing to pressure the organizers of the Buddhist gathering, and as having meekly surrendered to China by cancelling plans to allow the Indian President and Prime Minister to address the gathering. Continue reading Buddhism in India’s Soft Power Quiver

Of Strategic Dialogues and Talk-shops

Early May, even as the world was coming to grips with the killing of Osama bin Laden, the US was moving to deal with the other great challenger to its global interests, namely, China. The 3rd Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SED) between the two countries was held between 9 and 10 May in Beijing and touched upon a wide gamut of bilateral issues of concern. These ranged from human rights to China’s bias against foreign companies.

In addition to the usual heads of state summits between the two sides, the SED that involves cabinet ministers on both sides provides an opportunity for both sides to get down to the brass-tacks in the full glare of the media. The Dialogue indicates not just the gravity of the problems between them but also the seriousness of their bilateral dialogue. And the seriousness can only increase. Hitherto, the SED has performed the function more of maintaining status quo between them than of really ironing out differences. But the current SED suggests that the Obama administration has begun to reconsider its hitherto overly cautious China policy and is willing to take up confront Beijing on more sensitive matters. And coming in the wake of the bin Laden killing, the Chinese were no doubt aware that a reinvigorated US would also begun to turn its gaze back towards East Asia.

For India, the key point here is the manner of the Sino-US engagement. Continue reading Of Strategic Dialogues and Talk-shops