President Mukherjee’s China visit comes amid irritants in bilateral ties | india | Hindustan Times
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President Mukherjee’s China visit comes amid irritants in bilateral ties

China’s decisions to block New Delhi’s move in the United Nations to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist, and preventing India from becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) were interpreted as decidedly anti-India positions taken by Beijing.

india Updated: May 24, 2016 09:55 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
President Pranab Mukherjee will embark on a four-day visit to China from Tuesday.
President Pranab Mukherjee will embark on a four-day visit to China from Tuesday.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

President Pranab Mukherjee’s China visit comes at a time when bilateral ties appear to have lost some steam since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip in May last year.

An air of anticipation about the two countries forging fresh ties was whipped up in the months between Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in September, 2014 and Modi’s China visit eight months later.

In about a year, that expectation has thinned and given way to hard foreign policy and diplomatic realities; New Delhi and Beijing continue to be poles apart on many issues.

China’s decisions to block New Delhi’s move in the United Nations to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist, and preventing India from becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) were interpreted as decidedly anti-India positions taken by Beijing.

Beijing, meanwhile, has been wary of New Delhi cosying up strategically and militarily to the US and Japan and have expressed indignation at India’s statements on the dispute-ridden South China Sea.

At the end of 2015, bilateral trade never got close to the much-touted $ 100 billion-mark; it was $71.6 billion last year.

Experts say the visit itself is a sign that the two countries are regularising high-level visits as part of bilateral political process.

“Ever since 1988, when the normalisation process of Sino-India relations started, one of the most significant stabilisers of bilateral relations is maintaining such top level exchanges, which have been conducive in reducing mutual misunderstanding, misjudging, misgivings and mistrust,” said Hu Shisheng, South Asia expert at the government-affiliated China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations said.

“It is not merely a reciprocal visit. It is intended to indicate that despite ups and downs, both countries will continue political dialogue at the highest level,” Alka Acharya, director, Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi, told HT.