India, China, Wang Yi discussed on Monocle 24: The Globalist
Website. See you in saint Moritz at the Monaco weekender. It's 1514 in Beijing, 7 14 here in London, you're back with a globalist with me, Emma Nelson. Now to another long running geopolitical crisis, that of the strained relationship between India and China and efforts to mend it. China's foreign minister Wang Yi is in Delhi on the first India visit by a senior leader from Beijing since the two nations armies fought each other on the border last May. Well, I'm joined now by doctor sajan gohel, who's a visiting teacher at the London school of economics and international security director at the Asia Pacific foundation. Good morning, Sir John. Good morning. Let's place this in a bit of context, shall we this visit? Relations are at an all time low between the two nations. The relationship between China and India is unfortunately a problematic right now that is going back to what you mentioned, which is the skirmish that took place back on May 2020 in which both sides actually fought against each other in the gull one valley, which is in the Himalayas. There is a territorial dispute that goes back decades and the belief was that China had effectively broken the arrangement that had existed previously and moved further into territory that is disputed. That standoff still remains to this day, although it's not as precarious as it was before, but unfortunately those tensions remain and they have not been resolved as yet. We saw some, you know, the reports are that at least 20 Indian soldiers died last year and at least four Chinese troops were killed as well, although those numbers were never absolutely verified. So it's in these circumstances that the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has arrived in what the media is saying Well, in fact, the numbers it's believed that China probably lost over 30, which now some reports are suggesting that it could have even been higher than that. So because China doesn't actually reveal its fatalities unlike India. And this trip it's an interesting one because Wang Yi has just come via Afghanistan when he had meetings with the Taliban and then prior to that he was in Pakistan as well and then he's going to Nepal after the India trip. So this seems to be a regional coordinated effort by the Chinese foreign ministry, whether it's going to actually achieve anything remains to be seen, but perhaps the expectation is that by having dialog face to face in this post pandemic era may help to ease tensions, but it's very unlikely that this is going to result in anything significant. It's perhaps just the starting point of a very long journey to try and see if relations can improve. And then we have to put emphasis on the word can. Indeed, so what do people hope can be done? Well, I think with the Indians want there to be a deescalation in the number of troops on the border. They want China to pull back because Chinese troops are very close to where the dispute is taking place. And the other concern is that they are building infrastructure there, which means that it could be permanent. It means that China may want to extend further. And that's also what created the tensions back in May 2020. So India wants China to take steps to deescalate this troop movement that is there on the board and keep in mind China and India share a very long border in three different parts of their respective countries. In the Himalayas, it's also a way you've got place to Kim and Nepal area. And then you've also got the other part, which is in the northeast of India and the southern part of Tibet. So these three areas have often resulted in tensions in the past, and it's not just one area that the two countries are going to have to resolve its three areas. One thing that also complicates issues enormously is Ukraine because India and China as we have been talking about have had huge standoffs on the border. India, many have suggested have said that it needs to court Russia in order to feel as if they are supported and they are bolstered. But both sides both India and China at the moment find themselves being one of the few large nations in the world to not openly support Russia, but not condemning the war. Well, in China's case there is a strategic relationship with Russia. They do support each other significantly. It's worth keeping in mind that president Xi Jinping of China has met Vladimir Putin of Russia 38 times in the last ten years, which is a significant number and think about the fact that two of those years have gone in the pandemic itself. For India, there is this relationship that goes back from the period of the Cold War during the Soviet era where India ended up becoming dependent on Russian military hardware. And as we've been talking about this attention between India and China and also the fact that India has difficult relationships with Pakistan as well and then you have the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. India's big concern is that if there is another war, if there's another crisis, they need to have enough military supplies to protect themselves. So that remains the concern that India has is that they have to tread very carefully in this relationship with Russia. It's also worth mentioning that India does have good relations with Ukraine at a bilateral level. The thing that the U.S. wants from India is to diversify its military hardware equipment, but that's going to take years, the process has begun, but it's not something that can get fixed very quickly. And returning to China's visit to India at the moment. You mentioned just there the issue of Pakistan and you also mentioned the issue of Afghanistan. The Chinese foreign minister's visit to India comes on the back of a trip or a meeting with the Pakistanis in which he said that he supported the he was more in favor of the Pakistanis take on the Kashmir issue, but also he's just visited the Taliban in Kabul. It's very surreal because you have the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi as the guest of honor at a meeting that the Pakistani is held for the organization of Islamic countries in which one of the main issues of concern was islamophobia and yet the dynamic of Xinjiang and the Uyghurs was not mentioned whatsoever. And then as you said when you also made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to meet the Taliban, which is again a very bizarre dynamic because the Taliban are a radical Islamist group and you have the Chinese who are the PRC, which is effectively a communist state. And the two should not actually be working together. It should make zero sense on paper and yet there is this odd collaboration that's beginning, which is based on strategic and economic priorities, the Chinese want to enhance their investments in Afghanistan, but they also want the Taliban to crack down on Uyghur dissidents that operate there. And in turn, the Taliban won recognition from China, how this relationship is going to develop remains to be seen because it just defies all logic, but then this is geopolitics. Sergeant gohil. Thank you so much for joining us on monocle 24 still to come on today's globalist the day's papers are fashion update with Dana Thomas, and then Andrew Muller runs us through his take on the week's events. We learned this week that a divided nation narrowly voting to leave an economic and customs union because an amount of its citizens don't like foreigners very much, and a nation unifying to mount a heroic armed resistance in an existential struggle against a predatory invader a literally exactly the same thing. Stay tuned on the globalist. UBS has over 900 investment analysts from over 100 different countries. Over 900 of the sharpest minds and freshest thinkers in the world of finance today. To find out how we could help you contact us at UBS dot.