China is getting ready to face an India that would apparently be “tougher” on political disputes but more “flexible” on its economic policies if NDA’s Narendra Modi becomes prime minister, the Chinese state media said on Wednesday.
But Modi’s vision is likely to be pragmatic towards China on the whole, the nationalistic, state-run Global Times newspaper, said.
Quoting analysts, the newspaper said building infrastructure is likely to be high on Modi’s agenda.
The newspaper carried the report on Modi as a front page splash under the headline “Modi likely to be pragmatic towards China”.
During his campaign, Modi had said that China should let go of its expansionist policies, indicating his strong stand on the long-standing bilateral border dispute.
Fu Xiaoqiang, researcher with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, however, told the newspaper: “The two countries have reached a border defense cooperation agreement [in October 2013] and both maintained that the disputes should be solved through negotiations.”
He noted the border dispute was “controllable and will not threaten”.
Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow with the Institute of International Relations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, however said that Modi might use bilateral disputes to bargain with China.
“The BJP has long held a hardline position toward China. Modi will no doubt inherit the party's stance. He will be tougher against Beijing and use border disputes, the Tibet question and the Dalai Lama to bargain with China,” Hu said.
On economic policies, Hu said if Modi takes office, he is expected to exhibit some flexibility in economic policy with China, but will also create some new problems on bilateral trade frictions.
Currently, China's foreign direct investment into India only stands at $940 million, which was described as “far from satisfactory” by Chinese Ambassador to India Wei Wei in an interview with Indian media in April.
Hu said the shortfall resulted from India's politicization of economic issues. “Compared with capital from the US, Japan and South Korea, India has taken a more cautious and restrictive policy toward Chinese investment,” Hu said.
The barriers imposed by Indian authorities had led to a withdrawal of most small and medium-sized Chinese companies from the market in Bangalore, southern India's tech hub, he said.
“There are also so-called security concerns over Chinese investment, which has led to denials of major investment by telecom giant Huawei in the country,” Hu added.