The brief meeting between US president Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 summit last week seems to be largely symbolic, repudiating claims of some US media outlets that this was “a show of unity with China clearly in mind” and meant to “share concerns on China’s rising clout.” The talks held over 15 minutes lend credence to the impression that New Delhi doesn’t make much of the “Indo-Pacific strategy.” Since the Shangri-La Dialogue in June this year, Modi has signaled in several international meetings India’s tepid response to this initiative.
As the largest and most populous continent, Asia needs a conducive environment to maintain the momentum of a rapidly growing economy. According to World Bank figures, GDP of Asia accounted for 33.84 percent of the global total in 2016, which was significantly higher than that of North America (27.95 percent) and Europe (21.37 percent).
Asian security has remained a vital proposition for decades. Most Asian countries are concerned about conventional security issues such as territorial disputes, border conflicts and military deterrence as well as about non-conventional threats such as terrorism, transnational crime, cyber security, energy security and ecological security.
Asian powers should shoulder their responsibilities and the fate of Asia should be in the hands of Asian countries and their people. It will contribute considerably to global peace and stability if China and India work together to set an example of cooperation to resolve these security problems.
Scholars believe that the importance of interdependence should be recognized when emphasizing national security. In other words, a country should focus on not only its own security, but also the common security of nations. In an international society subject to different state powers and interests, the development of institutionalized cooperation between nations can provide opportunity for achieving greater international security.
The Asian security concept put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, is key to major issues concerning Asia’s security and future. In the face of political, economic and military uncertainty, if Asia can build a security community to address critical problems facing the continent, it will make a great contribution to world peace.
The security community in Asia has to be built on equality, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. Since the reform and opening-up, China has been expressing its willingness to peacefully solve disputes and seek common development with India. Meanwhile, some Indians have suggested that the two countries abandon historical prejudice and look forward to the future to improve bilateral relations.
After several mutual visits, leaders of China and India have elevated bilateral ties to a “strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity.” A broad consensus has been reached between China and India to promote business cooperation, share information, enhance mutual trust and strengthen mutual support in the international arena. As a result, security cooperation between the two neighbors lies on a firm foundation.
In politics, relations have overcome difficulties since the 1980s. Frequent high-level visits are conducted and a complete bilateral dialogue mechanism has been set up. China and India have same or similar standpoints on plenty of global issues. The two countries have also set up bilateral and multilateral mechanisms for strengthening cooperation in the field of security.
In this context, political trust between the neighbors has risen. Mutual agreements between China and India far outweigh the differences. The future of China-India relations will mainly depend on a just and shared order and weakening geopolitical competition. People are looking forward to joint actions to build the Asian security community.
The article was compiled from the author’s speech at a seminar on South Asia organized by the Institute of South Asian Studies, Sichuan University