It is necessary for China, India to mend their fraught relations
Published: Mar 17, 2022 08:23 PM
Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

While it is unclear whether resisting the mounting pressure from the US government to take a side on the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be a turning point for China-India relations in the coming months and years, there are indeed mounting calls in both countries asking for better relationship between the two Asian population giants. 

India said on Wednesday it had approved foreign investment of $1.79 billion from its neighboring countries, Reuters reported.

It marks the first statement from India since it earlier revised its Foreign Direct Investment policy for countries that share a land border with India, which stipulated that foreign direct investment from its neighbors would need prior approval from New Delhi, a move seen as targeting China.

And, some media reports claim India is now considering easing curbs on Chinese investments, which, if proved to be true, will be a very positive development poised to improve the bilateral relations. 

The move is certainly laudable, because easing tensions and improving relations between the two Asian giants will bring many economic and trade cooperation opportunities, and benefit both peoples. 

In fact, China and India share common interests on many fronts. For instance, the West recently pointed the finger at India for reportedly considering buying Russian oil at a discounted price. But it is India's legitimate right to develop economic and trade relations with Russia based on its own national interests. Similarly, China has also been under pressure from the West for opposing unilateral sanctions and carrying out normal trade with Russia, even though there is nothing wrong with China's stance.

China and India are both Asian economic powerhouses with a combined population of more than 2.8 billion, or a third of the world's total population. Only through close cooperation and stable development can the two countries increase their discourse power and formulate their own foreign and trade policies independently in accordance with their own needs.

Only in a peaceful environment can China and India give play to their greatest economic and trade potential. If India still chooses to join a "small bloc" which the US masterminded to contain China, it will be detrimental not only to the regional stability, but also to its own social and economic development.

China's strength in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors could provide solid gain to India's economic development, while India's advantages in the pharmaceutical and information technology sectors also mean there is plenty of room for cooperation with China. Seen from a broader view, a stable development and cooperation between the region's two largest economies will also be beneficial for the economic prosperity of Asia as a whole.

In the past, India rolled out a policy requiring Chinese investments to be submitted in advance for approval by New Delhi, which has undoubtedly increased the cost and uncertainty of investing in India for Chinese companies, and also disrupted normal trade and investment between the two countries. It is hoped that India could send more positive signals in terms of approval speed, and fair treatment of Chinese businesses.

Fundamentally speaking, the sound development of economic and trade cooperation between China and India must be based on the repairing of bilateral ties. Both countries should use any window of opportunity to quickly mend this important relationship.

The author is an editor with the Global Times.