NSA Ajit Doval will be traveling to China for a strategic dialogue with his counterpart Yang Jiechi. This will be the first such dialogue between India and China in over a year. The two sides were scheduled to hold talks in January but Doval cancelled his visit to Beijing in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack.
The long standing issue territorial dispute will be the centre of discussions. India and China have not had a dedicated boundary discussion for a long time now. This is probably due to the fact that after the border incursion during Xi Jinping’s visit in September 2014, there has been little activity reported from the border areas. There was a second incursion in the Depsang area in Ladakh in the spring of 2015 as Indian and Chinese armies faced off, but it was resolved fairly quietly.
Both china and India have deep interests in the region, some are economic some are military; the interests that are military are also tactical in nature. Economic interest needs to take front seat in resolving issues of mutual interest. Also India and china have common interest in so many areas like climate change; ending terror, etc were we can find common ground to resolve our issues.
In the meantime, China has announced a $46 billion economic corridor through Pakistan and a section of territory claimed by India as a flagship project in the One Belt One Road initiative. It has taken its place in the Taliban reconciliation talks as part of the Quad. This needs to be taken with prudence while having discussion as china will not do anything against its interests in the region where it has huge investments.
It is also necessary to understand the deep strategic underpinning that china attaches with Pakistan. Given the huge investment that china has in Pakistan, it is open secret that china covertly supports activities with Pakistan that is against the interests of India. It is in this backdrop that India needs to assert her stand so as to evolve a consensus to resolve the outstanding issues like demarcating the boundary and ending territorial dispute between two countries.
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