On April 27-28, 2018, President of People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping hosted the first India-China Informal Summit. The Prime Minister of India, H.E. Shri Narendra Modi was given grand welcome at the Hubei Provincial Museum in the central Chinese city, Wuhan. It was more like an informal meeting rather than the formal bilateral visits welcomed by 21-gun salutes.
The informal meetings can be traced from 2014 when Prime Minister of India invited Chinese President to the Sabarmathi Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi at Gujarat. Since then, they have met in several international organizations but this summit is more of informal. The key point of the informal summit is that there will be no agreements signed or joint statements issued instead immediate follow up actions for the problem would be taken up.
During this summit, they shared their perspectives, visions and priorities for the national development in the view of current and future global situation. They assessed the developments in the India-China relations from the strategic and long term perspective. They believed that as India and China are major emerging economies in the world, they will create impact on global significance. They also discussed that peaceful and stable between both the countries can ensure stability in the global uncertainties. They believed that the proper management of bilateral relations can lead away to the development and prosperity of the region which in turn create the conditions for the Asian Century. Then they agreed to strengthen their Closer Development Partnership which is a core component in their strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity. They believed that as both sides are having wisdom and maturity, so that differences can be handled through peaceful discussions. They discussed on building a new type of international relationship where everything should be based on mutual respect, justice, fairness and win-win cooperation and also insisted upon strategic autonomy. According to the Chinese President, they should go with the sidelines of Panchsheel which was signed jointly by India and China in 1954.
They underlined the importance of peace and tranquility in the Indo-China border region. Then they issued strategic guidance need to be followed by their respective militaries in order to build trust, strengthen communication and ensure effectiveness in the management of border affairs.
They appointed Special Representatives and urged them to settle the India China Boundary issue through a fair and reasonable means. Further, they directed their militaries to implement varied confidence building measures, strengthen existing institutional arrangements and information sharing mechanisms to prevent incidents in the border areas. They also discussed the importance of bilateral trade and investment, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, need to strengthen strategic communication and exploring new mechanisms to ensure them. They underscored the importance of building an open, multipolar, pluralist and participatory global economic order so that contributions can be made to eliminate poverty and inequality in all the regions of the world. Then, they agreed to make contributions to the global peace and also finding suitable solutions to the global challenges such as food security, combating diseases, addressing the climate change, digital empowerment and disaster risk reduction and mitigation.
The two leaders underscored the threats posed by terrorism. They expressed their strong condemnation and opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and ensured themselves to cooperate on counter-terrorism. They encouraged the collaboration even in the areas of entertainment including films. They believed that it can be great if Indian films come to China and Chinese films to India.
In my view, the informal summit can contribute to the deeper Indo-China relations. The present informal summit can be seen as rebuilding of trust and improving ties after the 73-day-long Doklam standoff last year. It is evident that both the leaders assessed the opportunity for direct, free and candid exchange of views. We are looking forward for more such summits which is a new phase in the Indo-China relationship1
(India-China Informal Summit at Wuhan, 2018) (Modi leaves for India after informal summit with President Xi in China, 2018) (Modi-Xi’s informal summit ends: Key takeaways, 2018) (Modi, Xi meet in Wuhan for ‘heart-to-heart’ summit, 2018)