Dalai Lama at the Namami Brahmaputra River Festival in Assam: Mixed Signals for India-China Relations

Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam

His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced the Namami Brahmaputra River Festival[1] in Guwahati as chief guest, on 2 April 2017, as part of a 14-day visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and several state cabinet ministers received him at the banks of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati. The Assam Government and the New Delhi-based research think-tank India Foundation, jointly organized this particular event hosting the Dalai Lama.[2] This visit combined with the Dalai Lama’s subsequent itinerary covering Tawang and Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh lends itself to some questions about India’s China policy and in particular, the link between the boundary dispute and aspects of river-management and -sharing between India and China. Continue reading “Dalai Lama at the Namami Brahmaputra River Festival in Assam: Mixed Signals for India-China Relations”

The 8th BRICS Summit: India Hosts, China Gains

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

The 8th BRICS Summit in Goa in October this year, India came close on the heels of the G-20 Summit at Hangzhou in China and appears more or less to have had the same agenda except that it was smaller in size and therefore brought into sharper focus the contradictions within. The BRICS grouping remains an unbalanced one. China is in a league of its own in the BRICS – both in economic terms as well as increasingly in the political sphere. India is the only other member that has a strong economy – the other three economies are in various stages of stress. However, the grouping is also about taking political positions and here once again, China’s dominant weight has seen statements taking on anti-Western tilt. Continue reading “The 8th BRICS Summit: India Hosts, China Gains”

Time to Rethink India’s Approach on OBOR

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for their bilateral on the sidelines of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa two issues dominated. One was the Chinese resistance to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The other was China’s refusal to support UN action against terrorists living under state protection in its ally Pakistan, who were involved in the attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in 2001 and the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

It is unlikely that New Delhi will get anywhere with the Chinese on either issue. The reasons are rather simple. Continue reading “Time to Rethink India’s Approach on OBOR”

India’s Place in Chinese Foreign Policy: South Asia Bound

Jabin T. Jacob, Assistant Director and Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

Originally published as ‘Boxing It In: China’s Approach to India’, The Quint, 13 August 2016.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to New Delhi in mid-August was ostensibly in preparation for the G-20 summit in Hangzhou in September for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China and the BRICS Summit  in Goa for which Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit India in October. However, high-level meetings no longer impact matters significantly as they used to. Nor even do they help maintain matters on even keel if the incursions during Li Keqiang’s and Xi’s visits to India in 2013 and 2014 respectively or China’s objection to India’s NSG entry despite Modi’s personal intervention with Xi are anything to go by.

Continue reading “India’s Place in Chinese Foreign Policy: South Asia Bound”

Indian Parliamentarians in the 16th Lok Sabha on China: 7 July 2014 -11 May 2016

Rajesh Ghosh is a Research Intern at ICS and is pursuing Masters in Diplomacy, Law and Business at OP Jindal Global University, Sonepat

One way to understand Indian perspectives on China is to examine the nature of questions asked by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the respective answers by concerned Ministries. This piece highlights some critical issues related to China that Indian MPs have raised in the 16th Lok Sabha (LS) thus far. In total, there have been 81 China-related questions from 7 July 2014 to 11May 2016.  Out of these more than 70 per cent were directed to three ministries – Ministry External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and Ministry of Defence (MoD). In addition, this report will also examine the party and the geographical affiliations of the MPs raising questions and assess whether these connections have any bearing on the nature of questions asked.

Continue reading “Indian Parliamentarians in the 16th Lok Sabha on China: 7 July 2014 -11 May 2016”

Tripolar Dynamics

Alka Acharya, Director and Senior Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

Almost exactly eighteen years ago, in June 1998, after a summit meeting between the Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton of the US, a joint statement was issued in Beijing. It referred to the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in the preceding months and “the resulting increase in tension” as being “a source of deep and lasting concern to both of us”, which they jointly condemned. The statement went on to say that both the PRC and the US “agreed to continue to work closely together, within the P-5, the Security Council and with others….to prevent an accelerating nuclear and missile arms race in South Asia.” India had strongly dismissed this attempt by both to meddle in its affairs. Of course Vajpayee’s famously “leaked” letter to Clinton, had clearly placed the responsibility for India’s nuclear explosions at China’s door – both China’s advanced nuclear capabilities as also its support to Pakistan. India’s dance with the nuclear giants had begun, bringing the three countries into an intricate power-balancing act, with the shadow of the Sino-Pakistan nexus in the background.

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The Indian President In China: Snippets from Shanghai

Alka Acharya, Director, Institute of Chinese Studies is visiting Shanghai to participate in the Shanghai Forum 2016, 28-30 May 2016.

Had I been in Beijing during the Indian President’s visit to China from the 26-28th May – or even in Guangdong – the impact and sense of the visit could possibly have been different. As it happened, I landed in Shanghai the day the President reached Beijing from Guangdong – and I had the opportunity to assess the visit from China’s commercial capital. Reports on President Pranab Mukherjee’s China visit were routinely issued in the various bulletins – more regularly in the CCTV English channel – but they were quite pro forma in fact and not every hour – it did not appear to be billed very high. Scholars I interacted with at Fudan University or even those who had come from other parts of the world to attend the Shanghai Forum, were more interested in discussing the G-7 meeting that was taking place and what China thought of it. The newspapers too made a brief mention of the visit, noting that the two countries had pledged to maintain peace in the border areas and that the visit was expected to advance the relationship. The buzz was all around the G7 meeting in Tokyo, Obama’s visit to Hiroshima (that occupied huge media attention); the statement on the South China Seas made from the G7 platform and the upcoming G-20 summit in Hangzhou.

Continue reading “The Indian President In China: Snippets from Shanghai”