Modi-Xi meet a stern test - GulfToday

Modi-Xi meet a stern test

Stern test for India

Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi during the BRICS summit in Xiamen, southeastern China. File/AFP

Though the BJP may try to garner political mileage from the Chinese Premier’s visit, a lot more is now at stake. Especially after Xi Jinping’s recent statement supporting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the Kashmir issue (“BJP plays summit card to court new allies in TN,” Oct.11, Gulf Today).

The situation is already tense as both Pakistan and India are in the midst of a pitched battle over Kashmir. Xi’s statement that “China supports Pakistan to safeguard its own legitimate rights and hopes that the relevant parties can solve their disputes through peaceful dialogue,” does not augur well for the Chennai meet.

Reports state that the Indian foreign ministry has sternly voiced its displeasure stating that India’s position has been consistent and clear that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. And that it is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India. That being the case, we will have to wait and see how the meet between the leaders pans out.

There is little doubt that China is playing it safe. But unfortunately there is no neutral stand on Kashmir. India too needs to foster healthy bilateral ties with its neighbours while making sure that it does not comprise its position on internal matters.

China is a big challenge for India and the recent move by the BJP government on Kashmir has added a new dimension. Splitting of Jammu and Kashmir has angered China because it will make Ladakh a separate Indian administrative territory. A bone of contention for China, which says that parts of Ladakh belongs to them.

Under these conditions I am not sure how much leverage this meet will have on local politics and whether it will make any notable difference on BJP’s position in Tamil Nadu’s political arena. But on a larger platform it is sure to test India’s diplomacy with China.

Vishal Rathod
By email

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