India's recent policy on Dalai shows goodwill
Sino-Indian ties have been recovering because of the forthcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in China, experts said, but warned that if India wants China to cooperate more deeply, it needs to show greater sincerity to strengthen mutual trust.
"India has made some moves to repair bilateral ties with China, such as a ban on the Dalai Lama's activity in New Delhi last month. India wants to foster a friendly atmosphere before the SCO Summit," Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
This year's SCO Summit will be held in Qingdao, Shandong Province, in June. India joined the SCO last year.
On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, "This year, under the guidance of the two countries' leaders, relations between China and India have enjoyed a positive momentum with close exchanges and new cooperation at various levels."
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, held talks with Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Friday. The two countries also held the fifth meeting of the China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing on Saturday.
The two sides likewise held meetings on border affairs and trans-boundary river working mechanisms, Hua said.
India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to visit China this Saturday and hold bilateral talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. India's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will also visit China next week and hold dialogue with her counterpart, Hindustan Times reported.
Last month, New Delhi ordered Indian officials to stay away from activities organized by Dalai Lama's group, and also banned a rally organized by Dalai Lama's group in New Delhi.
India's attitude toward a similar issue is quite different from last year, Lin Minwang, a professor at Fudan University's Center for South Asian Studies, told the Global Times. "This is the result of China's policy formed by both tough struggle and sincere cooperation with India."
When Beijing protested the Dalai Lama's activities in India last year, New Delhi called it "interference in India's domestic affairs." So New Delhi is apparently changing its policy toward China, Lin noted.
"If Sino-Indian ties remain intense or unfriendly like last year, it would be embarrassing for its leader to visit Qingdao, and the bilateral meeting with the Chinese leader will not materialize, so New Delhi has to repair ties with China and show its sincerity," Hu said.
However, Chinese experts remain cautious about the further improvement of bilateral ties. Lin said, "We don't know if India's policy toward China is a long-term strategic change or a temporary tactical move."
At the fifth meeting of the China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing, India asked for China's help to speed-up the Bangalore-Chennai train corridor, Indian media Economic Times reported on Sunday.
"India is cooperating with Japan on its railway projects, but we consider the railway projects in India risky since India imposed some excessive demands on Japan, adding that the cost to upgrade its railway system is huge, so China will remain cautious, and without enough political mutual trust and détente in the border area, a deeper cooperation is unlikely to happen," Hu said.