India and China have decided to set up a dialogue mechanism at the level of the foreign secretaries for the first time.
The decision to set up a new mechanism at the level of foreign secretaries was taken during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was on a three-day visit to India.
The Foreign Secretary-level talks will be a new mechanism that will encompass all bilateral issues between both countries. This will be over and above the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) that both sides already have in place.
However, the SED last met in 2014 and there had been not much headway in the talks between both sides when it came to issues such as India’s membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group, defence cooperation between both the military establishments, rising trade deficit and shrinkage in India exports to China among others.
As a result, both countries have now decided to set up this new mechanism keeping in mind India’s decision to join the NSG, whereas China is obstinate that India takes a position on the South China Sea (SCS) issue.
In fact, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang made it explicit that India takes a stand on the SCS when he came to India.
However, according to experts, such a mechanism might not yield the desired results.
Common interests between China and India far exceed their differences, and the need for cooperation far exceeds the competition, Wang said during his meeting with the Indian Premier.
The foreign minister said “China always welcomes the development and rise of India, and supports India to play a more positive role in regional as well as international affairs”.
“The development of both China and India is conducive to the better balance and stability of world powers,” Wang added.
Indian Prime Minister Modi also asserted that and China need to boost communications and mutual support to ensure successes for the G20 summit scheduled next month in China’s city of Hangzhou as well as the BRICS summit to be held in the Indian state of Goa in October.
The strengthening of cooperation between India and China will provide aspirations for other developing nations.
Official relations between the world’s two fastest growing economies have come a long way since the two fought a brief border war in 1962.
Chinese and Indian border troops have conducted a joint disaster relief exercise, in February this year.
China and India agreed to begin military exchanges and establish a hotline linking army commanders on either side of their disputed border last year.
India has partnered with China on both the BRICS Bank and the AIIB.
BRICS members China, India and Russia are also the three largest shareholders in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with a voting share of 26.06 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 5.92 per cent, respectively.
The BRICS Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund are all initiatives spearheaded by China for a new kind of global development financing.