Executive Intelligence Review


China and India Plan Better Economic and Political Relations with Informal Xi-Modi Meeting

April 23, 2018 (EIRNS)—While still tentative, recent developments appear to show China and India reaching a decision to improve economic, political and cultural relations.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to China for an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping over April 27-28. The meeting between the two top leaders will be held in Wuhan in China, the hometown of the Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui. The formal announcement was made after Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held bilateral talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Li on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Foreign Ministers meeting April 22 in Beijing.

Swaraj told the South China Morning Post,

“My discussion with Minister Wang Yi was to prepare for the informal meeting between our leaders. It will be an important occasion for them to exchange views on bilateral and international matters, with the objective of enhancing mutual communications at the level of leaders.”

Foreign Minister Wang stressed that the informal summit would add a new milestone in India-China relations:

“We see socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a new era, and India acts as a crucial stage in its development and revitalization. It is against this backdrop that President Xi and Prime Minister Modi have decided to hold the informal summit.”

The Hong Kong daily SCMP reports today, “India has made goodwill gestures since March and the two countries are now ready to get their ties back on track.” Top economic officials from the two sides attended a strategic economic dialogue in Beijing April 13.

Last week, the SCMP reports, after meeting Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Wang floated the idea of a trilateral economic corridor with India and Nepal as part of its trade initiative. Nepal is a traditional ally of India’s, the daily writes.

Modi’s visit to China will be run in an informal manner; sources say the idea is to facilitate a free-flowing conversation in retreat-like settings on all issues, including contentious ones, between the two Asian leaders without the “restraints” of a formal joint statement. As Wang and Swaraj prepared for the meeting, SCMP reported that both countries will work together on terrorism and global healthcare, and will share data on the Sutlej and Brahmaputra Rivers in 2018.

China’s opposition to India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Dalai Lama’s engagements are among the major irritants in the relationship. But in recent overtures, India supported China’s bid for Vice-Chair on the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.