Close Watch: China looking forward to continuity in bilateral relations with India after General election 2019

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China is keeping a close watch on the ongoing general election to the Lok Sabha in India and Global Times today underscored the general opinion among experts of Sino-Indian relations that the poll results notwithstanding, the India’s China policy will see continuity.

Global Times, a chinese tabloid newspaper published under the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, has published a report quoting the Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri. Sharing his “personal feeling” with Global Times last month, Misri had said: “on foreign policy issues, there is a broad political consensus in India on where our national interests lie. I do not think, therefore, that the outcome of the elections will impact the broad contours of India’s foreign policy in general or the very important relationship with China in particular.”

“If modi wins, India’s China policy will see continuity.” – Qian Feng, a researcher at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies in Beijing.

Global Times goes on to further quote Qian, who says, “even if Modi fails and the opposition Congress Party wins, it will not harm the current good ties with China. “Keeping good relations with China is for the national benefit of India. Also, it’s beneficial for the India-Pakistan relations.”

In support of the argument in favour of continuity in policy for maintaining bilateral relations between the two countries, Global Times highlights what’s been said by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. It says that the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who met Modi at an informal summit in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province on April 27 and 28 last year, both sides had arrived at a broad consensus “on the overarching, long-term and strategic issues of global and bilateral importance”.

Dr. Prashant Kumar Singh, an expert on India-China relations, has told the Global Times that China’s relations with Pakistan as well as India’s trade deficit with China are the two main China-related issues that citizens across the board are concerned about in the election

According to Singh, as quoted by Global Times, people in India are aware that issues of divergence between the countries are complex. But fundamentally, there is no existential problem between them and cooperation should not be held to ransom by differences.

Global Times says, India has seen tensions with Pakistan escalate after a suicide bombing killed at least 40 Indian police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on February 14. The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. Pakistan is reportedly dominating the election spotlight. Modi’s party is trying to whip up national sentiment on Pakistan.

At one place quoting an Indian expert, Global Times has juxtaposed it with the official Chinese defence when it comes to repeated blocking of the move to declare Masood Azhar as an international terrorist at the UN Security Council by China. It says: “While India has proposed listing Masood Azhar, leader of the JeM, as a global terrorist, China has put a “technical hold” on the request at the UN as more time is needed for a comprehensive evaluation. Some people in India threatened to boycott China’s goods over this.”

Global Times points out that Prime Minister Modi, in an interview with News 18 on Tuesday, said that India has differences with China, but “our objective is that these differences don’t turn into disputes.”

Global Times cites from a Reuters report based on opinion polls that suggests that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will likely win a thin majority but at the same time it also concludes that it has become harder for Modi than anticipated months ago, due to the government’s inability to address high unemployment and falling incomes for farmers.

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