The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Ruchi Patel, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday arrived Shanghai on his first official visit to China for high-level talks with top military officials to consolidate ties between the armed forces of the two countries. Parrikar visited the Urban Planning Exhibition Centre in Shanghai where he was briefed by Chinese officials on the urban planning achievements in Shanghai. He also addressed members of the Indian community at the Shanghai consulate, touching issues such as India’s reliance in defence production, retaining skilled talent, high-end technologies, etc.
On Monday, 18th April 2016, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar held talks with the Chinese military leadership at the People’s Liberation Army headquarters in Beijing, on a visit that both sides say is aimed at increasing trust between the two countries, including along the disputed border. Parrikar told his counterpart, General Chang Wanquan, that India “attaches highest priority to its relations with China” and is “committed to further developing friendly and cooperative relations with China”.
Indian officials said the visit is aimed at further consolidating the defence relations between the two countries which showed considerable improvement in the last few years with periodic high-level interactions between the two armed forces.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is the first Indian defence minister to visit China in 3 years. The then defence minister, AK Antony, had visited China in 2013. Parrikar’s China visit, which comes just after the visit of US Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter, to India last week, is seen as a rebalancing act by India. Carter’s visit was seen as a push by the US to seek greater cooperation with India in US’s ‘Asia Pivot’ policy. Chinese officials have themselves played down the agreement, and responded officially by saying “it is known to all that India has been upholding an independent foreign policy” and that “like other countries India makes its foreign policies based on its own interests”.
Although Sino-Indian relations are centuries old, which is evident from the strong cultural ties between the 2 nations, post-independence relations have remained rather complex. Various irritants have affected the Sino-India relations- repeated border incursions, China’s “all-weather” friendship with Pakistan, China’s proximity to India’s neighbours, etc. Despite this, trade relations have prospered with Sino-Indian trade growing exponentially over the last 15 years.