South Asia and Beyond

Wang Yi’s Reported India Trip: “China Tries To Create Fissures, Divisions;Quad United, Here To Stay”

NEW DELHI: An Excerpt from the conversation between Dr. Jagannath Panda, Head of the Stockholm Centre for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs, Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP), Sweden, Director of Europe-Asia Research Cooperation, Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies, Japan, Editor, ‘Scaling India-Japan Cooperation in Indo-Pacific and Beyond 2025: Corridors, Connectivity and Contours’ and Author, ‘India-China Relations: Politics of Resources, Identity and Authority in a Multipolar World Order’ and StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi.

Watch the full discussion here:

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The Chinese claims are time tested in the sense that they’re based on trial and error. They want to give a statement in public to see the reaction. Whether in actuality there has been troop withdrawal in the Hot Spring area remains to be seen. The Chinese are also realizing that the world is increasingly coming to a point where physical activities will be on and diplomacy will take over the pandemic. Keeping that requirement in mind, Chinese diplomacy will be very active for the next 10 to 12 months, given the kind of backlash they are facing. The statements coming and the interest from the Chinese side that Chinese authorities will be visiting India is a signal of that. What we need to note here is that Chinese diplomacy is multi pronged diplomacy today. They know how to create fissures. They know how to create divisions. So every statement which is coming from the Chinese authorities, Chinese Foreign Ministry or Chinese official media circulations, we need to see them critically and we need to deconstruct what is there in between those lines. To that effect, the troop withdrawal statement is an overstatement. We need to really see whether China has actually withdrawn the troops or not. I’m not in a position to comment on that. Somebody from the MoD or Minister of External Affairs in India would be in a better position to comment on that. But when it comes to China’s overture towards India, about visiting India, trying to have a normal relationship. I don’t think this will create fissures in the Quad foundation. The Quad has emerged, in fact, as a cohesive group. There is a greater understanding among the Quad countries. The Quad is here to stay. So, I don’t think China can create any divisions or fissures among the Quad countries. But one thing is very clear. The Chinese are a greater economic actor, and they know that the Quad countries are not in very good condition when it comes to their domestic economic situation. There one needs to be very mindful of how Chinese economic diplomacy will evolve. The Quad countries should stay united and should not allow Chinese economic diplomacy to take over and create a division among the Quad countries. We know for a fact that China is a stronger trade partner with Japan, the U.S, Australia. There is lesser room for India to worry, more for Japan to worry, primarily because Japan has stronger trade and economic ties with China. Japan cannot overlook its relationship with China. The economic part of this logic needs to be taken care of, but I don’t think the Chinese (will be able) to create any divisions among the Quad countries.