Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : Jyoti Malhotra, translated by Beizhe Wang Page No. : NA

India’s The Print article of March 2, with the original title: Modi  Seizes the Opportunity to Resume Engagement with China and Pakistan Once Again

From reopening Chinese investment in India to resuming engagement with Pakistan to modifying its stance on climate change, India is slowly changing its foreign policy course in the hope of finding a more welcoming harbor in a post-epidemic world.

Several of these measures are being taken with an eye on Biden’s new Administration in the White House, but many stem from necessity. India realizes that to get its economy back on track after the epidemic, it must open up. Currently, the United States is still struggling to contain the epidemic, and Europe remains stagnant. In this situation, New Delhi realizes that the only country in the world with ample surplus and room for manouvre is the one which it has been confronting in the icy heights of Ladakh for the past few months.

The Modi government is keenly aware that the Indian economy needs shoring up by foreign investment. Chief Economic Adviser, Sanjeev Sanyal, told reporters last week that if someone wants to build a button factory in India, it doesn’t matter if that person is American, Indonesian or Chinese. He added: “We have expedited approvals for investments from China, except in strategically sensitive sectors”.

One of those sensitive areas is India’s 5G network, and the government won’t be reinstating Chinese apps like TikTok, which was banned last year, anytime soon, said an (Indian) official who declined to be named. But India plans to soon approve 45 (inbound) investment proposals from Chinese auto companies, including Great Wall Motor and SAIC Motor.

India’s announcement of reopening the door to Chinese investment comes after India and China began disengaging their forces in mid-February. This has led to speculation that the slow return to normalcy in (bilateral) trade and commerce is part of a gradual return to peace and tranquility in the border region.

As India and China withdraw their troops, New Delhi is encouraging China to undertake the next phase of withdrawal by partially opening up its economy. This also means that India has accepted the Chinese demand that the border issue be separated from other aspects of India-China relations.

There are two reasons for this shift in Indian strategy. First, China has recovered from the epidemic in a way that no other country has and is expected to surpass the United States as the world’s largest economic power by 2028. Second, the Biden Administration is likely to reach agreements with the Chinese on a variety of issues, including climate change, trade, etc. In this case, India certainly does not want its most important foreign partner to change course and be caught off guard by its own inaction in the end.

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