The significance of Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to India

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping


What is behind the first visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to India on India's prime minister Narendra Modi's birthday, during which prime minister Modi has displayed added significance to the meeting by personally meeting Xi at the airport in his home state of Gujarat?

China is India's largest trading partner with annual trade currently at $70bn but with a current Indian trade deficit of about $40bn. The two Asian neighbors are the two most populous countries in the world.

Veteran Indian ambassador M K Bhadrakumar presents an analysis. Below are some excerpts.

Modi has sifted the locus of economic diplomacy ... away from the West to Asia.

...the financial crisis and the Great Recession of 2008 that exposed real weaknesses in the Western economic and political models and cast misgivings about their long-term potentials.

Indeed, not only did the financial crisis showcase that China and other emerging economies could weather the storm better than western developed economies but were actually thriving.

The emerging market economies such as India, Brazil or Indonesia began to look at China with renewed interest, tinged with an element of envy. 

What we in India overlook is that the 2008 financial crisis has also been a crisis of Western-style democracy. There has been a breakdown of faith in the Western economic and political models.

Modi is due to visit the US in exactly twelve days... [There was an idea to grant] ... him the privilege of addressing the US Congress. But it has been quietly shelved. 

A big question remains: Will Modi be allowed to get away with his road map for India? The history of the modern world is replete with instances of predatory capitalism by the Western world interfering, if need be, to enforce course correction in developing countries that show signs of deviation.

India, again, is a very big fish in the pond and cannot be allowed to get way easily. 

You can read the full analysis here