China has stated its intent to substantially elevate its ties during the upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping to India, disallowing differences in perception on the border issue to cloud a growing relationship of significance.
Liu Jianchao, Assistant Foreign Minister, told visiting Indian journalists that President Xi’s visit next week would mark the beginning of “another era” in Sino-Indian ties, embedded with strong “strategic” resonance.
Chinese analysts are of the view that the United States’ Pivot to Asia — broadly seen as a China containment doctrine — has, in response, triggered greater possibilities for stronger partnerships between Beijing and some of the regional heavyweights, including Russia and India. “Imagine the contribution it would make to human civilisation if China and India began to work together for the development and progress of 2.5 billion people,” observed Mr. Liu. In response to a question, he said Beijing was open to exploring the possibility with Moscow of linking India with the $400 billion mega energy tie up that China had recently signed with Russia.
Hectic preparations are under way for the Chinese President’s visit, which will take him first to Ahmedabad, prior to his departure to New Delhi, on the same day. Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called on President Xi on Tuesday, after concluding a meeting on Monday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Xinhua quoted Mr. Wang as saying that China was ready to cooperate with India in handling the border issue. Mr. Doval stressed that it was time India and China sent a clear signal to the world that the phase of Sino-Indian animosity was behind them.
The Chinese have taken Mr. Modi’s high-profile visit to Japan in their stride, assured that it would not cast a shadow on Mr. Xi’s much anticipated “historic visit” to India. International cooperation, Mr. Liu observed, was not a “zero sum game,” adding that China was confident of competing with Tokyo for economic projects in India. India and China were also exploring joint forays in railways and setting up industrial parks in Maharashtra and Gujarat, with the Chinese investment exceeding $5 billion. Mr. Liu said China was looking at possible participation in upgrading India’s existing railway network, building railway stations and establishing a railway academy for training personnel.