Year in review National

MEA upbeat over China ties

In this April 28, 2018 picture released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province.   | Photo Credit: AP

Restoration of relations with China and a “balance” in ties with the neighbours are considered achievements of the government’s foreign policy in the year 2018, while the challenges ahead will include keeping the balance between the U.S.-Europe axis on the one hand and the Russia-China bloc on the other.

Sources said that according to a year-end review of the government’s policies, the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) by India ranked amongst its biggest successes, as it is the first multilateral organisation — with as many as 71 member countries already signed on — that is headquartered in India.

“In the neighbourhood, the restoration of balance in our relationship with Nepal, as well as the reconnection with the new leadership in the Maldives are positive outcomes. The fact that the new Bhutan Prime Minister is making his first visit to India within a month is a positive,” said a government source briefing journalists on foreign policy achievements, adding that India was not “the subject of domestic politics in the region, and the government has taken great care to ensure this in the recent political developments both in Sri Lanka and in Bangladesh.” However, no forward movement is expected with Pakistan, where talks over the Kartarpur corridor were described as a “cultural initiative” but not diplomacy.

Describing the Wuhan Summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as three subsequent meetings between the leaders this year as “unprecedented”, the official said that relations with China had returned to the “normal track” with progress made with high-level visits, the resumption of defence ties suspended last year after the Doklam standoff, restoration of peace at the India-China boundary and forward movement on trade where Beijing is actively considering Indian requests for more market access on agricultural and pharmaceutical products in particular.

While ties with the United States have seen an upward swing, the sources said some concern was felt about the recent developments over Afghanistan, with reports of a possible pullout of US troops and moves to engage the Taliban along with visits to Pakistan by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad being studied closely. Meanwhile, the government acknowledged that there was a relatively lower amount of contact at the level of PM Modi and US President Trump, who only met once in the year in a trilateral format with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but said that there had been must closer contacts between the Foreign, Defence and Commerce Ministers and their counterparts than before.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2020 2:51:42 AM |

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