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Modi and Xi to meet at Wuhan in an 'informal summit' on April 27-28
Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jingping are meeting informally at Wuhan city of central China on Friday. Unprecedented in optimism and hopes, it has potential to reset future course of action with ramifications for rest of the world. Huge scope for collaboration but huge differences, can the two leaders overcome and charter new course of action!

After strained relation post 73-day-long Doklam stand-off, two powerful neighbours are making an endeavour to reset the way ahead. There are many serious irreconcilable differences as well as huge opportunities. Strategic and economic cooperation and not belligerence is the way ahead.

Chinese arrogance on NSG and Pakistan-sponsored terror and the CPEC passing through POK are well known and its difficult for India to fallback on any of these issues. For China, the CPEC/BRI is most prestigious investment which will hurl China as a dominating economic super power. Its fear of sea lane of communications (SLOCs) passing through the Indian Ocean and Strait of Malacca with potential of chocking the Chinese economy is China's biggest fear. Chinese unity is also under threat. Muslims in Uighur in Xingjiang region and the Tibet plateau both are restive and Chinese have deployed massive resources to manage discontent through use of brutal physical force, isolating areas/populace from rest of the world and of course forcing demographic change by settling Hans along with huge investments.

However, these measures are causing backlash with very severe ramifications, in worst case scenario, may even lead to China's disintegration just like the Soviet Union. Also, China's booming economy is largely dependent on exports as it thrives upon overwhelming foreign markets with cheap goods via huge subsidies. However, this has led to local markets closing down leaving millions jobless and huge trade deficit. Although acceptable initially, the policy is now being resented due huge trade imbalances. This has led to dumping penalties and resistance to cheap goods dumping. Chinese economy would be hit and unemployment would rise adding to social unrest and the government becoming vulnerable.

China's investments are also under scanner due to stringent conditions, making host nations heavily dependent and vulnerable to economic blackmail. Nations are scared or extremely cautious of Chinese investments having learnt of consequences faced by others. China is seen as brutally demanding and coercive partner treating host nations with contempt.

India is a rising economy and thus a preference of world investors, also being a huge unpenetrated market. Its appetite for consumer goods is unparalleled. India's defence modernisation is another huge attraction for world's arms manufacturers. Top arms manufacturers are willing to produce in India as well as willing to share cutting edge classified technology in exchange of orders. As a soft power, India is miles ahead and it is perceived as a caring and benevolent nation.

Chinese domination of the Indian Ocean or Asian region is unacceptable to India due its economy and stature. Against Chinese belligerence India desires cooperation and peaceful resolutions of disagreements.

China'sagenda for the summit

  • India's support for CPEC/BRI

  • Less pressure on Pakistan on the terror front

  • No trade restrictions to Chinese companies in telecommunications

  • India to keep control over Dalai Lama

  • India should stay away from oil exploration in South China Sea in conjunction with Vietnam

  • No providing Brahmos to Vietnam

India'sagenda for the summit

  • NSG membership for India

  • No economic activity in POK or joint ventures in Afghanistan

  • China should dissuade Pakistanfrom exporting terror to India/Afghanistan

  • No unfriendly activities on Indo-China borders

  • Opening Chinese markets to Indian firms to ensure balanced trade

There is bound to be discussion on overlapping interests/concerns. Our neighbours are being lured by China due to money power causing deep concerns and mistrust between the two countries.

Syria, Iran vs West's belligerence and managing towards beneficial culmination. West not cancelling Iran's nuclear deal is a concern for both India and China. Middle East oil price management mechanism too is expected to be discussed.

Challenge

Both leaders are very strong nationalists and wish to take their respective nations to greater heights of success and glory. Cooperation suits both but due to overlapping areas of interest it would demand great statesmanship to come to balanced posture without losing long term strategic interests/allies.

World oil price management, peace in Middle East, Afghanistan and investments should be doable to advantage of both.

PM Modi would be somewhat vulnerable due to the upcoming general elections in 2019 to give any concessions which could be exploited as a sell out by opposition parties but extremely job creating investments with short term gestation periods would be desirable. Xi Jingping would like access to Indian markets without any Chinese specific restrictions is one area where agreement is possible.

Great opportunity with fresh decisions for resetting future through cooperation could pave the way for both rising to top as economic and military powers. Both strong nationalist leaders would aim at that without antagonising own interests is tough challenge.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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