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Indo-China relations: Analysts feel China's primary focus is on trade ties with India, resolving border issues not priority
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held the summit level talks today at New Delhi. During the meeting both the leaders held discussion on border issues and trade. PM Modi raised the issue of Chinese incursion into Indian territory, which has become a regular affair these days.

Later both the leaders issued a joint statement to the media. Addressing media Narendra Modi emphasised on the need of demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on an early basis to ensure peace and cooperation in the area.

To this Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China would work to settle the border issue at the earliest date. He reasoned that since the border is not demarcated some incidents are taking place. But the Chinese president emphasised that both the countries were capable of settling it at various levels so that they won't have a bigger impact.

In a latest incident of incursion in the Indian territory Chinese Army entered into Chumar area and refused to retreat. According to various media reports around 1000 Chinese soldiers of People's Liberation Army (PLA) encroached 500 metres into the Chumar area.

Apart from this encroachment Chinese nomads, Rebos have also pitched their tents with the help of Chinese Army in Ladakh's Demchok. This issue is also going on.

Both the incursions are surprising as they have taken place at a time when the Chinese president is on a three day visit to India. Xi has come with an ambition to strengthen bilateral relations in the wake of PM Narendra Modi's recent visit to Japan, which enabled India and Japan to write new chapters in the direction of bilateral relations especially on trade front.

India-Japan's growing proximity is a big concern for the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping's visit was aimed at strengthening Sino-India relations in the direction of Indo-Japan relations.

But with the latest episodes of incursion at the border, a question mark is being raised on the Chinese intentions regarding relations with India. Is the Communist nation serious toward addressing the border related issues with India or it is only interested in trade?

Dr. Ritu Aggarwal, professor at JNU's Department of East Asian Studies, says that the first priority of visiting Chinese president is to develop trade relations with India, not to find solution of border issues.

"The thing is that the border issues have been pushing up since last decade. And we cannot think of a solution of the border dispute in a day or two. They have simple economic diplomacy with which they have come to India and they want to take this agenda first. And later on only they will be, you know....(looking toward border issues). They will be pushing the border issue may be backseat or will gradually resolve it as the friendship develops. Because I think what is more important for them is not simply dissolving this bilateral dispute between the two countries. The main agenda is how to use East Asia and South Asia to come to an economic cooperative framework. That is the main agenda and for that only he has come to India," said Dr. Aggarwal.

Brig (retd.) Arun Bajpai, Indian Army says that India knows it very well that China cannot be a friend and whatever it is doing to please India is all cosmetic.

"Why China has invested its billions of dollars in Pakistan, a dead country, a bankrupt country and any country full of terror. Simple, it brings up Pakistan against India. It will not allow India to come up at par with China because it shows India has a potential. So, all this what you are saying today, Sabarmati etc is facade, it is all cosmetic thing. But we are also not fool. The current PM Narendra Modi government has given two indications. First, Modi has given a statement in Japan that is 18th century mind set of expanding your boundary by military power is not applicable in 21st century. That was aimed at China. India has signed an agreement with Vietnam against the wishes of China. So, the matter is very simple that India also recognise that China can never be a friend."

Brig Bajpai added that India should continue to do business with China, but must not get lost into the perception of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai because it would be a mistake leading to situation like in 1962.

"And besides China is buying time and it is giving you and me laddus (showing a mirage) with the basic aim that to keep the border quite till it handle other issues with Japan and East Asian country. Thats my views, so far as China is concerned, its a snake we cannot depend on it. And yes, do business with it, let them invest money in India but if you make a mistake of Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai then be assure that you are leading to another 1962," said Brig Bajpai.

Naresh Chandra, a former Indian Ambassador to the US, is in favor that India continue its economic ties with China despit border disputes.

"See both the countries are interested in resolving border issues, but problem is that, the terms on which they want to resolve it are very different. Dialogues will keep on going. The context is that they feel border issue should not stand in the way of cooperation. Such issues between countries goes on and on. So, since both the markets are emerging and growing, it is good if the cooperation at the economic front between the two countries increases. If there is any agreement which can benefit India and China both then wisdom lies in pursuing it. That is what Prime Minister is striving at," said Chandra.

Major General (Retd.) Afsir Karim, Indian Army, says that China wants India to denounce its claim over Aksai Chin to resolve border issues, which India will never do.

"See, China's demand is very clear on border that, if Aksai Chin is exchanged for Arunachal the border issue will be solved. India claims Aksai Chin and they (China) say it's not yours. And they (China) cannot claim Arunachal Pradesh which is definitely not theirs. So, China has said in past that India should bargain and give up the claim of Aksai Chin and the China will give up their claims on other places, but India has not agreed to this," said Afsir Karim. 

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