India’s adjustment of China policy a good start



Sino-Indian relations have presented a rosy development scenario recently, with new achievements in various areas thanks to the concerted effort of both nations. It seems that a new day has dawned for the two countries which were once at odds.

With regard to their ties in the past three years, many Indian media outlets and scholars believe New Delhi has gone astray with its China policy. Following a misjudgment of China's development and the international landscape, the Indian government chose to confront China and consequently damaged India's own development.

The turn in China-India relations came as a result of common endeavor. The political consensus their high-level officials achieved at the BRICS summit last September in East China's Xiamen pointed the direction for the development of bilateral ties. Since then, several Chinese seasoned diplomats have visited India on bilateral and multilateral occasions to dispel doubts and build trust.

Vijay Keshav Gokhale embarked on his China trip in February shortly after assuming office as India's foreign secretary, a full demonstration that New Delhi attaches great importance to its ties with Beijing. Gokhale's visit indicated that India is resolute in adapting its China policy and getting over the past brawls to open up a new chapter in bilateral ties. The two sides have launched frequent exchanges in different arenas, trying to resume their friendship and also explore new cooperation areas.

From India's perspective, its ties with China have experienced twists and turns over the past three years and fallen to a low ebb over the Doklam standoff. The Indian government has achieved an important strategic consensus, making institutional preparations to recover its ties with China.

Maintaining border peace and stability is a prerequisite for Sino-Indian relations. The border dispute is a leftover from history that is unlikely to be solved in a short time. That the Doklam deadlock was peacefully handled through diplomatic means manifested the political wisdom of both sides and the importance of promoting trust and managing differences.

The rise of China actually constitutes an opportunity for India instead of posing a threat. China's GDP is nearly five times that of India, so the two are at different levels of economic development. New Delhi can hardly expect to exert powerful leverage against China. The primary priority for India is mulling over how to take a ride on China's development and realize its dream of national rejuvenation.

Beijing and New Delhi are partners, not rivals. As the world's two largest developing countries who are also members of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, their relations go far beyond a bilateral limitation but will wield influence upon the region and the world at large. The two nations hold similar views on globalization, global governance, free trade and climate change. Their convergences amount to a lot more than their divergences. The Asian century will not come until China and India join hands.

Of course we must note that there are some anti-China forces in India. They view China as a rival to hinder India's rise, suggest that India join the US and Japan to counter China's development and accuse the Indian government of capitulating to China. We shall stay cautious and prevent a resurgence of the anti-China sentiment given these negative forces.

Nonetheless, India's adjustment of its China policy is a return to its principle of strategic autonomy and the non-alignment policy. The change serves as the start of getting back on the healthy development track of its ties with China. Beijing-New Delhi ties are heading for more mature and stable development.