The CPPR rendez-vous with the Chinese ambassador to India, His Excellency Le Yucheng added one more feather to our illustrious cap. The ambassador had come to the state of Kerala as the official guest of the Government of Kerala.
The deliberations with the CPPR team were centred on mutual benefits of cooperation with China, as immense potentialities lie in the mutual cooperation between the two emerging economies of the world from the Asian sub-continent. The ambassador opined that economic partnerships could serve as the catalyst to bridge the trust deficit between the countries. In addition to it, the need to comprehend the rise of China so as to allay the fears of its neighbouring countries was also discussed.
The ambassador articulated the need to cast aside political disputes to engage economically. This must be the primary focus. Strategic cooperation along the economic lines will gradually evolve new consensus to enhance the mutual trust. The resolution of political disputes should not be a hindrance in the pursuance of this objective. Thus economic cooperation must be accorded primacy, when considering the national interest of countries under question. Thus the historical linkages ought to be harnessed for this purpose.
“The directions we are moving must be clear”, says the ambassador. The restoration of peace and tranquility in the borders is immanent, but it should not come at the cost of mutual benefits. Implicitly it meant, political differences should not affect future avenues of cooperation. The maritime expansion of the Chinese persists as a perennial cause of worry in the Asian sub-continent. Such expansive strategies were asked to be exonerated as part of the economic growth engine requirements. Countering piracy, and using such naval bases for evacuation of its citizens caught in the turbulent strife in the West Asian region were other reasons put forward to absolve the outcry over its maritime expansion. The strategic significance of the Indian ocean region to maintain the export-oriented growth of Chinese economy was emphasized. This export-import route oversees the passage of over 70 % of trade volume. The fact that China harbours no territorial disputes with India in the Indian ocean also cannot be forgotten.
The Chinese in its attempts to allay fears amongst the neighbouring nations about its much hyped One Belt One Road initiative restated its position on how the initiative is bent on improving the trans-continental connectivities in the region. In it, one can see the tactful blend of hard and soft power strategies telling the world that infrastructural accomplishments is never the forte of the developed world. China will take steps to ensure that the Asian Unity is never at stake. This would also imply the Chinese aversion towards the Western powers meddling in the region. In fact the delegation dismissed all such theories as part of the conspiracy with vested interests. The need for bringing in reforms in the top echelons of United Nations to make it more inclusive in nature for the emerging economies was also discussed.
With China and India poised to rise in different ways as major global players, their strategic rise is competent enough to redraw the geo-political landscape of international politics. The might of the Chinese economy was emphasized to play down the queries related to the stock market disruptions affecting the Renminbi’s global aspirations. Chinese investments are at present exceeding the inflow of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to the nation. This is symbolic of the immense potentials held by Chinese currency to substantially engulf the International monetary institutions. The unwarranted apprehensions of the Western world towards the NDB (New Development Bank) and AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) regarding the power sharing mechanisms are symbolic of the how the Western world conspires against such Asian initiatives. India must take leverage in them. The delegation reiterated that, the fact of India being one of the first countries to recognize PRC (People’s Republic of China), and even the AIIB as its strategic partner. The same was the case with Indian being chosen to chair the NDB. They were vocal enough to add that, international monetary institutions must reform itself to make emerging economies get its due share of recognition. India will and must be its largest partner in this endeavour to cater to the developmental demands of the poorer nations in the region and across the world. On a sly note, the ambassador said, “if the emerging powers are excluded from such positions, the developed world must know that the same countries belonging to the South are capable of establishing such institutions of their own without adhering to the stringent requirements of the monetary institutions governed controlled by the monopoly of the triad (includes U.S, West Europe and Japan). Chinese online retail giants and smartphone companies have already found its market among the growing consumerist population of India. The Indian companies too can venture into partnerships with such companies.
The laxity of creative ideas in the diplomatic realm still persists. With regards to the case of Kerala, the business environment between China and Kerala can be promoted in a number of ways. Kerala must play its cards smartly on its avenues of comparative advantage. This is where tourism holds immense potential. “All efforts to make Kerala a household name in China will be taken forward”, said the Chinese ambassador. Harnessing historic linkages will be the first step. On an elated note, the similarities between the martial art forms, and cuisine were cited, to depict the erstwhile connectivity that existed between both the countries. Kerala being quite unwelcome unlike states like Maharashtra and Gujarat was however acknowledged. Nevertheless its potential to catapult economically by pulling the strings with the potential of tourism in the Chinese heartlands ought to be explored. The CPPR fellows suggested on exchanges between the Jiangsu province, in the Southern China and Kerala coast on account the commonalities between both the regions on the human development indices. It can further open the gateway towards cooperation between Chinese provinces and the state of Kerala. The existing impediments within the institutional frameworks to familiarize with the Chinese culture and traditions would be enhanced. This would involve making Mandarin as part of the curriculum of Foreign Language Departments in the state of Kerala and across India. Thus only with a constructive approach can mutual dividends be reaped.
The positive side of such interactions with the think-tanks and other institutional establishments can go a long way in fostering people-to-people ties across the two nations. These associations will undoubtedly encourage more exchange programs, and scholarships by which image of China could be improved.
The Chinese delegation comprised of H.E Mr. Le Yucheng, Ms. Xie Liyan (counselor from Press section), Mr. Zhou Yijun (press section), Ms. Zhao Ting (Political section) and Mr. Ren Hao (Private secretary to the ambassador).
The CPPR-CSS team consisted of D. Dhanuraj ( Chairman), Prof K.C Abraham (Academic Director), Gopinath Panangad, Project Consultant, Anthony Dawson D’silva (Academic coordinator, Founder Trustees Aniesh P. Rajan and Seppi Sebastian, Director Projects Madhu Sivaraman, Ms. Vinny Davis Research Associate of CPPR- CSS, alongside non-resident fellows, Mr. K.V Thomas(Security Analyst), and Dr. C.R Pramod. Ms. Parveen Hafeez and Alex Thomas from the industry were also part of the deliberations.