India and China : Wuhan Spirit

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

  • The summit in Wuhan offered no significant breakthrough, nevertheless, it can be a step towards a more amicable relationship between the two Asian giants, marching forward with greater clarity.
  • The last couple of years have been tumultuous for both the sides. Issues like the 2017 military standoff at the Doklam tri-junction, the Belt and Road Initiative, India’s membership to the NSG and China’s opposition to it, China’s presence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region have all vitiated the relationship between the two.
  • Thus, Wuhan Summit came at an important juncture and shows the commitment and the urge of both the countries towards cultivating a better relationship than what exists.
  • What can be concluded as the most significant outcome of the summit is the one pertaining to the contested border? Both the leaders in Wuhan acknowledged the low priority accorded to the importance of maintaining peace across the border region. To this end, the countries have issued guidelines to their militaries and have asked them to strengthen communication between the two sides for better management of the border affairs. Various CBMs was also agreed upon to nurture the relationship between the sides.
  • For the border efforts, both the countries have realised that such border activities and skirmished can have not just strategic implications but political too. Also, it was implicitly acknowledged that all that happens at the border between the two militaries does not always get a political sanction and have the potential to derail the relationship between the two countries.
  • Nothing bold was enshrined but considerable trust-building measures have been taken which includes the restoration of a yearly bilateral counter terrorisms exercise and sharing of Himalayan water data.
  • China has eased export duties on medicine ever since the meeting and this has helped in the betterment of the trade deficit.
  • Both the countries are also keen on ring-fencing new areas of cooperation between the two countries. The joint economic project in Afghanistan undertaken by the two shows that the two are committed to ‘more mature and wise’ border management.
  • We cannot overlook another angle integral in The Wuhan summit, the need of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The summit has come at a crucial time for India with the General elections 2019 knowing on the door making the need of keeping its periphery stable. Tensions along the LOC won’t turn out to be costly for the government but a failed policy with China might affect the ruling government. This is because China is India’s largest trading partner and cannot be avoided strategically or economically.
  • For China, the summit can be considered to be important because of the worsening trade with the US and the unpredictability in the American administration coupled with the confrontational policy adopted by them. North Korea’s belligerent approach can be another cause of concern for China. Against this backdrop, China has been making inroads into its peripheral countries like Japan, Indonesia and an attempt to soften relationship with India must be seen in this context.
  • Another reason for China’s soft demeanor can be attributed to the increasing backlash it has been facing because of the economic un-viability of its investment under the OBOR initiative. Thus, China is reeling under a lot of pressure domestically and has a special interest in pacifying its neighbour.
  • In retrospect, the summit has proved that both the countries are recognising the open-ended differences between them. There is an implicit understanding between the two powers over border issues and what constitutes a “status quo” and what does not. All this is remarkable and worth noting because both the countries are revisionist powers but with different goals.
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