(This article forms a part of the View From India newsletter curated by The Hindu’s foreign affairs experts. To get the newsletter in your inbox every Monday, subscribe here.)
The devastating floods in Pakistan came as a stark reminder of the climate emergency facing the world. Pakistan’s current plight is not distant to us, either by geography or reality, as the region repeatedly grapples with uncharacteristically heavy rains.
Pakistan, currently amid a severe economic downturn, has appealed to the international community for an “immense humanitarian response” to unprecedented flooding that has left at least 1,265 people dead, while affecting some 33 million people. The plight of Pakistan has prompted even foes to respond.
In a rare outreach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended “heartfelt condolences” to victims of the floods in Pakistan, saying he was saddened by the situation. His message came on the day Pakistan’s Finance Minister said he could consider reopening trade routes with India, Suhasini Haidar reports.
Terming Mr. Modi’s message a “welcome gesture”, The Hindu editorial took a position that India cannot pride itself as being the “first responder” in the neighbourhood if it fails to see the suffering right at its land boundary with Pakistan. At the same time, it would be churlish and short-sighted of Pakistan to reject an opportunity to lift the trade ban with India that has only hurt its own interests, and to give up a source of affordable supplies at a time of such calamity. Mr. Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif are expected to attend the SCO summit due to be held at Samarkand in Uzbekistan on September 15-16. It remains to be seen if the leaders turn this crisis into an opportunity to, at the very least, mitigate the catastrophe at hand, even if the chance of a lasting dialogue appears remote.
Possible Modi-Xi meet?
Exploring a potential opportunity for India and China to address persisting tensions, the countries are weighing a first meeting between PM Modi and President Xi Jinping in almost three years, even as a chill remains in relations with an as-yet-unresolved border crisis and increasingly sharp recent exchanges between the two countries, Suhasini Haidar and Ananth Krishnan report.
The move coincides with India showing greater willingness to do more with Taiwan, particularly in the economic realm, amid a growing risk of escalation of the tension between Taiwan and China. It comes even as New Delhi prepares to host an official-level meeting of the Quad grouping with the U.S., Japan and Australia next week.
Meanwhile China’s ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) is preparing for its national congress next month, that is expected to mark the beginning of an unprecedented third term for President Xi, Ananth Krishnan reports.
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- Read this piece by Suhasini Haider on the German envoy saying China’s claims on Arunachal being outrageous.
Change at the helm
The U.K. will get a new Prime Minister on Tuesday, with the Conservative Party leadership contest between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak having concluded on Friday. Ms Truss is expected to win a majority of the votes from over 1,60,000 Conservative members, unless the polls and bookmakers have consistently been off the mark, Sriram Lakshman reports.