Slow dance with China – Business Standard

From India’s Business Standard

Any visit by a Chinese president is important in and of itself, even if it seems to produce little forward movement on key issues. President Hu Jintao’s four-day Indian sojourn has not produced any breakthroughs, leading to understandably tepid media coverage, but the two largest countries in Asia have to engage with each other, and frequent summit-level meetings are therefore to be encouraged. To be sure, India has reason to be wary of Chinese intentions and actions: the border dispute makes little progress towards a settlement, China is certainly trying to encircle India with an aggressive posture (the so-called “string of pearls” strategy), and its relationship with Pakistan remains one that is in important ways directed at India. But to see China purely as a threat would be to indulge in a self-fulfilling prophecy; the world’s second-largest economy and India’s largest neighbour also presents important opportunities.

One that has been missed during Mr Hu’s visit is the chance to set an ambitious trade target. The goal of doubling bilateral trade in four years’ time translates into annual growth of about 20 per cent, which is less than the growth rate of India’s total external trade in recent years. It should be remembered that even the last bilateral trade target was set too low, and was reached two or three years ahead of schedule. History may now repeat itself. [Full Text]

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