Xi welcomes Pakistan, visits India, Nepal . . .
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing on October 8, was the guest of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi near Chennai for a second informal summit on October 11-12, and stopped in Kathmandu, Nepal, for a two-day official visit from October 12-13. The Pakistani PM’s visit to Beijing was aimed at gaining Chinese support on the Kashmir issue, as well as financial support. President Xi’s objectives in visiting India were to increase strategic communication and economic co-operation with India in the face of numerous unresolved issues and tensions. In Nepal, Beijing was interested in upgrading its bilateral relations, including offering increased developmental assistance.
More aid for Pakistan, Nepal, more talks for India . . .
While China has a territorial claim in Kashmir, it supports Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and objects to India’s recent revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. President Xi promised more aid for Pakistan but didn’t provide details of what that aid would entail. The two leaders also discussed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a massive infrastructure project under China’s Belt and Road Initiative that has resulted in more than US$60-billion in Chinese loans to Pakistan. While Xi and Modi did not discuss Kashmir during their visit, the two agreed to a finance ministers’ meeting on trade and investment matters, to increase counter-terrorism co-operation, and to designate 2020 as the China-India year of cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Xi’s visit to Nepal, meanwhile, resulted in 23 agreements and US$496 million in assistance for improving infrastructure.
Geopolitical questions persist . . .
Beijing’s recent flurry of diplomatic activity in South Asia is focused on promoting trade and investment, while building relationships. But it is also an attempt to minimize distrust of China’s intentions in the region. Tensions, however, still remain – not least Delhi’s desire to benefit from co-operating with Beijing while discouraging its neighbours from becoming too close to China.