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Modi, Xi should chart roadmap to manage rise of India, China: Chinese scholars

The scholars said the summit gives a chance to both leaders to put on the table how they and the countries perceive each other – as rivals or potential partners.

world Updated: Apr 27, 2018 08:32 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Time, Wuhan
Narendra Modi,Modi in China,Xi Jinping
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping as he welcomes him at a hotel in Ahmedabad. (AP File Photo)

The world has never witnessed the simultaneous rise of two huge neighbours and a key expectation from the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Wuhan is that they will chart a roadmap to manage this ascent peacefully, Chinese scholars have said.

The summit — and the carefully planned informal backdrop to it — gives Modi and Xi an opportunity to inject a dose of mutual trust into relations and quell tensions that recently clouded the relationship.

The summit gives a chance to both leaders to put on the table how they and their countries perceive each other — as rivals or potential partners.

“The world has never witnessed the rise of two big powers as neighbours. How are you going to manage that peacefully? How can you manage the differences, engage in cooperation and create a new pattern of relations…the two leaders are determined to achieve that,” said Wang Dong, professor of International Studies at Peking University.

“Mutual perception is very important. The key is how to read each other’s perceptions and intentions. If one side treats the other as a rival, there will be problems,” said Li Li, South Asian scholar at the Institute for International Relations, Tsinghua University.

Over two days of interactions, Modi and Xi will have the opportunity to define how India and China look at each other, Li said.

China-India ties have been guided by their leaders and both countries need people at the helm who have the political will to take decisions, said another scholar.

“China-India ties are complicated, they need strong political will from the above (to keep ties on track), especially from strong leaders like PM Modi and President Xi,” said LanJianxue, associate research fellow of China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day military standoff last year in the Doklam plateau at the trjunction with Bhutan. The faceoff was triggered by an attempt by Chinese troops to build a road in the region.

Lan, who was posted at the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, said bilateral ties had faced challenges recently.

“After the Donglang (Doklam) standoff, both sides need to sit down and turn a new page in the relationship,” Lan said.

The summit will send a clear message the two countries are willing to engage in a mature way despite festering differences, the scholars said.

“In my understanding, the summit itself is a big outcome. It will definitely help them to understand each other better,” Li from Tsinghua University said.

“The two leaders will have a one-on-one dialogue but without specific subjects. They will share their views and visions about the international situation, the global and regional situation and share their thoughts about strategic bilateral ties,” Lan added.

Not that those differences, such as the border dispute, will disappear.

“The border dispute between India and China has been going on for many years, and this meeting cannot be expected to solve the problem. But communication between the leaders of the two countries is very important. Communication can promote mutual understanding, reduce misjudgment and reduce the risk of conflict between the two countries,” said Xu Liang from the Beijing International Studies University.

First Published: Apr 27, 2018 07:14 IST