Xi, Modi may bring about shift in Sino-Indian ties

Xi, Modi may bring about shift in Sino-Indian ties
Mr Xi (right) is aware that Mr Modi enjoys good relations with Tokyo. It will not be in China’s interests if India and Japan move closer at its expense. Photo: AP
Published: 4:02 AM, August 12, 2014
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The recent BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, saw the first meeting held between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Both leaders pledged to work towards a solution to their long-standing border dispute. Mr Modi described the talks as extremely fruitful, while Mr Xi extolled India as a long-lasting friend.

The meeting reflects the continuation of an upturn in Sino-Indian relations since Mr Modi’s ascension to power in India. The positive developments have led observers to ask whether there will be a shift in dynamics between the world’s two largest developing economies.

To couch the question in Chinese parlance: Are we seeing the emergence of a “new” type of major power relations between China and India?


A factor that may play an increasingly bigger role in shaping China-India ties is economics.

Commercial relations between these Asian giants are still relatively modest. Sino-Indian trade of around US$65 billion (S$81.3 billion) last year is a trickle in the context of a combined annual gross domestic product of more than US$10 trillion. Last year, bilateral trade recorded a decrease for the second year running. This situation may soon change.

Mr Modi, who has campaigned successfully on promises of India’s economic rejuvenation, will look towards Beijing as a viable source of cooperation for achieving the “Indian dream”.

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