July 02, 2017

Strategic communication necessary for Sino-Indian ties to strengthen


By Hu Shisheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/29 18:43:39

Strategic communication between China and India is necessary for the two countries. The Indian government refused to participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May this year, which exposed the strategic discord between the two to the international community. Strategic mutual suspicions seem to be increasing. China and India should take efforts to remove and clear the suspicions as soon as possible. Enhancing bilateral trust will greatly benefit Sino-Indian relations and bilateral cooperation in the region.

The content of strategic communication mainly concerns security and development interests in China and India, which can be explained from the bilateral, regional and global levels. It is worth noting that the overlapping areas of security and development interests should be the focus of the two countries' strategic communication.

For security interests, the vital matters at the bilateral level include issues concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-traditional security, military modernization and cyber security, which are likely to worsen in the future.

The important issues at the regional level include military conflicts in adjacent areas, non-traditional security threats, changes in the regional strategic pattern, regional security mechanism construction and cooperation in important regional mechanisms. 

The key issues at the global level involve new changes in the global strategic pattern and great power relations, and nuclear non-proliferation issues.

For development interests, the vital issues at the bilateral level include security guarantees on two-way trade and investment, energy security, development strategies integration, and bilateral exchanges of experience in governance. 

The major issues at the regional level include regional economic order construction, regional integration, the integration of regional development plans, joint development of neighboring areas, and regional governance. 

The vital issues at the global level include the global free trade system architecture, the global economic order, global governance, joint development of the third markets, and cooperation within international multilateral mechanisms.

There are three main ways of strategic communication. One is the face-to-face interactions among top leaders. The dialogue among national leaders often determines the development direction of bilateral relations. 

At present, the Sino-Russian, Sino-US and Sino-European interactions among top leaders are very effective. It is hoped that the Sino-Indian interaction between the two countries' leaders can reach the same level. The interactions among top leaders should not only involve the main content of strategic communication mentioned above, but also establish a friendly tone and direction for strategic communication and cooperation.

Besides, the working relationship among Chinese and Indian departments is important. When prominent events occur, the two countries' ministries and military forces should enhance communication. In normal times, India and China can use the existing bilateral mechanisms to solve specific problems between them. In addition, India and China can carry out think tank dialogues at bilateral, regional and global levels, and launch reports for these dialogues.

Attention should be paid to several aspects of the strategic communications between China and India. One is not revisiting old issues or disputes on which both have reached consensus already. Additionally, both sides should not be required to immediately form specific consensuses after high-level talks. And leaders of the two countries should take the initiative to discuss solutions to specific problems. 

The author is director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. This article was compiled from his speech at the Second China-India Think-Tank Forum on Saturday. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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