India, China To Discuss Afghan Situation, Trade Protectionism

Sushma Swaraj is expected to meet her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Kyrgyzstan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers meet on May 20-21. The meet could set the stage for a possible meeting b/w the Indian PM and the Chinese President in Bishkek on the sidelines of the SCO Summit on June 14-15

NEW DELHI: India and China armed with the goodwill created by designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council is stepping up engagements to infuse momentum in bilateral partnership including coordination on key global challenges – Afghanistan, Iran and trade protectionism.

Sushma Swaraj is expected to meet her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Kyrgyzstan at the SCO Foreign Ministers meet on April 20-21 in what will be first Ministerial level engagement since China decided to lift technical hold to designate Azhar under the 1267 Sanctions Committee. The two Ministers among other issues could explore measures to fight challenges emanating from US trade protectionism and fallout following withdrawal of waiver for Iranian oil imports.

The Foreign Minster meet will set stage for a possible meeting between Indian PM and the Chinese President at Bishkek on the side lines of the SCO Summit on June 14-15. The two leaders are also expected to meet later in June in RIC and BRICS format on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Japan. The Chinese President is scheduled to visit India in the last quarter of this year for the second edition of the informal Summit. India wants China to do more on Pak-based terror infrastructure.

Any rise in global oil prices in the absence of Iran from world energy market could be a challenge for the new government in Delhi that will be sworn in after May 23. Simultaneously, while Sino-US trade war presents an opportunity for Indian exports to USA, there could be implications on both commodity prices and currencies as the trade war escalates. While the dollar may get stronger and pressurise the rupee, the continuation of trade war can cause volatility. If the Sino-US trade war continues global trade could get more volatile and also affect investment flows.

Interestingly, India held back to back consultations with USA and China on Afghan situation last. Following US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad’s trip here, Delhi and Beijing held consultations last week for joint projects in Afghanistan amid US-led reconciliation efforts.

Chinese Special Envoy on Afghanistan Ambassador Deng Xijun held talks on the subject with Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. “The two sides agreed to consult closely on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and carry forward the decision taken by the leadership of the two countries on joint cooperation in Afghanistan,” MEA spokesperson tweeted last Friday. India and China have launched a joint training program for Afghan diplomats as decided in the Wuhan summit.

India desires to coordinate its position with China, Russia and other countries in the region to ensure that its interests are safeguarded as and when the US pulls its troops out of the country.




India, China To Discuss Afghan Situation, Trade Protectionism