Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee ((Director, IPCS)
Maj Gen Banerjee:
India-China relations have been growing in a substantive manner in recent years.
India and China are two growing economies and emerging powers. China has had
a 15-year lead in this context and its economic development has been remarkable.
Over the last 27 years, China GDP grew at a rate of 9.4 per cent, which is unique
in world history for a major nation. India too is undergoing a good growth rate,
particularly since 1991. India and China have no outstanding problems except
the border dispute. Trade and economic relations have seen a rapid growth and
regional cooperation is expanding. China is India's third largest bilateral
trading partner. In the last SAARC Summit, China was given Observer status.
India has an Observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Military-to-military
relations are also deepening in recent years.
Relations with Neighbours
India has very good relations with Afghanistan. With Pakistan, our relations
are improving and the talks are moving ahead. However, some contentious issues
remain unresolved with Pakistan, particularly cross-border terrorism, which
has not subsided. Growing Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in Bangladesh
is a matter of concern to India.
The task ahead for India is to address its economic development and ensure satisfactory
living conditions for all its citizens. Among strategic concerns, the important
challenge before India is not the possibility of inter-state conflicts. Instead,
terrorism has emerged as a major threat to India and the world, particularly
cross-border terrorism. Demographic shift from neighbours is another important
concern, for India is the largest recipient of migrants in the world. The
probability of failing states surrounding India is a matter of concern. There
are also countries where democratic values have not taken roots and there is
internal strife. Drug trafficking and international crimes are other serious
on trade are a roadblock to enhanced international trade and commerce. Energy
requirements threaten to hamper our economic growth rate as India has a severe
shortage of domestic energy supplies as compared to its domestic consumption.
Indian Strategic Posture
India has cooperative relations with all major powers such as Russia, Japan,
European Union and the US. Relations with the US have been growing in the recent
past and close ties with the US remains very important to India. Relations with
China are improving and India is looking forward to enhanced ties with China.
Good relations between China and India can be a powerful force for peace and
development in Asia and the world.
Military CBMs: India
Research Officer, IPCS
Need for CBMs
The current geopolitical scenario and threat perceptions underline the need
for CBMs between India and China; these include - regional concerns over China's
military modernization and India's concerns over Sino-Pak relations, especially
military cooperation. CBMs are integral to long lasting solutions to problems
left over from the past, most importantly, the border question. The border dispute
is at the core of all CBMs undertaken by India and China, the key ones being
the1993 Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace & Tranquillity along the LAC
along the India-China Border areas and the military CBMs of 1996.
The 1993 agreement for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity was path breaking
as it spoke of de-escalation along the LAC. The salient features of the agreement
were as follows. As per Article I of the agreement, both sides agreed to de-escalate
tension across the LAC and solve the issue through 'peaceful and friendly consultation'.
According to Article II, both countries are to reduce military forces based
on the 'principle of mutual and equal security to ceilings to be mutually agreed'.
Article VIII provides for verification and supervision of such force reduction
measures. Article III calls for prior notification of military exercises near
the LAC. Article IV, provides for 'friendly consultations' between border personnel
along the LAC. In addition, it calls for adequate safeguards against violations
The 1996 agreement was developed on the 1993 agreements. It reiterated several
provisions of the 1993 agreement, but went a step further in specifying dos
and do nots on the LAC.
Developments in 2005
India-China talks began in April this year and an Agreement was reached on setting
the Political Parameters and Guiding principles for the Settlement of the India-China
Boundary question. Article III is of actual and operational significance where
it is clear that what is aimed at is a 'package deal' which will be final and
covering all sections of the boundary. This is a change from India's earlier
sector-by-sector approach. The protocol on modalities for the implementation
of CBMs in the military field along the LAC reiterates commitments made in the
1996 agreement that remains the basis of all military CBMs between the two countries.
A three-tier structure to handle the boundary question has emerged. Moreover,
the leaders have provided the will and impetus. Next, the special representatives
who work in keeping with the guidelines oversee the negotiations and finally
the JWGs and experts will work out the technical details.
Military CBMs in 2005
There were several high-level meetings this year and the Chinese Chief of General
Staff of the PLA Liang Guanglie met with Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukerjee
in May in Delhi on the cooperation between the two armies. There was planning
for joint training of troops where unprecedented joint counter-terrorism and
peace keeping training programmes were planned in the aftermath of visits. Soldiers
participated in joint mountaineering expeditions. There were increased border
contacts like those that the special border personnel meeting held on 15 July
in the Choshul Sector to celebrate the 55th anniversary of establishment of
diplomatic relations. The meeting of Indian and Chinese troops in Eastern Ladakh
sector to celebrate Indian Independence Day on 15 August, meeting of Indian
military delegation and Chinese team at Choshul on 20 October were other such
Stronger defence ties were agreed upon. Representatives from the Indian armed
forces participated as observers in Sino-Russian military exercises, and Chinese
observers attended the recent military exercises by the Indian armed forces.
Trilateral military exercises involving Russia, India and China have been proposed.
Chinese naval ships - a Luhai-class destroyer and a Weishanhu auxiliary tanker
- berthed at the Kochi port on 28 November and participated in naval search
and rescue exercises with the Indian Navy. This was the first time that the
two navies held joint exercises in Indian jurisdiction. In 2003, the very first
naval exercises were held in Shanghai.
It is clear that military CBMs between the two countries are bearing fruit and
greater cooperation between the armed forces is evident. CBMs have gone a long
way in reducing suspicions about military aims and intentions. However, the
fact remains that military CBMs stay in place only so long as the political
will and initiative are forthcoming. There is a need to evolve CBMs that move
beyond the parameters of the boundary question. Though there is no doubting
the political will of the two parties to resolve outstanding issues, it would
make sense to encourage economic and trade CBMs that are able to maintain momentum
without excessive sponsorship by the state.
US-India Nuclear Energy Cooperation
Research Officer, IPCS
The Indo-US Nuclear Agreement was signed between US President Bush and Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh on 18 July 2005. It was a continuation of the Next Steps
in Strategic Partnership concluded in January 2004. The 10 year US-India Defence
Framework Agreement signed in June 2005 is a give and take arrangement where
India and US "reciprocally agree" to accept certain responsibilities
in exchange for civilian nuclear technology. The objectives of the deal are
to advance India's energy security through full civilian nuclear energy cooperation,
to strengthen Indo-US bilateral ties and to emerge as a "responsible nuclear
power" with advanced nuclear technology.
There are several benefits from the deal. First, it confers new respectability
on India as a responsible nuclear state. The US will provide smooth and uninterrupted
uranium supply to fuel nuclear plants in Tarapur and other reactors. Nuclear
energy can provide fuel at affordable rates especially in the face of depleting
hydrocarbon reserves and the spiralling costs of oil can be harmonized with
cheap nuclear energy. It enhances prospects of achieving higher percentage of
electricity generation as against the present output of 2.5 per cent. There
are prospects of reducing our energy production deficit through commissioning
more nuclear power reactors in a short period. It helps in bringing increased
foreign investments and trade.
far as the deal is concerned, India seeks to maintain "strategic equipoise" in
the region. India does not intend to be a junior partner to Washington. China
views the nuclear energy cooperation agreement between India and China as a mere
political move on the part of US to contain China by strengthening India
politically and economically. It is interpreted as Washington's efforts to
offset the regional balance in the Indian sub-continent. Their stand is that it
encourages other powers to provide nuclear energy supplies to states of their
interests. It thwarts the emergence of a pan-Asian security arrangement
excluding the US. It is seen as a hard blow to the non-proliferation regime.
has made it clear that it does not wish to engage in any US-sponsored
containment policy of China. It has assured that there is no intention to engage
in nuclear technology (weapons) competition with China. India looks forward to
enhancing mutual confidence with China to dispel its doubts over the deal.
The policy of nuclear restraint is the Indian vantage point. India has not
violated the non-proliferation regime, as it is not a member of NPT and has
not accepted its obligations. Non-proliferation regime would thus gain from
this deal. As Homi J Bhabha quipped, "No energy is more costly that
Professor LI Shaoxlan:
The Chinese foreign policy is based on economic development for achieving the
final target of peaceful rising. The three guiding principles that are pivotal
to China's foreign policy are
Friendship between China and major powers, international and regional,
Relations with surrounding countries, and
Relations with developing countries.
Sino-Indian ties are based on the aforementioned priorities. India is a major
power, is China's neighbour, as well as developing country. Around the world,
a much talked about topic is China's rise. India rising is also much discussed.
In fact, many Chinese scholars focus their study on comparing the rise of China
and India. Most of the Chinese scholars conclude that China and India's simultaneous
rising is beneficial to each other. It is generalisation as whole of Asia Rising.
The perception is that improvement in our relations will be not only benefit
both our 'rising', but also to the 'rising' of the region. The contention is:
Will there be no difference in our relations? While rising and re-emerging are
influences. China's national interest and influences will increasingly overlap
with Indian interests. There is an important need to strengthen and co-opt disputes.
have concerns. India and China have competitive influences and interest in at
least three of the five big regions. Of course, China has its concerns. China
has concerns whether US can use India to confront China. It is imperative for
our scholars to come together to understand each other's concerns and
Observations by Indian participants
is responsible for initial delays in resolving the border dispute with China.
Had India accepted the package proposal there might have been a settlement of
disputes by now. In the third round of talks, this could have happened, but
India did not go ahead as the political situation in India did not permit this.
Now, India is well placed politically. A timely resolution of the border dispute
augurs well for the region.
India has good relations with South Asian countries with whom China has relations
as well. India is looking at the rest of the world to improve relations between
India and Pakistan. Often we look at outside elements to move forward our relation
There are also suspicions on both sides about what we are doing in Myanmar and
in the Indian Ocean. There is a need for more communication among the naval
forces and cooperation in maritime trade. Facilities being set-up between Sikkim
and Tibet has great promise. There will be a measure of competition because
we are growing economically. However, that competition is healthy as it benefits
both our citizens. Increased exchanges at the political, military and economic
level will be beneficial.
The 1962 war was a very sad chapter in history. It is surprising that two countries
that were so friendly were unable to avert a misunderstanding. There could have
been a political solution had the Chinese strategic requirement of a route from
Xingjian to Lhasa been accepted. Since 1993, it is heartening to note that we
are moving in an amicable direction. The road ahead lies through economic exchange,
development, border trade and exchange of students.
Questions from Chinese Delegates & Responses
India and China are now located in a similar developing stage. Both
are developing countries who are 'rising' and are facing a number of non-traditional
security threats. In China, three areas are of concern: terrorism, separatism
and extremism. There is a strong linkage among them just as there are differences.
India has been a victim of terrorism for a long time, especially international
terrorism in the name of Islam. India has suffered a lot in Kashmir. Can you
share your experiences in dealing with terrorism under the banner of Islam?
Response: Terrorism - Islamic terrorism is predominant in Central Asia and
Pakistan. In Pakistan, it got a boost under President Zia-ul-Haq, who emphasized
Islamic education and madrasas. President Musharraf is a moderate and advocates
a tolerant Islam. The answer to extremism lies in modern education and tolerance,
which would take a long time.
It is first dissidence that later turns into terrorism. India has
experienced it not only with Islam, but also with Sikhs and Tamils. It could
be religious or ethnic. The leadership of the terrorist groups does not come
from ordinary madrasas, but from the middle class and upper middle class. They
aye often educated, frustrated nationalists. This is supported by the availability
of weapons and money.
The world is facing Islamic
terrorism and its leadership primarily comes from West Asia. Islamic terrorists,
whether they are in India, Indonesia or the Middle East are primarily opposed to
the western way of life.
In the next few years, fighting terrorism under the banner
of Islam will be the most important security challenge facing the world. India
is aware of the enormous seriousness that China has given to this problem. Islamic
fundamentalism developed in South Asia as a response to Soviet aggression in
Afghanistan. Whatever may have been the background of this development, its
repercussions resonates across the Muslim world. There are indigenous Muslims
in China, but they are not of Islamic orientation.
Relating to the market size of India and China, our bilateral trade
is disproportionate. Bilateral volume during 2005 is less than $20 million.
How could we upgrade bilateral trade?
Response: India remains at least 15 years behind China in trading infrastructure
- ports, highways and others. India needs time, not only to build better trade
ties with China, but with everybody. The current growth rates are very encouraging
and at this rate of growth, it will be very substantial in the near future.
However, there are problems like political suspicion for opening up dealership/ownership
to companies from China. If this suspicion is removed, Chinese companies would
not only be able to sell, but also manufacture in India. The other problem is
that most of the exports of China are manufactured by multinationals and this
trade is probably reflected under multinational company trade figures. More
joint ventures between Indian and Chinese entities are needed.
Chair's Remarks: Growth in bilateral trade between India and China is dramatic.
It has been growing at a rate of 60 per cent a year. This is not sufficient.
At the East Asian Summit in Kaula Lumpur, many such issues are under discussion.
Border trade between our countries is also not enough as there are major constraints.
For instance, the Nathula Pass had to wait for settlement of the Sikkim issue.
Currently, the buoyancy in trade is due to China's import of steel and cement
because of the huge construction activity in China. Significant breakthroughs
need to be made in other sectors as well.
Being big countries border issues should not be obstacles to our
bilateral relations. What kind of model of settlements of border issue is acceptable
to India? What is India's bottom line on this issue?
Response: Present realities need to be taken into consideration while resolving
the border issue. This has also been agreed by our governments. No specific
model can be laid down for a final settlement.
Chair's Remarks: The border issue is a complex issue. We have an excellent
framework to resolve this. The basis of this is 'mutual accommodation and mutual
interest'. The specific arrangements for a resolution are under discussion.
We expect to see an early breakthrough in this regard.