India, China hold strategic dialogue

Ahead of the dialogue, India's foreign secretary held discussions with China’s Foreign Minister.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

India and China on Wednesday conducted a strategic dialogue to strengthen their bilateral relations. This is the first ever strategic dialogue between the two nations nearly 67 years after they established diplomatic relations, and the first ‘strategic dialogue meet’ after 30 bilateral dialogues that happened over the years. Many have labelled this visit by the Indian foreign secretary as a significant one albeit not as historic as Nehru’s visit in 1954 or Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1988 nor the recent visit by PM Modi in 2015, but significantly important and strategic enough for the world to sit up and notice.

The foremost agenda of the foreign secretary is to try and understand China’s reluctance to support India’s membership to the NSG and its ‘technical hold’ over refusal to tag the Chief of JeM, Masood Azhar as a terrorist in the United Nations. As many foreign affairs analysts have pointed out, Jaishankar must include in his talks the issue of the un-demarcated Indo-China border, China building a dam on the Brahmaputra river and most importantly its unnerving presence in the Indian Ocean Region.

While news agencies have reported that the foreign secretary has held discussions with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and as the latest reports trickled in the strategic dialogue between both the countries is underway with Zhang Yesui, China's Executive Vice Foreign Minister representing the Chinese side. 

China’s Foreign Minister, while welcoming Jaishankar, said that India and China are two important developing economies and emerging markets in the world, therefore the discussions would create a good base for the success of the strategic dialogue and also added that China attaches high importance to the reconstituted dialogue. He said, “I am certain by raising the level of this strategic dialogue the two sides will be able to enhance their strategic communication, reduce misunderstanding and build more trust and deepen our strategic cooperation. In this way, we can be able to better tap the potential of bilateral ties and meet our responsibilities for stability in the region.”

Reacting to the Chinese Foreign Minister’s remarks, Jaishankar said that this is the first time that an upgraded strategic dialogue was taking place between both the countries.  This indicates that the relationship between the two nations has moved well beyond bilateral manifestations.

In his opening address at the strategic dialogue, Jaishankar said, “We have rightly surpassed the bilateral manifestations of our relations. Now what happens between the two nations has great global as well as regional significance.”

“As the assessment shows, bilateral relations of our countries have really gained a steady momentum in the last many years. The leadership-level meetings between the two sides have been regularly taking place and the economic engagement is increasing. There is cooperation on several international issues and the border areas are maintaining tranquillity and peace,” he said. 

In his address, Zhang said he expected the two sides to discuss the entire range of issues which are vital to the two countries.

Various top officials from both the countries, including those who are in-charge of nuclear disarmament, were present at the dialogue. Indications are rife that India’s bid to gain entry into NSG and other prominent issues are likely to take precedence during the discussions.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Feb 22, 2017 12:00 IST