India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw


Reuters Staff June 9, 2018

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – China and India on Saturday settled a dispute over the flood-prone Brahmaputra river that flows from Tibet to Bangladesh in a sign of growing cooperation between them.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed the agreement as they began the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

“Our talks will add further vigour to the India-China friendship,” Modi said on Twitter, as the two countries try to reset troubled ties months after a border standoff.

The SCO, launched in 2001 mainly to combat radical Islam and other security concerns across Central Asia, added traditional rivals India and Pakistan as members last year.

Under two deals signed on the sidelines of the SCO summit on Saturday, China will share hydrological data on the Brahmaputra river and amend certain requirements on Indian exports of rice other than the premium Basmati variety to China, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, Raveesh Kumar, said on Twitter.

India said last year that China had not stuck to an agreement to share hydrological data, or scientific information on the movement, distribution and quality of water for the Brahmaputra river. China had cited “technological” reasons.

New Delhi has also been concerned about the rising trade deficit with China, and has sought greater access to the world’s second-largest economy for products such as rice, rapeseed, soybeans and sugar.

India’s trade gap with China has widened to $51 billion, a nine-fold increase over the past decade.

The rice deal should help India finally crack the market in China, the world’s biggest buyer of the commodity, traders said.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that China will buy 6.4 million tonnes of rice in 2018, while India will export a total of 11.9 million tonnes.

“Despite competitive prices, India was unable to export rice to China due to their phytosanitary norms,” said a New Delhi based dealer with a global trading firm, referring to food standards as well as animal and plant hygiene.

“As the norms are going to change, India can easily export more than 1 million tonnes rice every year to China.”

Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Alexander Smith

Source: Reuters “India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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India Unwilling to Confront China for US, US Has to Do So Itself


Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a shrewd scheme to contain China with the Quad to push India to the forefront to counter China.

Indian Prime Minister, however, is shrewder. He simply wants no part in the Quad, especially no role as the vanguard to confront China for US interests.

Being obsessed with hegemony, the US views India in its own perspective and believes that India will confront China as India is pursuing regional hegemony in South Asia. On the other hand, out of its own perspective, the US believes that China is also pursuing regional Asian and even world hegemony so that the two countries are bond to fight each other.

Modi’s surprise visit to China must be quite enough to break US dream about the Quad, but US still has the dream that India will finally seek hegemony and pull the chestnut out of fire for it.

In fact, India’s participation in the Russia- and China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) must be a clear sign that India wants cooperation instead of confrontation with China.

SCMP says in its report “Indian leader Modi wants no part of China-US rivalry, but still manages to keep Beijing happy” on June 5, “Asia and the world ‘have a better future when India and China work together’, prime minister says.”

SCMP says that due to Modi’s keynote speech at Shangri-la Dialogue on June 1. In the speech, Modi did not even mention the Quad (the “quadrilateral strategic dialogue” – a US-led grouping of four regional powers including Australia, Japan and India) that the US has been eager to form to contain China and wants India to play the major role in confronting China.

Regarding to the Indo-Pacific region, the term that the US has invented for the Quad to contain China, SCMP quotes Modi as saying,“India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members, nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country. A geographical definition, as such, cannot be.”

SCMP says in the report, “Modi said that India’s relations with China had ‘many layers’. And despite their months-long military stand-off on the Doklam plateau last summer, ‘Asia and the world will have a better future when India and China work together in trust and confidence, sensitive to each other’s interests’.”

US Defense Secretary’s dream of China-India confrontation has been thoroughly broken by Modi’s speech. He realized that to stop China’s rise, the US shall come out in the forefront to confront China. That was why he attacked China so fiercely in his speech the day after Modi’s speech.

There is the saying: “It takes two to tango”. If China does not respond so strongly as the head of its delegation to Shangri-la Dialogue did, there will not be such high tension that may trigger a war now. China’s strong response may well cause the US to attack China as deep in Thucydides Trap, quite a few US politicians and media do want such a war to put an end to China’s rise. South China Sea (SCS) is not a good excuse for war as the US has no interests there, but the US only wants an excuse acceptable by its people while its media has done a lot to demonize China on the SCS issue.

As US media has already pit American people against China, to avoid the war, China had better keep a low profile instead of responding strongly because the best the US can do is but to carry out some freedom of navigation operations, which can only hurt China’s dignity instead of its interests there.

China’s hardline response has raised the questions: Is a war with the US acceptable to China? Why?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2149237/indian-leader-modi-wants-no-part-china-us-rivalry-still.


Water, India Has No Choice But Avoid Confrontation with China


Last year, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began to form a quad of India, Japan, Australia and the US to counter China with India at the forefront to confront China.

Tillerson’s quad was based on the “the structural factors in the relationship suggest that the rivalry will intensify in the long run” as described in Stratfor’s April-27 article “India and China’s Rapprochement Extends Only Skin Deep”.

Yes, China’s iron brotherhood with India’s most implacable enemy Pakistan is an insurmountable obstacle and China’s Belt-and-Road economic expansion in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives constitutes an even more painful headache. Compared with those two problems the border disputes between the two countries are negligible issues. The disputed areas, though big, are but poor barren land with little population.

That was why the Stratfor article believes that the leaders of the two countries Modi and Xi Jiping’s efforts to improve bilateral relations are doomed to failure in the long run.

However, Stratfor fails to see a vital issue that forces India to avoid confrontation with China – water: water from China’s Yarlung Zangpo River, major source of water for India’s Ganges. China is drawing plans for diverting water from Yarlung Zangpo to its desert in Xinjiang. The project may greatly reduce Ganges’ water if diverted through open water channels due to lost into soil and air in the way. The water reduction may be much smaller if the water is diverted through pipelines that will cost a lot more to build.

In military confrontation, India is still scared by China due to the memory of its sad defeat in the 1960s. Chinese military is much stronger now, but China need not use its military to subdue India. Cutting the water source is just enough.

Before the Hong Kong issue was solved by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, I discussed the issue with some British people in Hong Kong. I said that if China sent PLA to take Hong Kong, Britain simply could not defend Hong Kong. The British people said, “No need to send PLA. Switch off water tap, we surrender.” Most of the fresh water Hong Kong used came from China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Stratfor’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-navy-exercises/india-wont-include-australia-in-naval-drills-fears-china-backlash-idUSKBN18Q1VD.


China’s Xi, India’s Modi seek new relationship after summit


Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk along the East Lake in Wuhan, China, April 28, 2018. India’s Press Information Bureau/Handout via REUTERS

Sue-Lin Wong April 28, 2018

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – The leaders of China and India agreed to open a new chapter in their relationship on Saturday after an informal summit, just months after a dispute over a stretch of their high-altitude Himalayan border rekindled fears of war.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent around 24 hours in the central Chinese city of Wuhan for meetings with President Xi Jinping, an ice-breaking trip both hoped would allow candour and nurture trust.

Billed as an informal get-together rather than a summit, the two men held talks on Friday that lasted far longer than expected, and on Saturday chatted over tea on a boat trip round a scenic lake.

“President Xi stressed that the issues between China and India are of a limited, temporary nature but the relationship between the two countries is extensive and ongoing,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou told reporters in Wuhan.
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Their differences are significant: as well as disputes over stretches of a 3,500 km (2,200 miles) border – the two fought a brief border war in 1962 – the Asian giants have squabbled over Xi’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

India signalled as recently as Tuesday its opposition to the grand trade and transport plan because one of its branches runs through Pakistani-administered Kashmir, which India claims.

Xi and Modi agreed their problems would be resolved with time.

China’s Foreign Ministry, in a separate statement, cited Xi as telling Modi their nations were major drivers of world economic growth and a good relationship would be positive for global stability.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said both leaders had agreed they could handle their differences peacefully.

“On the issue of the India-China boundary question, the two leaders endorsed the work of the special representatives in their efforts to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement,” he said.

“And the two leaders also underscored that in the meantime it is important to maintain peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border region,” Gokhale said.

Kong said Modi and Xi did not discuss last summer’s border flare-up, although they agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement to the boundary problem.

“The biggest takeaway was that we have to increase mutual trust,” he said. “The reason that we had this dispute was because we were both mistrustful of each other.”

SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES

Chinese state media praised the tone of the trip.

The overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a front page commentary on Saturday “two great countries ought to have great co-operation”. It published a large photo of the two leaders shaking hands.

The official China Daily said in an editorial there was no denying mutual suspicion was keeping the two countries from working together.

“Yet neither Beijing nor New Delhi calls the other an enemy, which means both expect bilateral ties to improve. Indeed, China and India are natural partners,” it said.

Despite the upbeat statements, which on Friday included Modi inviting Xi to India for a similar informal summit next year, there were no concrete agreements reached.

Still, Kong said there are a number of projects China and India can cooperate on in the spirit of Belt and Road.

“We won’t force them to do something they don’t want to do,” he said.

India has long been apprehensive about China’s traditionally close ties with Pakistan.

For its part, China has been concerned about U.S. efforts to draw India into a maritime “quad” of democracies, including Japan and Australia.
China is also suspicious of India’s hosting of the Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetans.

Kong said China did not believe India had changed its official position that Tibet is part of China.

Modi and Xi are set to meet again soon, when Modi visits China in June for a summit of the China and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation security bloc.

Additional reporting by Neha Dasgupta in NEW DELHI; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait and Neil Fullick

Source: Reuters “China’s Xi, India’s Modi seek new relationship after summit”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


India’s Modi invites China’s Xi for an informal summit in 2019


Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their visit at East Lake Guest House, in Wuhan, China, April 27, 2018. India’s Press Information Bureau/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE

Sue-Lin Wong April 27, 2018

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to an informal summit next year as he began an ice-breaking visit to China on Friday in which the giant neighbors are seeking to re-set troubled ties.

Modi is spending only about 24 hours in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, just months after a dispute over a stretch of their high-altitude Himalayan border rekindled fears of war between the Asian nations.

“I hope such informal summits becomes a tradition between both the countries. I’ll be happy, if in 2019 we can have such an informal summit in India,” Modi said, in comments broadcast in a media center for reporters in Wuhan.

Xi told Modi that their two countries’ influence in world and region was steadily on the rise.

“Looking ahead, we see a fast pace and bright future for China-India cooperation,” Xi said.

“China and India are both important engines for global growth and we are central pillars for promoting a multi-polar and globalized world. A good China-India relationship is an important and positive factor for maintaining peace and stability in the world,” he added.

Modi said that as India and China represented 40 percent of the world’s population, they needed to try to work together to tackle global problems.

Stressing the importance of world peace, Modi said both nations have to “make all possible contributions”.

An Indian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters in Wuhan that Modi’s meeting with Xi was supposed to be half an hour but lasted for more than two hours. The museum visit had also lasted longer than planned.

“The fact he (Xi) showed him around the museum was a special gesture on his part,” the official added.

But despite the rhetoric on Friday, the nations’ differences are significant.

As well as disputes over stretches of a 3,500 km (2,200 miles) border, they are bumping up against each other in the Indian Ocean and squabbling over Xi’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

India signaled as recently as Tuesday its opposition to the grand trade and transport plan because one of its branches runs through Pakistani-administered Kashmir, which India claims.

India has long been suspicious of China’s traditionally close ties with Pakistan.

For its part, China has been concerned about U.S. efforts to draw India into a maritime “quad” of democracies, including Japan and Australia.

China is also suspicious of India’s hosting of the Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetans.

INFORMAL SETTINGS

But there was no public mention of any differences on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Modi and Xi viewed antique Chinese artifacts at the Hubei Provincial Museum, where they also exchanged views on boosting dialogue between their two ancient civilizations and how to live peacefully together, China’s state news agency Xinhua said.

The two were due to have dinner together later, according to India’s foreign ministry.

On Saturday, they will take a walk together and then an hour-long boat-trip, informal settings mostly without aides that both sides are hoping will lead to frank discussions.

In a commentary on Friday, the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said the cultures of both China and India set great store on the concept of harmony, and pointed out the Hubei Provincial Museum had in 2014 held a special exhibition on India.

“The friendly exchanges between China and India have again and again seen composed moving stories, creating a model for inter-cultural dialogue in the world,” it said.

The museum in Wuhan, an industrial and university provincial capital with no obvious connection to India, was closed ahead of the leaders’ visit. A plain clothes police office told a Reuters reporter to stop taking pictures.

A sign at the entrance said it was closed for four days due to “equipment maintenance”.

Additional reporting by Malani Menon, Sanjeev Miglani in NEW DELHI and Gao Liangping and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Robert Birsel and Richard Balmforth

Source: Reuters “India’s Modi invites China’s Xi for an informal summit in 2019”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi plan quality time together in Wuhan


Jeremy Goldkorn April 26, 2018

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “will have an ‘informal and heart-to-heart’ two-day summit with the ever-powerful Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mao Zedong’s favorite holiday spot on Friday,” reports India Today’s Ananth Krishnan from Wuhan, Hubei Province.

•“Xi leaving Beijing to meet a foreign leader is being seen as an unprecedented gesture,” according to Krishnan.
•The two leaders will probably tour Mao’s holiday villa, which is now a museum, and there will probably be photo sprays of the two strolling together next to the city’s East Lake or on the shores of the Yangtze River — China chose Wuhan “to give an informal, relaxed touch to the summit.”
•Not too much relaxing, though: Modi and Xi are scheduled to have at least “five rounds of extensive talks over Friday and Saturday.”
•Why now? The BBC gives three reasons: ◦India believes that last year’s Himalayan dispute “marked a dangerous phase in the relationship and that tensions need to be kept in check.”
◦India wants China’s cooperation in pressuring “Pakistan-based terrorist groups and securing India’s admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a body that controls nuclear trade.”
◦India is hedging its bets against “an uncertain period in world politics,” as China grows closer to Russia while the North Korean crisis may help Beijing “improve ties” with Washington.

•Another factor noted by the New York Times (paywall): “Analysts say Mr. Modi is fixated on winning next year’s election in India,” and because of “the fraught relationship between China and India right now,” the Indian PM needs Xi’s help.
•Chinese investments in India “added up to more than $8 billion” by the end of 2017, according to an official quoted in another India Today story by Ananth Krishnan, which looks at bilateral trade and investment.

For more on the complicated history of Sino-Indian ties, read Dancing with the dragon? Deciphering India’s ‘China reset,’ by Tanvi Madan. You can follow the Modi visit to Wuhan in real time on Ananth Krishnan’s Twitter feed.

Source: SubChina “Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi plan quality time together in Wuhan”

Note: This is SubChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


India’s Modi to visit China this week as rapprochement gathers pace


FILE PHOTO: India’s prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a bilateral meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, at 10 Downing Street in London, April 18, 2018. Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via Reuters

Ben Blanchard April 22, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China this week for an informal meeting with President Xi Jinping, as efforts at rapprochement gather pace following a testing year in ties between the two giant neighbors.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said the two would meet on Friday and Saturday in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

“Our common interests far outweigh our differences. The two countries have no choice other than pursuing everlasting friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development,” Wang told reporters after meeting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in Beijing.

“The summit will go a long way towards deepening the mutual trust between the two great neighbors,” he added. “We will make sure that the informal summit will be a complete success and a new milestone in the history of China-India relations.”

Modi has sought to re-set ties after disputes over issues including their disputed border with Tibet and other issues.

The discussion with Wang was to prepare for the informal summit, Swaraj said.

“It will be an important occasion for them (Modi and Xi) to exchange views on bilateral and international matters, from an overarching and long-term perspective with the objective of enhancing mutual communication,” Swaraj said.

The Asian giants were locked in a 73-day military stand-off in a remote, high-altitude stretch of that boundary last year. At one point, soldiers from the two sides threw stones and punches.

The confrontation between the nuclear-armed powers in the Himalayas underscored Indian alarm at China’s expanding security and economic links in South Asia.

China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative of transport and energy links bypasses India, apart from a corner of the disputed Kashmir region, also claimed by Pakistan, but involves India’s neighbors Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives. Modi’s previously unannounced Wuhan trip is even more unusual in that he will visit China again in June for a summit in Qingdao of the China and Russia-led security grouping, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which India joined last year.

It is almost unheard of for foreign leaders to visit China twice in such close succession. Xi is also extending Modi the rare honor of a meeting outside of Beijing, which almost never happens unless there is a multilateral summit taking place.

Modi’s nationalist government has reversed course on its relationship with Beijing apparently after realizing its hard line on China was not working.

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who lives in India and who China considers a dangerous separatist, is also facing the cold shoulder.

In March, India issued an unprecedented ban on Tibetans holding a rally with the Dalai Lama in New Delhi to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Other areas of disagreement remain however between Beijing and New Delhi.

China has blocked India’s membership of a nuclear cartel and it has also been blocking U.N. sanctions against a Pakistan-based militant leader blamed for attacks on India.

Additional reporting by Elias Glenn and Gao Liangping; Mayank Bhardwaj in NEW DELHI; Editing by William Maclean and Dale Hudson

Source: Reuters “India’s Modi to visit China this week as rapprochement gathers pace”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.