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Time for India-China to bury the hatchet and emerge as a strong Asian bloc

By Vikas Sv

Around one-third of the world's population reside in India and China. India and China are among the fastest growing major economies in the world. If both the countries can set differences aside and forge strong economic, cultural and military ties, then it can be a formidable alliance which can actually take on the US-led bloc which at present calls the shots in international affairs.

File photo of PM Modi meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping

Prime Minister Narendra is in China and to hold an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both leaders will have one-to-one interaction over the course of next two days during which several long pending issues are likely to be discussed. Indian envoy to Beijing had yesterday (April 26) stressed on the need for greater trust between the two neighbours. Earlier, a top Chinese diplomat had said that the Doklam standoff happened due to "lack of mutual trust" between India and China.

So, the trust has been a major issue between New Delhi and Beijing. A lot has happened in the last 60 years due to which a deep sense of mistrust has crept into India-China relations. There was a time when India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had coined a phrase "Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai", but soon afterwards 1962 war happened. Since then several disagreements, border intrusions and standoffs have taken place over LAC (Line of Actual Control). China has also used its veto power in the United Nations to stall several of India's moves, most notably being Beijing's stand on terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar. There are probably endless issues that be discussed if the main point of this write up was to highlight the cracks in the India-China relations.

[Modi in China: Boat ride, lakeside dinner on cards at PM's meet with Xi Jinping]

The main objective here is to ponder upon what can be achieved if India and China were to bury the differences and forge an alliance that send shivers down the spine of the west. Hypothetically speaking, if India and China can forge an alliance on the lines of NATO, it has the potential to emerge as a formidable bloc that can dictate terms in global geopolitics. China is far stronger militarily than India. The main reason being China's spending on defence, which at $145 billion is almost three times that of India's. If China has world's largest army, then India had world's third largest army. Even in terms of fighter aircraft and a nuclear warhead, China has more than double of what India has. But somehow if the two countries can resolve all the disputes and work towards an alliance of a new kind, then the international community would be forced to take note of it and acknowledge the dominance.

[Chinese army invokes Tagore, says common desire is to stablise relations]

The world has never witnessed the simultaneous rise of two huge neighbours and a key expectation from the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Wuhan is that they will chart a roadmap to manage this ascent peacefully. The summit - and the carefully planned informal backdrop to it - gives Modi and Xi an opportunity to inject a dose of mutual trust into relations and quell tensions that recently clouded the relationship.

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