There has been a serious deterioration in relations between India and China in the last couple of years but it can be “managed”, former National Security Advisor (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon said here on Thursday. Speaking at a seminar on “India-China Challenge”, the former ambassador to China advised “working out a new strategic framework” between New Delhi and Beijing.
“One of the primary reasons for the India-China relationship being adversarial is that in the last 30 years or so, the actual disparity in balance of power has deteriorated from New Delhi’s point of view. China is the only country with which relative power balance has deteriorated… there is this constant fear regarding Chinese military, growing economy and diplomatic clout in the region…,” he said.
Without making any reference to the UPA government, Menon said that New Delhi had developed a “modus vivendi” to deal with Beijing. “The problem is that in the past few years the working modus vivendi is probably breaking down and signs of stress in India-China relations is manifold like the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar (as a terrorist) or presence of PLA troops in Chumar… None of these is actually significant itself. But at the same, each of these were important as political symbols and as a message on India-China relations…”
Menon said the relationship with Beijing was not irreparable, adding that New Delhi has in the past managed to stitch together a working relationship while keeping other differences aside. “We cooperated where we could… on climate change… on WTO and managed to build a relation… There are 13,000 Indian students in China. We also managed to keep the border peaceful,” he added.