India should not have illusions of border talk at BRICS summit

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/22 23:28:39

BRICS meeting is platform for development cooperation, not conflict mediation: analyst

The graphics shows an appendix released in the document titled "The Facts and China's Position Concerning the Indian Border Troops' Crossing of the China-India Boundary in the Sikkim Sector into the Chinese Territory." (Xinhua/Qu Zhendong)

China will not allow border tensions with India to impact the upcoming BRICS summit in September, and the issue might not even be mentioned as India has not met China's preconditions for dialogue, Chinese experts noted.

India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Monday, "There is a deadlock going on at Doklam between India and China. I believe there will be a solution soon. I hope China will undertake a positive initiative," the Times of India reported.

Chinese observers said that China would not make concessions to India while it is sabotaging Chinese sovereignty.

"If India hopes to discuss this issue during the summit, they'll have to think again," Chen Fengying, former Director of the Institute of World Economy, under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. He added that there will not be any discussion of the standoff at any multilateral occasion, or even during bilateral occasions.

"We won't allow any other country to negotiate with us about our territory," Chen said.

Some foreign media, such as the Hindustan Times and Reuters, published reports recently claiming that the China-India border conflict is casting a shadow ahead of the ninth BRICS summit, which will be held in Xiamen, Southeast China's Fujian Province from September 3-5.

The Reuters report said China has been briefing foreign diplomats on the standoff, quoting an anonymous "Asian diplomat," who allegedly attended the briefing, as saying that "China really wants to resolve this ahead of the BRICS summit. It doesn't want anything to affect the atmosphere."

"The BRICS summit is a multilateral meeting for cooperation between rising economies rather than an emergency meeting for conflict mediation between two countries. There are many other issues, such as economies, trade, global governance, cyberspace and development that need to be discussed, so the China-India border issue won't dominate the summit," said Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

"China has made it very clear that the withdrawal of the trespassing Indian troops is the precondition for negotiations, so unless India meets this precondition, China won't mention the border issue on any occasion at the summit, not even in bilateral meetings with India," said Ye Hailin, director of the National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The BRICS summit aims to provide development opportunities to all members, and it would be unwise for India to use the platform to vent its disagreement on the border issue with China, Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

India will not abandon this platform since it also needs to gain international support and achieve cooperation with other BRICS countries, Qian Feng, an expert at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, told the Global Times.

Indian online news site the Financial Express reported that India gained some meaningful achievements from the summit last year. India and Russia signed a $5 billion deal for an S-400 air defense system on the sidelines of the 2016 BRICS Summit in Goa, India, during which India also gained counter-terrorism support from other BRICS members in last year's summit, including China.

Four objectives

China is busy readying for the upcoming BRICS summit, so that countries can make full use of the occasion to enhance cooperation and seek development, Chen said.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi said in February that China put forward four objectives that it believes can be achieved at the BRICS leaders' summit, which include promoting members' solidarity and collaboration, improving global governance, deepening pragmatic cooperation to achieve mutual benefit, increasing people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing public support and strengthening institutional mechanisms and improving cooperation platforms.

"The issue of BRICS development has since gone beyond its member states. As an open platform, BRICS Plus puts concern on Africa and Latin America, so the influence of BRICS will become more comprehensive," Chen said.

She added that in order to broaden the scope of their activities and be sustainable in the long-run, the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will extend their services to Africa and Latin America to finance development projects.

Kenya and Thailand have both been invited to next month's BRICS summit.


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