#India & China, #2017/2016, #February 2017

An assertive China presents Prime Minister Modi with his most intractable foreign policy challenge, but there are indications that Beijing may be getting a little edgy.

China considered itself to be a rival of the US. In its world view, India was a regional player, at best the first among equals in South Asia.

David vs Goliath

In absolute terms, there is some merit in this argument. China’s $11.4-trillion economy, the world’s second largest, is five times India’s, which is world’s sixth largest, with a GDP of $2.3 trillion in 2016.

Last year, China’s per capita income, at $8,260, was five times the comparable figure of $1,718 for India. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of goods, its biggest trading nation and its military budget, at $131 billion is more than three times larger than India’s annual defence spending of $40 billion.

#India & China, #2017/2016, #February 2017

Asian equations, specially between the two giant economies of China and India will be in focus with the installation of Donald Trump as the 45th US president.

Trump’s belligerent ‘America First’ foreign and commercial policy stance, will in all likelihood, force China to curb its manufactured goods exports to the US, with whom it has a whopping and patently unsustainable trade surplus of nearly half a trillion dollars! It is unlikely that even US MNCs, which have huge export bases in China, could prevail upon Trump to not push back imports from China. This should push Chinese exporters to look for alternate markets during the next five to 10 years, during which China completes its planned switch to greater reliance on domestic consumption. India, with its growing and potentially large domestic markets and long track record of trade deficits, would offer a tempting opportunity for Chinese exporters looking to divert their exports and utilising their installed capacities.

#India & China, #2017/2016, #February 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has struck a delicate balance of engaging with China where there is mutual benefit and standing up to the South Asian neighbour where India’s strategic interests demand.

Dealing with China is arguably Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most daunting foreign policy challenge. That’s because it is difficult to fit the Middle Kingdom into any of the comfortable stereotypes that Indian diplomats have got used to.

#India & China, #2017/2016, #February 2017

A foreign policy observer believes it is time for India to move towards a more flexible approach towards China.

It has been suggested that New Delhi’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was an “extraordinary exercise in realpolitik”, that the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi “is not easily rattled by disapproving noises at home or abroad”. One analyst referring to China’s opposition put it rather colourfully that Beijing behaved “not as an enlightened power but as a strategic small-timer, with the petty, perfidious and short-termist mindset of a Pyongyang dictator or a Rawalpindi general”.

#India & China, #2017/2016, #February 2017
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Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China and the world’s third most populous city. While its history dates back over 3 millennia, Beijing is known as much for its modernity as its ancient tourist hotspots.

#2017/2016, #Yearend 2016, #World View

The underlying mood may be tetchy, but overall India-China relations covered some important ground in 2016.

In 2016, particularly following the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) plenary in Seoul in June, India-China relations became decidedly testy. Several reasons were attributed to this and it is possible all of them had a bearing on the outcome. Critics of the Indian government’s attempt to gain acceptance as a full member of the NSG blamed that motivation. They argued the bid was premature and grossly underestimated the Chinese ability to veto India’s entry, or Beijing’s ability to stand up to a request from Washington DC.

#2017/2016, #India-US, #Yearend 2016

India will adopt a wait and watch policy on the new US President-elect until there is greater clarity on issues of importance.

The world is still trying to come with a Donald Trump presidency in the US. Pick up any newspaper or switch on any current affairs channel anywhere in the world and the hot topic is what the chief executive-elect of the world’s most powerful country means for (depending on which city you are in) the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Climate Pact, ties with Russia, the war in Syria, the Pivot to the East, immigration and outsourcing.

#2017/2016, #Yearend 2016, #World View

Of all the foreign policy challenges facing the Modi government, the one on how to deal with China is, arguably, the most difficult and vexed problem.

China’s rise to the top league of the world’s leading nations has been accompanied by increasing muscle flexing towards it neighbours, with many of which it has unresolved border problems.

#2017/2016, #Yearend 2016, #World View

India has lots of ground to cover in the African continent with its own version of economic diplomacy and the New Year will mark another chapter in the India-Africa outreach programme.

The Modi government has made much headway in its outreach to Africa but India still has lots of ground to cover before it can match Beijing’s heft in that continent.