It’s official that Chinese President Xi-Jinping is not coming to Delhi to attend the G20 summit hosted by its current presidency India. This has more repercussions for China than India or others members of this highly influential geo-political grouping in the world. The matrix of the current world order and the heights where India stands at the moment has been clearly misread by China and its Supreme leader.
China is sending its Prime Minister Li Qiang to the summit in Delhi commencing on September 19 and will conclude next day. In Chinese hierarchy, the prime minister, though technically second in command, in reality is far below the president. All powers are concentrated in President, and especially since XI Jinping assumed office.
The disconcerting factor is that Xi is missing the G20 summit for the first time since 2013. He has participated in all the summits since and contributed by way of his interaction with other world leaders.
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The Delhi summit is being held at crucial times when the whole world is looking at four things – (a) Indo-China relations in the wake of border tensions in eastern Ladakh which have already entered fourth year with little or no signs of easing anytime soon and it is important for both the countries to resolve the issue in the overall stability and peace in the region, (b) Sino-Us relations , which are on the rocks and the two largest economies of the world are at loggerheads and doing everything to undercut each other , a meeting between the US president Joe Biden and XI, had he visited, could have opened a window for them to address the issues of mutual concern,(c) Ukraine war which is now more than one and a half-year old , and continuing , is also tangled among Russia, Ukraine , US and China , the world experiencing serious economic crisis owing to the war has pinned hopes on the superpowers to end it at the earliest, ( d) China and world need to readjust their relationship owing to the developments at global level.
India, since it assumed presidency from Indonesia in Bali last year, it has led the affairs of the grouping, on two scales by pr9moting the spirit one earth, one family in its universal appeal of “Vasudeva Kattumbah” and also leading the grouping in breaking barriers, as it has not shied away from addressing the tough issues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “it’s not an era of war,” is the script that he has written for the 21st century and thereafter. It is a game changer in the world affairs
Prime Minister has shown the way by following his phrase in letter and spirit. It did not go in for war with China even after the brief deadly encounter in Galwan Valley along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh on June 15/16, 2020 in which the country lost 20 soldiers. India sought to, and practically did the same, ease tensions by resorting to dialogue and diplomacy. Several rounds of talks have been held with China – at least 19 rounds of talks have been held at the military commander levels, the defense, foreign ministers too have exchanged their views on the issue. India has made it plain to Beijing that “normalization of relations cannot be forged in the circumstances in which troops are facing each other on the borders.”. China, intoxicated by its arrogance and aggression is walking away from this issue on the table. It is trying to set the changed situation on the borders as an all-time reality for the future.
It seems that Xi Jinping created conditions ahead of the G20 summit in Delhi to absent himself, and send Prime Minister Li Qiang instead. First China gave a different version of the talks between XI and Modi in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the two met on the side lines of BRICS summit on August 23. This was an attempt to distort the spirit of the meeting. Within days, China released what it called “Standard map” on August 28, showing Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin on it as the Chinese territories. India had lost Aksai Chin in 1962 war, and China is having physical possession of it, but that doesn’t change the reality that Aksai Chin belonged to India. And, Arunachal Pradesh in north-east is part of Sovereign India. One gets the idea that China was doing it deliberately to avoid visiting Delhi and addressing the issues – China is in retreat. Its economy is already shrinking, investors, domestic and foreign, are deserting, and its current arrogance may further alienate it geopolitically in the world. Non-participation in 18th G 20 summit in Delhi has shown that how China is becoming unsure of itself.
(Arun Joshi is author of “Eyewitness Kashmir; Teetering on Nuclear War and senior journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, writes on South Asian affairs)
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