India’s National Security Advisor and ex-Ambassador to China, Shivshankar Menon will fly to Beijing tomorrow for a three day visit to do what he does best with China – liaison, smoothen and strengthen Sino-India ties.
India-China relations are known to have been rocky ever since the two established diplomatic relations 60 years ago. While trade has excelled in the past decade, trust remains a contentious issue. The two emerging Asian nations are constantly competing against and complementing each other on the international front. Issues that have been raked up of late include energy security, the common border that both nations share and the China-Pakistan Nuclear deal. Incidentally, Mr. Menon’s visit comes a day ahead of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s trip to China during which he is expected to finalize a deal for supply of two additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan. Mr. Menon dubbed “Special Envoy to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh” for the visit, has been assigned the tumultuous task of resolving these issues with the Chinese.
Menon whose role was pivotal in India’s Nuclear deal with the US, will meet with senior Chinese leaders, including foreign minister Yang Jiechi and state councilor and vice foreign minister Dai Bingguo. The visit also comes a month after Indian President Pratibha Patil lead a delegation of 60 businessmen on a six-day visit across China to build and strengthen sino-India trust and trade.
Menon who understands and is well acquainted with China’s leadership is an important asset for India who is looking at acquainting herself closer to China. Having and maintaining ‘guangxi’, or connections in China and earning their respect are penultimate in furthering relations with the middle kingdom, and as the world’s economic axis tilts East, India recognizes good fences make good neighbors.