By Upasana Hembram
At the 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, the group of nations collectively condemned the operations of terrorist outfits and named Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) among several others in a joint statement. This naming of Pakistan-based terrorist organisations comes almost a week after China and India declared the disengagement of troops after their face-off at Doklam plateau in the India-Bhutan-China trijunction.
A diplomatic win for India
The Chinese foreign ministry had previously stated that India bringing up Pakistan’s history of terrorism at the BRICS forum would be deemed “inappropriate”. Thus, this development was a big victory for India as it effectively used diplomacy to return India-China bilateral relations back to equilibrium. India has always strived for dispute resolution through diplomatic engagement and peaceful methods. India’s preference had always been continuous dialogue to work on overall bilateral relations with China and not just a standalone issue. In line with India’s policy, the joint statement was a diplomatic win over both Pakistan and China.
What went on behind the scenes
Over the course of last year, China had blocked every effort made by India in the direction of getting JeM’s chief Maulana Masood Azhar named as a terrorist by the United Nations. However, recent developments cannot guarantee that China will not stonewall India’s efforts. Of the 15-member United Nations Council backing India’s bid to name Masood Azhar as a terrorist, China was the only member to put a technical hold on it. After the six-month validity period elapsed, China further extended the hold by another three months despite strong support from US, UK and France for India’s bid. Expecting a tough crackdown against Pakistan would be naïve, given the massive amount of investments it has siphoned into the country under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China is known to have conducted similar transactions in the past.
Internal factors at play
India’s diplomatic success with China is also a result of China’s internal compulsions. These include BRICS summit being held on their own soil and the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) upcoming meeting. For China, BRICS is a crucial stage to display its leadership and its willingness to work with other countries. As an aspiring “Great Power” India’s participation in Xiamen was essential to China.
India and China have different perspectives. Each views the other as a strategic rival. Sino-Indian ties are unable to exploit the full potential of their relations. Various factors like CPEC that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK), China shielding Pakistan from UN, Chinese protectionism and imbalance in trade contribute to the hostility. Despite these differences, there is a clear message from both sides to put Doklam behind, maintain peace and tranquility along the border, and enhance cooperation between their security personnel. The way forward stresses on balanced Sino-Indian relations where China is willing to work along the principles of Panchsheel under India’s guidance with a vision to sustain healthy bilateral association for the next decade.
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