After Doklam, India and China are moving to reclaim the narrative of the two Asian giants working together for development.
Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui, in a signed piece in ‘The Hindu’ on Friday, said, Faced with similar development objectives and common challenges such as ‘anti-globalization’ and trade protectionism, China and India should work together.
We should work towards a healthy bilateral relationship by focusing on cooperation and resolving differences. Just like Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said, both sides should make sure that relations do not derail, and make the Himalayan region a new highland for Asia’s development.
After the dust settled on Doklam, India’s presence at the BRICS summit was intended as an effort to drag bilateral ties back to some semblance of normalcy. Luo’s remarks indicate that Beijing is also willing to rebuild the relationship.
Referring to the conversation between President Xi Jinping and PM Narendra Modi at Xiamen, he said, “The meeting was scheduled for half an hour but lasted an hour and 25 minutes.
This shows that both sides are willing to devote enough time to conducting a comprehensive exchange of views. President Xi said Dangal’s success has increased the affinity of the Chinese for the people of India, while PM Modi also highly praised the great success of ‘Where Has the Time Gone’, a film named after a speech by President Xi and co-produced by artistes BRICS member states.
Xi had referred to ‘Dangal’ during his meeting with Modi at Astana too. India went through Doklam emphasising the “Astana consensus”, which reflected the two sides’ feeling that differences should not become disputes. Experts pointed out that India’s support of development and capacity-building projects in Africa through line of credit has seen 20 major ventures completed in the last two years. The focus under this mechanism is now on key infrastructure projects and not just capacity building.
India’s development partnership is based on the needs identified by the partner countries in Africa, like elsewhere in Asia and Latin America. At the last India-Africa summit in 2015, Modi had announced. The downslide in the country’s image has not pleased Beijing, since these headlines have appeared within days after Djibouti, a naval base, was set up as a logistical support facility in the vicinity of the US’s Camp Lemonnier, a special operations outpost in the sweltering east African country,” according to a report titled ‘Africa.
China’s Long Game and Bad Press’, brought out by Hyderabad-based think-tank Centre for Asia Africa Policy Research (CAAPR). According local media reports, there are two elements of “Chinese imperialism” in Africa.
The first being the treatment of workers, both locals and Chinese, as slaves, and the other being exploitation of local resources. Experts said overfishing by Chinese companies is threatening western African economies.