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Year-ender: China and South Asia subcontinent in progress

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

01-05-2016 18:42 BJT

By Wang Shida, Director of Southwest Asia Research Office, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania Research Institute of Contemporary International Relations Research Academy of China

The South Asia Subcontinent stands out in China's peripheral diplomacy. China is located next door to the region, with only the Himalayas standing between them.


Despite people on both sides had to travel on land and waters to communicate with each other in history, such contacts are far from being as deep and broad as China is joined together with Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and Central Asia.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the One Belt One Road initiative in 2013, the South Asia Subcontinent can be reexamined.

India stands as the geographical core, which occupies the Ganges River area, with its geographical advantages to separate India from other countries.

In recent years, India has risen rapidly. Its GDP (gross domestic product) annual growth rates had surpassed China for the first time, making it the fastest growing economy in the world.

Of foreign affairs, India has become a popular partner for the United States, Russia, Europe and Japan.

China and India have shared time-honored, as well as volatile relations, which experienced a honeymoon in the 1950s and hostility after border wars erupted in 1962.

In the 1980s, bilateral talks have restarted. Ever since, relations have improved. 2015 had witnessed good progress for China-India relations.

On account of mutual visits between the Chinese and Indian premiers in 2013 and Xi's visit to India in September 2014, and Indian Premier Modi's visit to China in May 2015, both countries have maintained frequent contacts.

Cooperation has expanded from trade to industry and infrastructure. Chinese companies support Premier Modi's dream of "Made in India".

People-to-people exchanges have become more frequent, while activities such as the "China-India Cultural Exchange Plan" would promote tourism, education and youth exchanges.

Beijing has opened a pilgrim route to Tibet for Indian tourists who travel through the Natha Lu Pass. Multi-lateral cooperation has grown closer on the international stage.

Beijing and New Delhi have reached consensus over climate change, energy security and international financial system reform, and pursuing benefits for developing countries at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit and G20 Summit.

Nevertheless, the border issue and third party interference have created obstacles in bilateral relations.

However, China and India have agreed to avoid using border disputes to disrupt relations. Mutual development has continued to be their wish for the future.

In the Subcontinent, Pakistan stands second only to India, endowed with the Indus Valley and Khyber Pass, a passageway to Central and West Asia.

Pakistan is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons, enjoying incomparable power in the Islamic world. Pakistan is the "all-day strategic partner" for China.

China-Pakistan relations are "higher than a mountain, deeper than a sea and sweeter than honey." Chinese people address the neighbor as "Pakistan brothers"(Batie).

In 2015, "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" ( CPEC ) promoted bilateral relations to a higher level.

Chinese enterprises have entered Pakistan in a large scale with infrastructure facilities including power stations and highways under construction.

Frequent appearances of names, such as Gwadar Port and Karakoram Highway have demonstrated political mutual trust and deep friendship.

CPEC could help Pakistan revitalize its economy to realize the dream of becoming "the tiger of Asia." Meanwhile, Beijing could lay a solid foundation for the "Going West" strategy.

Nepal is a Himalayan country with long-term good relations with China. China's prompt rescue response to the tragic earthquake in the country had touched Nepalese hearts in 2015.

Beijing's emergency supplies had spread across the Himalayas via the Nepal southern border, which demonstrated Chinese friendship. Sri Lanka has captured Chinese attention due to its location in the main channel of the Indian Ocean.

In 2015, on account of domestic political turbulence in Sri Lanka, bilateral relations have encountered difficulties with Chinese invested projects getting halted. Beijing is compelled to re-evaluate its political support for Sri Lanka.

Looking into the future, China's invested projects in Sri Lanka could be re-launched and bilateral relations may improve. Among China's relations with Bangladesh, the Maldives and Afghanistan are continuing to make progress. 

In retrospect, the development of CPEC was rigorous. China-India relations have progressed. And China's relations with other South Asia countries are still developing.

The Himalayas remain standing, but that hasn't stopped communications between China and the South Asia Subcontinent.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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