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.

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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.


China says Nepal a natural area for cooperation with India


Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali (L) shakes hands with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan (R) at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing, China, April 18, 2018. Madoka Ikegami/Pool via Reuters

Reuters Staff April 18, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – Nepal is a natural area for cooperation between China and India, the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi said on Wednesday, as he invited India to participate in connectivity projects between the three nations.

The landlocked Himalayan nation has traditionally looked to India for economic support and trade, but Nepal has increasingly been courted by China with transport deals, to New Delhi’s unease.

In 2016 Nepal’s then prime minister, K.P. Sharma Oli, sealed deals with Beijing to use Chinese roads and ports, seeking to reduce Nepal’s dependence on India for trade and transit.

While relations between China and India have been strained in recent years, with spats over everything from their disputed border with Tibet, current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to re-set ties and will visit China in June for a regional summit.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali in Beijing, Wang dismissed the notion that Nepal had to carefully balance its relations with China and India.

“I believe that China, Nepal and India are natural friends and partners. We are neighbors connected by the same mountains and rivers,” Wang said. “As we say in China, family members and neighbors wish each other well.”

Support for Nepal’s development should be a common understanding between China and India, he added.

“Nepal stands as a natural beneficiary for cooperation and development from China and India. I think this is a logical desire that should be supported by both China and India,” Wang said.

China and Nepal have agreed to a long-term vision for a cross-Himalaya connectivity network, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, he added.

“We believe that such a network when well developed can also create conditions for an economic corridor connecting China, Nepal and India. We hope that such cooperation can contribute to the development and prosperity of all three countries.”

Gyawali, visiting Beijing about a week after Oli was in New Delhi, said he and Wang had agreed to start a feasibility study for a cross-border railway linking Nepal and China.

“Personally I have a dream, to travel to China from Nepal across the Himalayas in a modern train, enjoying the scenic beauty of the Himalayas,” he added.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry

Source: Reuters “China says Nepal a natural area for cooperation with India”

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, China’s Xi ready to improve bilateral ties


FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, arrive for the ‘Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries’ on the sidelines of the 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, China, 05 September 2017. REUTERS/Wu Hong/Pool

Reuters Staff March 20, 2018

BEIJING/ NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India and China agreed to consult each other on regional and international issues, the Indian side said after a phone call on Tuesday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Relations between the two countries have been tense since last year after their troops faced off on a disputed part of their border. On Tuesday Modi called Xi to congratulate him on his re-election.

“The two leaders agreed that as two major powers growing rapidly, bilateral relations between India and China are vital for the realization of 21st Century as ‘Asian Century’,” Modi’s office said in a statement.

Hundreds of troops were deployed in 2017 on the Doklam plateau, near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan, and China after New Delhi objected to Chinese construction of a road through the mountainous area in their most serious standoff in years.

China is willing to keep up the good momentum of two-way cooperation with India, Xi told Modi, China’s state news agency Xinhua said.

China is ready to enhance communication with Modi on long-term, strategic bilateral issues to promote political mutual trust, Xi added.

China was also angered by Modi’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a state in northeast India claimed by China.

In a bid to improve ties with China, India banned Tibetans from hosting a rally with the Dalai Lama this month to mark the 60th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule. Beijing regards the Tibetan spiritual leader as a splittist.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Rupam Jain in New Delhi; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Source: Reuters “India’s Modi, China’s Xi ready to improve bilateral ties”

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