Xi calls Modi to Apec meeting, scores over US

Discussion in 'China' started by CCP, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. CCP

    CCP Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 19, 2014
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    The Times of India
    NEW DELHI: Chinese President Xi Jinping has stolen a march over everyone else, prominently the US, by inviting India to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting in China in November. During his first meeting with PM Narendra Modi at Fortaleza, Brazil, Xi not only invited India to the Apec meet but asked India to deepen its involvement in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

    Modi, however, underscored India's priorities by emphasising the importance of resolving the boundary dispute, saying it would set an example to the world on conflict resolution. He also insisted to Xi that peace and tranquillity must be maintained on the border until the resolution, a reference to frequent incursions by Chinese troops across the Line of Actual Control.

    Briefing journalists, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, "This is an important invitation because this is the first time India has been invited to an Apec meeting." However, no dates were mentioned. These will be worked out by diplomatic channels, and we will work on these. But ... we think this is a significant gesture... He said that meeting is focused on 'partnership and connectivity'."

    Xi's invitation to Modi does not actually amount to inviting India to join the global body, because it would need consensus among members for that to happen. But the very fact that the Chinese president invited India, before say, the US, is an important political point that Xi was making, signaling a courting of India on a global scale. Modi is scheduled to have two very big summits later this year that would deeply interest the Chinese president -- with Shinzo Abe in Japan and Barack Obama in Washington.

    The Xi-Modi meeting, originally scheduled for 40 minutes stretched to over 80 minutes, including translations.

    While inviting China to invest in India's infrastructure sector, Modi equally clearly stressed that the growing trade imbalance between India and China needed to be addressed fast. Xi suggested China might open its market to services exports from India. Modi also suggested opening a new route to Kailash-Manasarovar for Indian travelers. This has been a long-standing Indian request. Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit India in September while Modi accepted an invitation to visit China also in the near future.

    India received Xi's APEC invite cautiously, conscious of the importance of the invitation but not sure whether political landmines lurked behind. For almost two decades, India has asked for entry to this economic organization -- but after 1997, India was fobbed off saying there was a moratorium on new members. This expired in 2010, around the time when India started to struggle with its economy, policy paralysis and a downturn in its relations with the US. In 2014, as US and India prepare for the first Obama-Modi summit, this idea has been resurrected and is currently doing the rounds of the think tanks in Washington.

    Chinese official media reported Xi also invited India to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member. The bank was conceived by China to fund projects in Asia. China has a controlling stake in it. Its unclear whether India would accept the invitation, or whether it was a way to blunt Indian opposition to making Shanghai home of the new BRICS bank.

    India made a determined pitch to host the BRICS Bank in New Delhi, as opposed to Shanghai. Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman told journalists, "It will be every country's desire, and so will it be India's, to have it in India, because Delhi or any city in India has its natural advantages, English-speaking, very skilled manpower, and if you look at the geographical position of all the BRICS countries, the five of them, India is very centrally located." The tussle between China and India on this issue overshadowed the launch of the bank.

    Xi's open invitation to Modi to attend APEC is an astute political move, emphasizing China's new superpower status. But it might also put the US in a spot where India's potential membership to APEC is concerned. Alyssa Ayres of the US think-tank, Council for Foreign Relations recently suggested in a paper that US should get India into the APEC tent. "For US interests, further delay on considering India is both a strategic and tactical mistake. ... An India within APEC —responsible for upholding its commitments— would likely ameliorate some of the market-access concerns troubling US-India economic ties," she wrote.


    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
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  3. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

    Dec 20, 2012
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    :lol: at all those who said Modi would visit Japan first

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