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Editorial of the Day (21st June): Engaging China in Modi 3.0


  • It has been four years since the Galwan clashes of June 15, 2020, which significantly impacted India-China relations.
  • The border standoff remains unresolved, with 50,000 to 60,000 troops still deployed on each side.
  • Managing relations with China is a primary challenge for the government in its third term.


  • Prime Minister Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping are expected to attend the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
  • It is uncertain if a meeting between the two leaders will occur and if it will lead to any breakthroughs.

Developments Leading to the Summit

  • The PM emphasised the importance of India-China relations and the need to address the prolonged border situation to normalise bilateral interactions.
    • He expressed hope for peaceful relations benefiting not only India and China but the entire region and world.
  • Chinese Reaction:
    • The Chinese foreign ministry acknowledged the broader context of India-China relations beyond the boundary issue.
    • China emphasised the importance of strategic dialogue and cooperation to maintain a stable relationship.
  • The External Affairs Minister highlighted the hope for resolving issues related to “patrolling rights” and “patrolling abilities.”
    • This was seen as a nuanced shift from earlier stances on “disengagement” and “de-escalation.”

Complications and Tensions

  • India-Taiwan Interaction:
    • An exchange on social media between PM Modi and Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te, congratulating Modi on his re-election, angered China.
    • China protested any official interactions between India and Taiwan, emphasising adherence to the ‘One China’ policy.
  • US Delegation’s Visit to Dalai Lama:
    • A seven-member bipartisan US Congressional delegation met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, prompting sharp reactions from China.
    • S delegation asserted the Dalai Lama’s enduring legacy, contrasting it with President Xi’s transient political tenure.
  • US Legislation on Tibet:
    • The US House of Representatives passed the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act, following Pelosi’s ignored warnings from Beijing during her Taiwan visit in August 2022.

Strategic and Economic Implications

India’s Stance:

  • Despite showing intent to resolve border issues, India’s strategic moves, like Pelosi’s visit to the Dalai Lama, signal a complex diplomatic approach.
  • The weaker-than-expected mandate for the NDA in the Lok Sabha election has influenced the government’s cautious stance on reconciliation with China.

Economic Considerations:

  • Stable borders are crucial for the government to focus on economic growth, especially after election results highlighted issues like job shortages and rising prices.
  • India-China economic ties have remained strong, with bilateral trade reaching a record $136 billion in 2023, despite ongoing security concerns and efforts to decouple from China.

Australia-China Relations as a Model

Australia’s Example:

  • Australia’s approach under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese involves high-level engagement with China while protecting core interests.
  • The recent visit by Chinese Premier Li Qiang to Australia demonstrated efforts to manage differences and disagreements effectively.

Comparison with India:

  • The possibility of adopting a similar model exists for India, but it depends on various factors, including President Xi’s political will.


  • Previous meetings between Modi and Xi, such as during the G20 in Bali (November 2022) and the BRICS summit in South Africa (August 2023), did not yield positive outcomes.
  • Bilateral ties remain strained due to the border dispute, and while economic relations persist, political progress is limited. The Australian model offers some insights, but significant challenges remain for India-China relations.

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