Author: Abhishek Sheoran
Tue, 05 Sep 2023 06:00 PM (IST)
Ever since Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to give the G20 Summit a miss in India, people aware of the geopolitics are negotiating the repercussions of the move and how it will dent the attempts of the two nations to reinstate their relations.
In a brief interaction at the BRICS in Johannesburg, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping agreed to expedite disengagement and de-escalation exercise along LAC, India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said while interacting with media. After the brief discourse, it was believed that the two nations could engage in diplomatic talks to resolve disputes, which have been at a standstill for years.
Notably, China, ahead of Xi’s scheduled visit to India for the G20 Summit, released a ‘standard’ map that showed Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin in it. This came after the dragon in April announced ‘standardised geographical names’ for eleven places in Arunachal. Again geopolitical virtuosos started brainstorming as to why China released a ‘map’ claiming Indian territories when the two leaders gave a call of respecting LAC and Xi was ‘supposed’ to visit India for the G20 Summit.
As many as Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in the border skirmishes with China, in the Galwan Valley along LAC in June 2020. This was the fiercest border conflict with China to have occurred after the 1962 war. The LAC lies east of the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers in the valley, up to which both India and China have been patrolling in recent years. After the June 15 clash, however, China has claimed that the entire valley lies on its side of the LAC.
The relations between the two countries have been steadily deteriorating. India has been against China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China further views India’s assertions regarding Gilgit-Baltistan as an implicit attack on the CPEC. India has put curbs and restrictions on Chinese foreign direct investment.
Diving deep into the issue, the probable reasons that prompted Xi to skip key meeting in India were ascertained.
Dragon’s economy in distress: Xi could have faced tough questions about China’s economy taking a nosedive, which was a matter of grave concern for the global market. The FDI in China has fallen to the lowest in the last 25 years. Urban youth employment has drastically fallen in decades.
Fear of being isolated: The United States is deeply concerned about China’s influence in Taiwan and has been timely boosting the latter with arms to prevent any untoward incident orchestrated by China. Besides, Xi was seen siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the outset of the latter’s war with Ukraine.
Doesn’t want to endorse India’s leadership: As leaders under the ambit of G20 seem excited to come to India, Xi fears any outcome of the meeting could make India’s global position strong.
Biden’s alienation towards India: It is believed that the US supports India on a plethora of issues, including curbing China’s influence in the Indian Ocean. The US also pledged its support to India when the latter had a border clash with China.
Attempt to undermine India: Xi Jinping attended the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg and now skipping the G20 congregation in India could be an attempt to undermine the host. Also, it’s seen as a part of the trend as Dragon earlier skipped G20 meetings in Kashmir and objected to India’s use of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.
Xi Jinping’s decision to not attend the G20 Summit, besides dragon’s apprehensions, could have certain global ramifications as well.
Jolt to the attempts of normalcy at LAC: PM Modi’s brief handshake and discussion with Xi at BRICS, over respecting LAC, gave a template to the two nations to further deliberate on resolving long-standing issues between the two nations. Diplomatic-level engagement between the two could have given a boost to the communication channel.
Addressing concerns of developing countries: Such platforms, which include several developed countries, could play a key role in resolving issues confronting developing nations. China being a big lender and its subsequent absence from the key meeting could now be an obstacle in providing faster debt relief.