Indian Parliamentarians in the 16th Lok Sabha on China: 7 July 2014 -11 May 2016

Rajesh Ghosh is a Research Intern at ICS and is pursuing Masters in Diplomacy, Law and Business at OP Jindal Global University, Sonepat

One way to understand Indian perspectives on China is to examine the nature of questions asked by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the respective answers by concerned Ministries. This piece highlights some critical issues related to China that Indian MPs have raised in the 16th Lok Sabha (LS) thus far. In total, there have been 81 China-related questions from 7 July 2014 to 11May 2016.  Out of these more than 70 per cent were directed to three ministries – Ministry External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and Ministry of Defence (MoD). In addition, this report will also examine the party and the geographical affiliations of the MPs raising questions and assess whether these connections have any bearing on the nature of questions asked.

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Tripolar Dynamics

Alka Acharya, Director and Senior Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

Almost exactly eighteen years ago, in June 1998, after a summit meeting between the Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton of the US, a joint statement was issued in Beijing. It referred to the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in the preceding months and “the resulting increase in tension” as being “a source of deep and lasting concern to both of us”, which they jointly condemned. The statement went on to say that both the PRC and the US “agreed to continue to work closely together, within the P-5, the Security Council and with others….to prevent an accelerating nuclear and missile arms race in South Asia.” India had strongly dismissed this attempt by both to meddle in its affairs. Of course Vajpayee’s famously “leaked” letter to Clinton, had clearly placed the responsibility for India’s nuclear explosions at China’s door – both China’s advanced nuclear capabilities as also its support to Pakistan. India’s dance with the nuclear giants had begun, bringing the three countries into an intricate power-balancing act, with the shadow of the Sino-Pakistan nexus in the background.

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The Indian President In China: Snippets from Shanghai

Alka Acharya, Director, Institute of Chinese Studies is visiting Shanghai to participate in the Shanghai Forum 2016, 28-30 May 2016.

Had I been in Beijing during the Indian President’s visit to China from the 26-28th May – or even in Guangdong – the impact and sense of the visit could possibly have been different. As it happened, I landed in Shanghai the day the President reached Beijing from Guangdong – and I had the opportunity to assess the visit from China’s commercial capital. Reports on President Pranab Mukherjee’s China visit were routinely issued in the various bulletins – more regularly in the CCTV English channel – but they were quite pro forma in fact and not every hour – it did not appear to be billed very high. Scholars I interacted with at Fudan University or even those who had come from other parts of the world to attend the Shanghai Forum, were more interested in discussing the G-7 meeting that was taking place and what China thought of it. The newspapers too made a brief mention of the visit, noting that the two countries had pledged to maintain peace in the border areas and that the visit was expected to advance the relationship. The buzz was all around the G7 meeting in Tokyo, Obama’s visit to Hiroshima (that occupied huge media attention); the statement on the South China Seas made from the G7 platform and the upcoming G-20 summit in Hangzhou.

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