This article is written by Abhinav Rana, from University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGSIPU Dwarka. This article deals with Sino-Indian Bilateral Relations.
Table of Contents
On 1st April 1950, India became the first non-socialist country to form diplomatic ties with China. Presently on 1st April 2020, it has been 70 years old diplomatic relations of India and China. India and China being the only two emerging countries with a population of more than One Billion, played a key role in the collective role of developing countries. Looking at the past, India and China have gone through a lot of development despite the problems faced in maintaining them. In the 1950s leaders of both countries recommended the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. From the 1980s onwards both took the initiative to solve all the boundaries and border disputes through peaceful consultations and thus developed the bilateral relations. After 2013, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president and Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister commenced with “Hometown Diplomacy” and two informal summits were then held in Wuhan and Chennai.
Bilateral Relations in Earlier Times
On 1st April 1950, India became the very first non-socialist country to form diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. As soon as the relations were established the phrase “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” became famous.
In 1955, both the countries i.e India and China attended the Asian-African conference held at Bandung, Indonesia in which 29 countries participated. Both established the Bandung Spirit of solidarity, cooperation, and peaceful settlements. It led to the independence of Asia and Africa and the formation of NAM i.e Non-Aligned Movement. It means that the war which took place between two superpowers i.e USA and Russia, India was in a neutral position and took the third way out to tackle the situation.
The very first Non-Aligned Movement Summit took place at Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in September 1961.
The diplomatic relations of INDO-CHINA were adversely affected due to the border conflict between the two countries.
In 1976, the situation was gradually improving. Now, India and China once again developed ambassadorial relations.
In 1988, Rajiv Gandhi visited China and started the normalization of bilateral relations. Both accepted a mutual solution for border challenges and agreed to developed bilateral relations once again.
Since the independence of the Republic of India R. Venkataraman became the first-ever President to visit China.
In 1993 Prime Minister of India Narasimha Rao visited China and there an Agreement for India-China border Areas was signed between the Government of China and the Government of India on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control.
In 1996, Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited India. He was the first president to visit India since the Bilateral relation have been maintained between the two countries. Both the countries agreed to build a constructive partnership of cooperation towards the 21st century.
Again an agreement was signed between both the countries for the Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control.
India and China completed there 50 years of diplomatic relations. On this occasion, Indian President K R Narayanan visited China.
In the year 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao visited India. Joint Statement was signed and declared the establishment of the strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity between both the countries.
In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited China and a Shared Vision for the 21st Century” was agreed upon by both the governments.
The year 2011 was celebrated as the “India-China Exchange Year” as in that year India and china both held a series of people-to-people and cultural exchange activities.
They also signed a memorandum on the joint compilation for the ‘Encyclopedia of India-China Cultural Contacts’.
Again a markable year, 2012 was identified as ‘Year of China-India Friendship and Cooperation’.
The head of both the governments met each other on the sidelines of the 4th BRICS Summit and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
In 2015, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi visited China and went to President Xi Jinping’s hometown, Xi’an. In the same year, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of the 7th BRICS Summit in Ufa and the Leaders’ Meetings on Cooperation in East Asia in Malaysia. China has decided to open the Nathu La Pass to official Indian pilgrims in Xizang. Also, India celebrated India’s Year of Tourism in China.
The Chinese president held an informal meeting with the Indian Prime Minister in Wuhan, which established a new model of exchange between two leaders.
The Indian Prime Minister visited China to attend the SCO Summit in Qingdao.
The two leaders of the respected government again met on the sidelines of the 10th BRICS Summit and the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.
The second informal meeting was held in Mamallapuram, Chennai, which reaffirmed Wuhan’s consensus.
Both nations agreed to build a closer partnership for development, to improve in-depth strategic communication, to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and to promote exchanges and mutual learning between the two civilizations.
Both sides met on the fringe of the SCO Summit in Bishkek and the 11th BRICS Summit.
Presently, the year 2020 is marked as the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India.
It is also the China-India Year of Cultural Exchanges and People to People, where the two sides agreed to carry out 70 commemorative activities to demonstrate the historical connection between the two civilizations, as well as their growing bilateral relationship.
1959 became the turning point in Sino-Indian history when a serious border conflict emerged in the border areas. The Mcmahon line was the border of British India and China. After the British left, India considered that specific line as an established border with China. On the other hand, China failed to identify this line as a legitimate borderline. As China considered these areas as part of its own territory, it deployed a large army on the border. In response to Chinese aggression, India protested strongly at the national and international level. The problem could not be solved; Meanwhile, there was a rebellion in Tibet that intensified the dispute.
This small confrontation finally ended in a war in 1962 between India and China, also known as a border conflict. India retaliated against China’s hostility at the borders and adopted a routing policy. The routing policy had been initiated by India’s prime minister, Jawaher Lal Nehru, in which India could move its heavy troops to border areas. Indian troops were familiar with the CIA, which confirmed that China is in no position to attack India. India launched an army to attack China in Ladakh and Thagla. Although India attacked China, its troops were poorly trained for mountain warfare. They had no idea what to do in these mountainous areas and how to fight in those tough areas. The Indian army, on the other hand, was too weak to defeat Chinese troops. China attacked India back with a huge and well-disciplined army, fully familiar with weapons. China attacked Indian troops in Ladakh. Two attempts were made by the Chinese army and they got rid of Indian troops. The Chinese crushed the Indian army. It was a brief war, but a decisive meeting between India and China. This conflict had far-reaching repercussions for the subcontinent.
India was pursuing a policy of non-alignment before this war. This war raised a major issue related to India’s military weakness and policy of misalignment. Now, at this stage, India must seek support from other foreign countries to develop its defence on new and strong foundations. India had to seek help from the communist bloc or the capitalist bloc. India thought to join the imperialist countries. The Chinese invasion forced India to accumulate weapons. Because of this war, Americans have also had a chance to use this condition for their own benefits and have begun to think that India would become a state that would fight the communist bloc of a capitalist bloc.
Pakistan is another important country in Asia and shares borders with India and China. Pakistan fully supported China in its claim in the 1962 war. This war provided a vital opportunity for Pakistan to reevaluate the direction and objectives of its foreign policy. India’s sudden weakness had become Pakistan’s new strength. Pakistan had a chance to exploit these conditions for its own benefits. The first and main issue between Pakistan and India was the Kashmir dispute at that time. Because of this war, India faced considerable pressure at the international level to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Foreign Minister at that time, demanded an adequate solution to this problem. India was very close to resolving the Kashmir dispute, but the international community’s lack of commitment and Bhutto’s lack of vision overturned that dream. India was not interested in solving the problem. It was buying time to secure its limits against Pakistan’s attack. Many critics saw this as an opportunity to resolve the problem and argued that Pakistan should have attacked India while it was involved in a conflict with China.
Another significant consequence was that China started looking for any ally that could sustain it in difficult times, morally, if not materially. In that case, Pakistan was an obvious choice for China to maintain a lasting relationship. The old notion of “Hindi Cheeni Bhai Bhai” had been replaced and reformulated by “Pak Cheen Dosti”. The friendship of Pakistan and China had become very strong and that friendship still continues. The Sino-Indian war left some problems for Pakistan, and on the one hand, India responded with antagonism to China’s friendship. India began to believe that China would support Pakistan against India in the future in all events that will occur. This attitude brought certain changes in Pakistan’s foreign policy and it started to make foreign policies oriented towards India.
The Sino-Indian war was a decisive conflict; left many repercussions for the subcontinent. China has gained importance in the subcontinent and also in the international arena. On the other hand, Pakistan’s foreign policy has also changed. India’s attitudes towards China and Pakistan began to change and a new system of balance of power emerged on the subcontinent.
India-China-relations goes back to over 2,000 years prior, however, the modern relationship started in 1950 when India got one of the primary nations to end formal ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and perceive the PRC as the government of Mainland China.
China and India are the two most crowded nations and quickest developing significant economies. Development in political and financial impact has expanded the centrality of their bilateral relationship.
Social and monetary relations among China and India go back to old occasions. The Silk Road not just filled in as a significant exchange course among India and China, but at the same time is credited for encouraging the spread of Buddhism from India to East Asia.
During World War II, India and China both assumed a critical job in ending the advancement of Imperial Japan.
Relations between contemporary China and India have been described by outskirt questions, bringing about three military clashes — the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Chola episode in 1967, and the 1987 Sino-Indian encounter.
In any case, since the late 1980s, the two nations have effectively revamped strategic and financial ties. In 2008, China turned into India’s biggest exchanging accomplice and the two nations have additionally broadened their vital and military relations. Presently, in 2020 India and China have completed there 70 years of bilateral relations and both are moving forward for a much more sweet and cherished relationship.
Effect of COVID-19 on relations of India-China
As the first case of COVID-19 was reported in China, somewhere or the other china is being criticised for the disease. But when we talk about INDO-CHINA relations India has been careful enough not to blame China for this pandemic disease spreading at a rapid rate. External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar tweeted saying he had discussed with both State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the coronavirus and made joint efforts in this regard. China has favoured India by saying that it “stands ready to share its experience in epidemic prevention and control and diagnosis and treatment, and provide further support and assistance to the best of its capability.
Also, COVID-19 has put a break on Xi Jinping, Chinese President’s dream project i.e the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
However, it can be said that this pandemic could be tackled more efficiently if china had been transparent.
Today’s achievements in India-China relations have incorporated the great efforts of several generations.
Both nations (India and China) needs to follow this:
- Lead: It means reaching consensus and guiding the direction of the development of bilateral relations under the guidance of leaders of both nations.
- Transmission: It means transmitting the consensus of leaders at all levels and translating it into cooperation and tangible results.
- Shaping: It means going beyond the way of managing differences, actively shaping bilateral relations and accumulating positive momentum.
- Integration: It means strengthening exchanges and cooperation, promoting convergence of interests and achieving common development.
At this time, it is particularly important to revisit the original aspiration to establish diplomatic relations 70 years ago and to carry forward the spirit of good neighbourliness and friendship, unity and cooperation.
So, we can conclude by saying that SINO-INDIAN Bilateral relations are much stronger than as compared to that of China with any other country. In 1950s India was the first-ever country to make diplomatic ties with China. Differences also arose between the two countries at some point of such as the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Chola incident in 1967 etc but putting these differences aside and coming to a peaceful solution both continued their ties. Now after going through all the differences and again going hand in hand both the countries have completed there 70 years of Diplomatic relations.