Colombo, January 14 (The New Indian Express): In its latest report on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation, China has said that since 2015, Sino-Indian strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity has been further deepened.
“Practical cooperation between the two countries has made solid progress in various areas. The two countries have maintained communication and coordination on international affairs and enhanced collaboration in the UN, BRICS, G20, China-India-Russia and other mechanisms. They have cooperated on climate change, the WTO Doha Round of negotiations, energy and food security, reform of international financial and monetary institutions, and global governance. Such cooperation has helped safeguard the common interests of China, India and other developing countries,” the report released in January says.
“The two countries have set the goal of forging a closer development partnership, made new progress in exchanges and cooperation in various areas and stayed in close communication and coordination on regional and international issues. The two countries have held frequent exchanges of high-level visits, and enhanced political mutual trust,” the report released in January says.
Sino-Indian Military Relations
On the issue of military relations given the fact that there is a border dispute which led a war in 1962, the report said: “The relations between the Chinese and Indian militaries remain healthy and stable in general, with increasingly close communication and exchanges, and pragmatic cooperation in greater breadth and depth. Eight rounds of defense and security consultation and six joint military anti-terrorism training exercises have been held so far.”
“Sound cooperation in personnel training, professional exchanges and other fields is being carried out. The two sides have also conducted border defense cooperation, which plays a positive role in maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas between China and India. Military leaders of the two sides visited each other in 2015 and 2016, and reached an important consensus on strengthening pragmatic cooperation between the two militaries and working together to maintain peace and stability in the border areas.”
On Afghanistan, the report says that China hopes to see an Afghanistan that is united, stable, prosperous and at peace with its neighboring countries. China believes that only an inclusive reconciliation process that is “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” can provide the ultimate solution to the Afghanistan issue. China will continue to play a constructive role in advancing the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
The report makes no mention of other countries in South Asia ,such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal ,Bhutan and the Maldives
On the critical issue of terrorism and counter terrorism, the report says that the Chinese government opposes terrorism in all forms and calls on the international community to cooperate in fighting terrorism on the basis of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and other universally recognized norms governing international relations.
However, it adds that “China believes that dialogue among different civilizations should be enhanced and a holistic approach taken to eliminate the breeding grounds of terrorism by addressing both its symptoms and root causes by political, economic and diplomatic means. At the same time, there should be no double standard in fighting terrorism, which should not be associated with any particular country, ethnicity or religion.”
China apparently has difficulty in accepting the Western characterization of West Asia-based terrorism as “Islamic terrorism”.
Interestingly, the report is positive on Sino-US relations. It says: “ Since 2015 the overall relationship between China and the United States has remained stable and even made new progress.
The two countries have maintained communication and coordination in the field of Asia-Pacific affairs through bilateral exchanges and relevant mechanisms at all levels, and agreed to build a bilateral relationship of positive interaction and inclusive cooperation in the region. They have stayed in a state of communication and cooperation on regional and global affairs, including climate change, counter-terrorism, marine environmental protection, combating wild life smuggling, and disaster prevention and reduction within multilateral frameworks such as APEC, East Asia Summit (EAS), and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Moreover, the two sides have smoothly carried out trilateral personnel and agriculture training cooperation projects in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste.
China-US military relations have generally maintained a momentum of steady progress. Since 2015 the two militaries have continued to improve their two mutual-confidence-building mechanisms: the Mutual Notification of Major Military Activities and the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters.
In 2015 they held their Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster-Relief Field Exercise and Disaster Management Exchanges in China and the US, respectively, and participated in Khaan Quest 2015 multinational peacekeeping military exercise and Exercise Kowari, a China-US-Australia trilateral military exercise.
Cooperation Despite Differences
Enunciating China’s basic principle in international relations, the report said that partnerships can be built even when there are no shared ideals. Differences need not be obliterated for cooperation to take place ,China believes.
“Countries can seek common ground while reserving differences. The key is to remain committed to treating each other as equals and carrying out mutually beneficial cooperation. How major countries in the Asia-Pacific region get along with each other is critical for maintaining regional peace and development. Major countries should treat the strategic intentions of others in an objective and rational manner, reject the Cold War mentality, respect others’ legitimate interests and concerns, strengthen positive interactions and respond to challenges with concerted efforts.”
This should give comfort to countries which are under the scanner in the West and the UN for alleged violation of human rights and democratic rules as prescribed by the West.
Warning To Small Countries
Dismayed by small and medium-sized countries in the Asia-Pacific region becoming handmaidens of the West, the report warns: “Small and medium-sized countries need not and should not take sides among big countries. All countries should make joint efforts to pursue a new path of dialogue instead of confrontation and pursue partnerships rather than alliances, and build an Asia-Pacific partnership featuring mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation.”
(The featured picture at the top shows Chinese President Xi Jinping in an informal interaction with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Gandhinagar in Gujarat)