1. Reading the signals from the recently held 19th CPC National Congress, analysts worldwide said they are confident that the CPC will lead China to make more contributions to world peace and development. It is also commented that China "has a particularly important leadership role to play in global governance." The various areas in which the world has seen China significantly increase its contributions, including climate change, global health, international peacekeeping, global economic governance, energy security and reshaping multilateral institutions.
2. Observers in China and around the world are also convinced that a fair amount of centralised power now lies with President Xi Jinping. Hence the major policies and projects initiated by him shall be given a significant boost both at all levels. The implications are potentially significant. Among other things, they will affect India's economic prospects, border security ,neighbourhood relations, and global ambitions.
Implications for India.
3. Economy. On economy, China is an indispensable force to counter global economic sluggishness. Over the past five years, China has contributed more than 30 percent of global economic growth. China has committed to promoting an open economy and free trade. It is expected by analysts that China to continue to play a leading role in shaping the global system of trade integration, which will help spur global growth.
4. The Trade and Economic Relationship between India and China has seen a rapid growth in the last few years. In 2008, bilateral trade reached US$ 51.8 billion with China replacing the United States as India’s largest “Goods trading partner.” In 2016, India was the 7th largest export destination for Chinese products, and the 27th largest exporter to China. India-China trade in the first eight months of 2017 increased by 18.34% year-on-year to US$ 55.11 billion. India’s exports to China increased by 40.69% year-on-year to US$ 10.60 billion while India’s imports from China saw a year-on-year growth of 14.02 % to US$ 44.50 billion. The Indian trade deficit with China further increased by 7.64% year-on-year to US$ 33.90 billion. It is a cause of concern for GoI and with renewed leadership in China, serious efforts are likely to be made to settle the imbalance in the bilateral trade between both the nations.
5. Even after endorsement by the US, India is likely to keep opposing CPEC and the dream initiative BRI of China. India is also likely to keep sensitizing its neighbours on the BRI. Instead, India is likely to boost economic corridors in Africa and SE Asia with the help of Japan and US respectively.
4. Border Dispute. In the CPC, China has given out plans to achieve military mechanization by the year 2020 and to improve its strategic capabilities. The modernization of the national defence and armed forces have been planned to be completed by 2035 and shall be transformed into world-class military by the mid-21st century. India is one of the very few countries having disputed borders with China. Though China supposedly has bigger military challenges like SCS, Taiwan and US ( and allies) but use of force for settlement of border disput can’t be ruled out. The recent Doklam standoff is a testimony of such belief where finally diplomacy triumphed for stabilizing the situation. India needs to keep pace with the requisite military modernization, improvement in border infrastructure and focus in overall capability and capacity building to counter any military threat on all possible fronts. There is also a need to be more proactive in the IOR and building of strong strategic partnerships with trusted allies and neighbours keeping the national interest supreme.
5. Cultural Relations. India-China cultural exchanges date back to many centuries and there is some evidence that conceptual and linguistic exchanges existed in 1500-1000 B.C. between the Shang-Zhou civilization and the ancient Vedic civilization. In the current times, multiple cultural cooperations in terms of construction of buddist temples, exchange programmes between universities and co-production of movies have been carried out. Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in China and being promoted by India in a big way. These cultural activities are likely to continue in the similar manner.
6. Regional/Global Issues. Both India and China, together, championed some of the global issues like climate change and UN peace keeping. However on terrorism, China has been selective in a bid to support his close ally Pakistan. China is also keen in playing a decisive role in Afghanistan along with Russia, Iran and Pakistan which may turn out to be detrimental to India’s interests. BRI project ( included in the constitution) of China and claims in SCS clearly demonstrates the emerging assertiveness and this shall definitely get a boost with the renewed leadership. India needs to rebalance its role in the sub-regional/regional and global level with due care, assurance and assistance specially to its immediate neighbours. China also is blocking India’s likely entry into UNSC which is a cause of concern. India needs to keep pursuing above issues at all possible levels- bilateral, regional and global.
7. Politico- Diplomatic Engagement. With the new centralized and powerful dispensation in China, there is a need that India to engage them both at political and diplomatic level. Both India and China are emerging economies and biggest trading partners. Both the nations should harness its enormous potential for the development of not only their own country but also in the region and world at large. There is an urgent need to contribute positively in the global efforts to tackle terrorism in true sense. The politico- diplomatic cadres to work tirelessly to ensure growth and development in and around their respective countries.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of CENJOWS.