India China informal summit Current Affairs - 2020

India and China celebrate their 70th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations

India and China postponed all the events planned to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the leaders exchanged congratulatory messages.

Highlights

India was the first non-communist country in Asia to establish diplomatic relations with People’s Republic of China. Today the countries have strong trade relations despite of small irritants like border issues. In 2019, India-China trade reached 90.1 billion USD. Also, India has been pressing China to open its markets for Indian pharmaceuticals and IT companies. This is being done by India to reduce the trade deficit of 57 billion USD with China.

Informal Summit

In November 2019, as a part of commemorating 70 years of diplomatic ties, the countries agreed to finalise 70 activities. This was done during the Second Informal summit of President Xi Jing Ping and PM Modi. The 70 celebrated activities included trade promotion events, military exchanges and cultural and religious activities.

Chinese President Xi in Nepal

After Chennai Connect, the second informal summit at Mahabalipuram, India, the Chinese President visited Nepal. This is the first visit by a Chinese President in 22 years. The trade of the land locked Himalayan nation is dominated by the Indian sub-continent. Increasing its connectivity with Beijing it now seeks to end Indian dominance in its trade.

Key take-away of the visit

  • A 70-km rail link to be constructed as a part of China’s Belt and Road initiative. The link will connect Kathmandu, the capital city with Gyiron in Tibet.
  • 28-km Kerung-KAthmandu road tunnel is also proposed to halve the distance between Kathmandu and Chinese border. Nepal believes that these road projects are alternates to the trade routes through India. In 2015 and 2016, Nepal faced acute shortage of fuel and medicine due to the blockade along its border in India.
  • Nepal and China signed around 20 deals covering water supply, trade, traditional medicines.
  • The Chinese President pledged Rs 56 billion assistance to Kathmandu
  • President Xi promised to replenish the Arniko highway that links Kathmandu with Tatopani transit point. The highway was badly damaged in 2015 earthquake.
  • China is to provide further support in the post-quake reconstruction to promote “Visit Nepal Year 2020”. The program will support education and urban development in the country.

Both India and China are trying to influence Nepal, the natural buffer between them. India accounts to nearly two-thirds of Nepal’s trade and fuel supply.