G20 should be an opportunity for China-India engagement
Published: Nov 29, 2022 12:03 AM Updated: Nov 28, 2022 11:58 PM
Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

Pankaj Saran, India's former deputy national security adviser, said dealing with China would be a "challenge" for India during its G20 presidency, and New Delhi would adopt a "cautious approach" toward Beijing, Indian news agency PTI reported on Sunday.

This somewhat pessimistic judgment comes from some Indian politician's excessive anxiety over the "China-India competition." These worries are unnecessary.

If India wants to assure that its G20 presidency will be "inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented," as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said earlier this month, the country should have a more positive attitude toward its cooperation and interaction with other G20 members, including China. At the very least, the G20 presidency should arrive as an opportunity, instead of a challenge, for India's interaction with China as well as the rest of the world.

From the very beginning, the G20 summit was born against the background of jointly responding to the 2008 financial crisis, which has made economic coordination one of the important themes of this platform that includes both developed and developing economies. When the leaders of the G20 first met in 2008, they successfully managed to save the global economy from the worst financial crisis in more than 70 years.

Now, as the global economy is facing storm once again, this platform should play a key role in coordinating major economies to jointly tackle risks and promote recovery. In this sense, India's upcoming G20 presidency won't be an easy job.

It comes as no surprise that Saran, as India's former deputy national security adviser, has sought to shift attention toward the China-India border dispute when he talked about India's G20 presidency, saying China has to translate its words into deeds on "how it respects India's sovereignty, territorial integrity." In recent years, old problems remained unsolved in China-India relations while some new problems have surfaced, although China has repeatedly reiterated its stance on those issues.

Indian politicians should be aware that the G20 is not an appropriate platform to discuss China-India border disputes. If India sees itself as a big power, it should get accustomed to the many divergences it has with China, and should try to properly manage these divergences.

India assumes the presidency of G20 at a time when the world is grappling with geopolitical tensions, an economic slowdown and rising food and energy prices. Against this backdrop, the next G20 summit should play an important role in global economic governance. India has reportedly identified five priority issues - growth and prosperity, resilient global value chains, MSMEs, logistics, and WTO reform - under its G20 presidency. These issues cannot be achieved without the support of China, the world's second largest economy.

As two important economies in the world, China and India should work together and coordinate efforts to deal with the global economic crisis under multilateral platforms like G20. Now that India has become the fifth largest economy in the world, it should shoulder more responsibilities in promoting the rapid recovery of the global economy in the wake of the epidemic.

For many years, China has made an important contribution of around 30 percent to the global economy. It has indisputably become a stabilizer of the world economy. At the juncture that many economies in the world are still facing turmoil and under the threat of recession, China and India should further deepen their economic and trade cooperation between their highly complementary economies, jointly secure global economic stability.

As two large developing countries, China and India share similar positions on many issues in the G20. In the face of various challenges such as climate change, the lingering impacts of COVID-19, and the turmoil in the international financial market, it is in the interests of both countries to strengthen economic coordination and cooperation.

With India assuming the presidency of G20 on December 1, New Delhi is eager to project the presidency as an opportunity to underline its emerging status on global economic affairs and try to take on greater responsibility in driving global economic recovery. To achieve its goals, India should put aside many geopolitical concerns to jointly participate in the economic and trade cooperation efforts under its G20 presidency. The economies of China and India are deeply intertwined, and win-win cooperation is the only way to help them promote a strong economic rebound.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.