China media set much store by NSA visit

In a shift from the harsh rhetoric of the past weeks, Chinese state media on Friday hoped that next week’s visit to China by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will help end the Doklam crisis and advance China-India ties.

“Despite concerns on possible military clashes, Chinese experts reached by the Global Times on Friday said they hoped that the upcoming visit of Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval would serve as an opportunity to ease the tension,” an article in the state-run tabloid said, quoting Ma Jiali, a research fellow from a Beijing-based think tank, China Reform Forum.

Mr. Ma is a veteran academic, who has been engaged in Track-2 diplomacy with India following former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Beijing in 1988.

Mr. Doval will participate in a two-day BRICS event starting on July 27.

Key visit

The NSA’s visit will be key to solving the current dispute and if the two sides failed to reach some agreement on the issue, the China-India ties would be severely damaged, Mr. Ma observed.

The daily prefaced the anticipation of Mr. Doval’s visit by slamming remarks by BJP leader R.K. Singh, who had reportedly opposed changing the status quo in Doklam, on grounds that it would endanger India's vital interests.


Better communication

But striking a remarkably conciliatory note ahead of Mr. Doval’s visit, a commentary by state-run Xinhua news agency underscored that both countries “need to enhance communication and nurture trust between them, first by recognising that the two are not born rivals and that harbouring ill will against each other is dangerous”.

The focus on enhancing communication echoes recent observations by former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon. In a recent interview with The Hindu, Mr. Menon stressed that India and China “since the ’80s been rubbing up against each other in the periphery we share”.

Mr. Menon added: “So we do need a new strategic dialogue to discuss how we should sort out problems.”

The Xinhua commentary pointed out that the recent border issue “shows a lack of strategic trust on the Indian side”.

Economic ties

However, it highlighted that as “the two countries are the world's biggest potential markets, each with over a billion people, they could develop complementary industries and cooperate in protecting common security”.

“Working together, China and India could build something unprecedentedly wonderful for not just themselves, but the whole region and the world.”

The write-up pointed out that the Asian continent would be a big loser if the China-Indian rivalry cements. “Obviously the two would pay a heavy price first of all. Even Japan, the U.S. ally who relies heavily on the Chinese market, would suffer an economic blow, which could turn into a domestic crisis.”

“Most economies, including those in the West, will find themselves negatively affected by an India-China war in a globalised and intertwined world today,” it observed.

“The only beneficiaries (of a conflict), sadly, will be opportunists, short-sighted nationalist politicians who don't really have the people's interests in heart. And the dream of an Asian century would become a puff of wind.”

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 6:52:17 PM |

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