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    A man walks inside a conference room used for meetings between military commanders of China and India, at the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009

    China Has Competitive Advantages Over US in Struggle For India - Scholar

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    According to Western sources, the leaders of China and India are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina. PRC President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not have a bilateral meeting at the G20 in Germany last year. The obstacle to that was the military standoff on the border in the Doklam region.

    Today, the situation on the border is no longer an impediment to meetings between the leaders of the two states. Moreover, a recent meeting between Chinese and Indian special representatives on border issues in Chengdu showed that that the parties have a positive attitude when it comes to finding compromises to problematic issues. An official statement by the Xinhua News Agency has stated that 'each side put forward a number of positive and constructive initiatives'.

    18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu on November 26, 2014
    © AFP 2018 / NARENDRA SHRESTHA / POOL
    Member of the PRC State Council, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Special Representative of India, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Ajit Doval, 'agreed to achieve full implementation of the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two states at all levels, including military units on the front line'. The parties also agreed to gradually expand cross-border trade and humanitarian contacts to achieve early concrete results in the negotiations.

    A lack of trust probably remains the biggest problem between China and India. And it seems the parties intend to overcome this obstacle by developing trade and economic ties. On 26 November, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese were considering the possibility of purchasing unprecedented volumes of raw sugar in India. This source notes that the ongoing trade war between China and the United States is pushing the Asian giant to sweeten its ties with neighbouring India.

    In December, a Chinese delegation will hold talks on sugar prices with India. The situation is ideal for India as well, where record production volumes for this product have been reached. The US-China trade war gives India a good chance to become a regular supplier of sugar to China. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry reported that the country plans to export 2 million tonnes of raw sugar to China from 2019.

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    An Indian company has already concluded a contract with COFCO International for the export of 50,000 tonnes. The government of India noted that the country is positioning itself as a potentially significant exporter to China. Sugar deals are the second agricultural agreement since China began importing rice from India.

    Positive shifts in Sino-Indian relations are occurring against the backdrop of an escalating confrontation between China and the United States. In that context, Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies at Shanghai's Fudan University, Zhang Jiadong, in an interview with Sputnik drew attention to the significant influence of the American factor on the further development of Sino-Indian relations:

    'The main problems in Sino-Indian relations in the past were territorial disputes and a number of other bilateral issues. If these problems were rectified, many others could be resolved quickly and successfully. But now new circumstances have appeared — the Americans have joined the game. Recently, the interaction of the US and Indian armed forces in the field of maritime security has been actively growing. It can be said that against the backdrop of the emergence of the American factor, the relevance of border issues in Sino-Indian relations has even decreased. Last year India took a chance on improving relations with the United States, but now its strategy is undergoing certain changes. Delhi is beginning to understand that even if it completely sides with the United States, the US is unlikely to allow it to fully comply with its interests.

    Today, India wants to balance its relationship with the United States and China. Of course, the relationship between China and India and the US-Indian relationship are two completely different types of relations. There is cooperation between China and India, as well as competition and challenges. The current ties between the USA and India are characterised by very low levels of competition, mainly cooperation. India still relies on the United States because it believes that the United States can give it more economic and military benefits than China and Russia combined'.

    China as a world power cannot put aside the situation with India, especially when the United States includes India in its Indo-Pacific strategy, a Russian expert at the National Institute for the Development of Modern Ideology, Igor Shatrov said:

    'In any case, China is closer to India than the United States. From the time China turned into the world's factory, it has developed its own technologies. And India was represented on the world market only as a country where IT technologies are actively developing. In this case, China in very many areas has technological advantages over India, and India is now developing the "Make in India" policy. And a very interesting situation may arise when China begins to place its own production lines in India, like western countries and the United States. Taking into account the geographical position of China, it will be able to come to India with much more advantageous offers than the United States'.

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    China will actively strive to enter the Indian market, otherwise, there will be other countries there, and in such a case, strong rivals will show up close on China's doorstep. The Russian expert predicts that China may become an investor in the Indian economy, localise its production there because labour in India is already cheaper than in China. It is capable of being the same investor and technology donor for India that the West was at one time for China. The People's Republic of China is ready for closer relations with India. It is flexible in building ties with its neighbour, which reflects the pragmatism of its foreign policy.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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