During the first foreign visit of the Chinese new Premier, Li Keqiang to India from 19 to 22 May 2013 several documents were signed and agreements on several issues were also reached between the counterparts of the two nations. Both the countries decided to increase the trade target between both the nations to 100-billion US Dollars in Financial Year 2014-15, which in the running fiscal 2013-14, is 67.8 billion US Dollars. Concerns on trade deficit suffered by India in the previous fiscal of 2012-13 were also made and agreements were reached to make up the same in the running fiscal.
Li Keqiang India visit came up after the visit of Union External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid to the People’s Republic of China on 09-10 May 2013, just after the standoff of Chinese troops in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector for more than three weeks.
Earlier, the 15 April 2013 incursion of a platoon of Chinese troops, 19 kilometers into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Depsang Bulge area of Daulat Beg Oldi sector in Ladakh turned up to be a heated issue between the two nations. The incursion of the Chinese troops displayed no signs of ending, despite three rounds of flag meetings between the two nations. Similar kind of situation of incursion, led the two nations to war in 1962 but even after the war the two sides have yet not been successful in reaching a consensus for demarcating the formal boundary between the two nations. In 1962, the Chinese troops broke into the area, which were under the effective control of the Indian defence. Ever since the war ended in 1962, both the sides have yet not been successful in resolving the border issue and thus have signed several protocols and agreements to decide the way how the troops of the respective nations should behave till a final settlement is reached between the two nations.
Chinese incursion in the Despang region came up a day after China released its doctrinal document – Diversified Employment of China's Armed Forces, which describes about the changes in the countries perspective towards its neighbours. The preface of the doctrinal states “China's armed forces provide a security guarantee and strategic support for national development, and make due contributions to the maintenance of world peace and regional stability” this means China may take an advantage of the armed forces for its growth. May be possible the Despang incursion is the follow-up of the doctrinal.
The Elephant (India) and the Dragon (China) have been sharing a long term of established and troubled relations on different fronts. They have good economic ties and are fairly moving on a fast pace to be the world’s strongest economy and at the same time, they share bitter and sour relations on two points, one is related to the borders i.e. the actual line of control and the second dispute is of water sharing i.e. the construction of a Dam for development of 510 MW Zangmu hydropower project on the Brahmaputra River (called Tsangpo River in China).
Amid different positive and negative circumstances, what does the visit of the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s to India signifies?
Is it a step ahead towards improving the bilateral relations between the two countries or is just an attempt of the dragon to showcase its power to its counterpart Elephant that amid all situations, they have the courage to face them. Or is it the feeling of suffering a huge economic set back at the Dragons part if the economic ties goes wrong with the elephant. India largely exports ore, slag and ash, iron and steel, plastics, organic chemicals and cotton to China, while importing electrical machinery and equipment, nuclear reactors, machinery, boilers, cement, silk and mineral fuels.
If the trade figures of the two nations is compared than trade figure of India comes out to be 795 billion US dollar, whereas that of China is 3.82 trillion US dollar. Under all these conditions, the synonym of the good relations seems from the dragons part can be quoted as – if one is making huge profits by doing business with someone, he/she will never have the willingness of killing the profits at the cost of nothing. In past few years, China has also witnessed a slowdown in the pace of its economic development and is facing challenges of corruption and decline of the demographic dividend. Thus after tasting the bitterness of slowing growth, China may not take a direct chance of entering into a war with India but may be possible to divert the attention of its people from the internal issues faced by the country it and the slowing down economy it may lend some challenges to the neighbouring nations including India, which may be in terms of war.