S M Krishna’s got a lot on his plate during his visit to Beijing
February 7, 2012

Syria and Iran will be be the focal points of discussion between Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing on Wednesday. Mr. Krishna who is going to the Chinese capital to inaugurate the 13,500 square-metre, US$10 million new Indian Embassy building in Beijing’s Liangmaqiao area will also meet Communist Party of China (CPC) Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang and State Councillor Dai Bingguo during his visit. He will also hold discussions with the head of the CPC Central Committee’s International Department, Wang Jiarui. The two neighbors who depend on Iran for oil and defer on their stance for Syria, are expected to hold detailed discussions on the Iran crises, the financial meltdown, bilateral trade and border security.  Mr. Zhou, is China’s ninth highest-ranked politician, often known as China’s top security czar and had visited India in 2010 and met several leaders there, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Although China and India have shared a sweet and sour relationship in the past, the bevy of high level meetings as well as the sparkling new Embassy, is seen by sinophiles as Beijing’s red carpet to India, her way of opening up doors, markets and wooing their neighbor to the south west to boost business, cultural and friendly ties. China which until now has rarely considered India a worthy competitor is keen to develop ties and explore synergies as two of the fastest growing nations realise the potential of their markets,

While Mr. Krishna met Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, in New Delhi last month to iron out boundary talks, he will also extend an invitation to President Hu Jintao on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit New Delhi for the fourth BRICS Summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to be held on March 29.

Heavily dependent on Iranian oil, both China and India are standing with Japan and South Korea to protect the natural resource and make sure that peace and stability is maintained in the region. As regards bilateral trade, recent statistics showed a yawning trade deficit in China’s favour, however analysts claim that as long as India’s infrastructure continues to sag, the gap will continue to grow wider. Thirdly, while border security issues are being dealt with at a snails pace, international relations experts are of the opinion that it is better to take small steps forward rather than a step back – which is a common occurrence in China-India’s sweet and sour relationship. Furthermore, the border security doesn’t limit itself to land anymore, with the recent skirmish in October, in the Indian Ocean, sea territories also need to be clearly defined.

As regards Syria, China and Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Syria for bringing down Assad’s government, which India, along with the rest of the UNSC’s 13 members including the US and EU, had backed. International policy experts believe that China and Russia’s move is based on subjective apprehensions of the implications for the present leaderships in Russia and China in the event that street movements in the Arab countries succeed with external support. According to them, the veto conveys a message of hope to dissident elements in Russia who oppose Vladimir Putin and the dissident elements in China who oppose the Communist Party of China that they too could one day benefit from similar international solidarity if they kept their movements against the governments in Moscow and Beijing alive. India on the other hand fought for the Syrian people against a repressive regime.

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