A VIF delegation led by Mr. Ajit Doval and comprising of Gen. (Retd.) NC Vij, Amb. PP Shukla, Lt. Gen. Ravi Sawhney and Brig (Retd.) Vinod Anand visited China Institute for International Strategic Studies at Beijing on 15th March 2013 and interacted with their faculty. The topics discussed were Sino-Indian relations and the emerging scenario in Afghanistan.
Mr. Ajit Doval highlighted the importance of bilateral relationship between the two countries. He was of the view that there are plenty of commonalities between the two nations as far as threats and challenges to the two countries are concerned. There was a need to look for innovative ways to improve the relations between the two. Mr. Zhao Ning, the leader of the Chinese delegation agreed with the observations made by Mr. Doval and stressed that both are emerging economies and if we like the current century to be described as Asian century then cooperation between India and China was very important.
Amb. Zhao Gang, a former Ambassador to India deliberated upon Sino-Indian relations. He opined that Chinese government was satisfied with the present state of China-India relations; he highlighted the frequent exchanges between high level leaders from both the sides. There was cooperation in multilateral organizations/institutions, enhanced economic exchanges, cooperation in anti-terror efforts etc. Yet, he said that there were problems in some areas; peace and tranquility has been maintained on the border and there was a need for a resolution. However, his remark that Sino-Indian border is 2000 KM in length was promptly questioned by Amb. PP Shukla and Gen. NC Vij. Amb. PP Shukla further stressed that this claim of border being 2000 KM long was of recent origin and the solution to the boundary question should be found at the earliest. Amb. Shukla also remarked that the question of trade imbalance between India and China also needs to be addressed. Further, China was similar to India culturally and emotionally and Beijing should leverage this goodwill.
Gen. NC Vij spoke about his official visit to China and remarked that so far as boundary issue was concerned not much progress has been made in the last 13 years; he was of the view that if China has been able to solve its boundary problems with 13 countries then why can’t it be solved with India. He also remarked on China’s unconditional friendship with Pakistan with which India is uncomfortable. Further, there was a need to enhance mil to mil relations between the two countries.
Afghanistan issue was also deliberated upon and Chinese perspective on ‘possible scenarios of post-2014 Afghanistan’ was articulated by Mr. Lin Yu. Main concern was the spread of terrorism in case of unstable conditions in Afghanistan. There was a need for an Afghan national reconciliation otherwise a civil war scenario was a distinct possibility. Mr. Mu Changlin also observed that China was very worried about the situation. Mr. Ajit Doval and Lt. Gen. Ravi Sawhney gave out the Indian perspective on evolving situation in Afghanistan and possibilities of cooperation between the neighbours of Afghanistan including China and India. There was a general consensus that there were many uncertainties in the emerging Afghan scenario and regional cooperation was necessary for a positive outcome.