India-China: Political Relations
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On 1 April, 1950, India became the first non-socialist bloc country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited China in October 1954. While, the India-China border conflict in 1962 was a serious setback to ties, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark visit in 1988 began a phase of improvement in bilateral relations. The Joint Statement issued during the visit on 23 December 1988 clearly stated, “The leaders of the two countries held ernest, in-depth discussions on the India-China boundary question and agreed to settle this question through peaceful and friendly consultations. They also agreed to develop their relations actively in other fields and work hard to create a favourable climate and conditions for a fair and reasonable settlement of the boundary question while seeking a mutually acceptable solution to this question.” In 1993, the signing of an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the India-China Border Areas during Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s visit, reflected the growing stability and substance in bilateral ties. This was augmented by the Agreement on Confidence building Measures in the military Field Along the LAC in the India-China Border Areas.

Visits of Heads of States/Heads of Governments

Cumulative outcomes of seven key visits in recent times have been transformational for our ties. These were that of Prime Minister Vajpayee[2003], of Premier Wen Jiabao [2005 & 2010], of President Hu Jintao [2006], of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [2008 and 2013] and of Premier Li Keqiang [2013].

During Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit, the two sides signed a Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation and also mutually decided to appoint Special Representatives (SRs) to explore the framework of a boundary settlement from the political perspective.

The two sides established a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity during the April 2005 visit of Premier Wen Jiabao.This visit also saw the signing of an agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles which signaled the successful conclusion of the first phase of SR Talks.

During Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India in November 2006, the two sides issued a Joint Declaration containing a ten-pronged strategy to intensify cooperation.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited China in January 2008. Ajoint document titled "A Shared Vision for the 21st Century" was issued during the visit.

When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India in December 2010, both sides decided to establish the mechanism of regular exchange of visits between Heads of State/Government.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paid a State visit to India(Delhi-Mumbai) from 19-21 May 2013. During this visit, the two sides signed eight agreements and released a Joint Statement. Some of the significant proposals included in the Joint Statement were the decision to designate 2014 as the Year of Friendly Exchanges between India and China, decision to hold the first High Level Media Forum and the agreement to facilitate cooperation and linkages between Indian and Chinese cities & states/provinces. The first meeting of the India-China CEO’s Forum was also held during this visit.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid an official visit to China from 22-24 October 2013. He met with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of Standing Committee of National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang and former Premier Wen Jiabao. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also gave a speech at the Central Party School in Beijing. The two sides released a Joint Statement titled “A vision for future development of India-China strategic and cooperative partnership.” Agreements relating to border defence cooperation,trans-border rivers, establishing service centers for servicing power equipmentin India, road transport and Nalanda University were signed. Also signed were three agreements establishing sister-city partnership between Delhi-Beijing, Kolkata-Kunming and Bangalore-Chengdu.

It is noteworthy that more than 60% of the agreements between India and China have been signed during the last decade. As of today, both sides have established nearly 40 dialogue mechanisms covering diverse sectors.

The leaders of India and China have also been meeting on the sidelines of regional, plurilateral and multilateral gatherings and conferences. In terms of recent interactions, mention may be made of the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to India in March 2012 for the BRICS Summit. On 27 March 2013, during the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, Prime Minister met with the new Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time. The leaders of the two countries have also met on the sidelines of various multilateral summits.

Other high level visits

While External Affairs Minister visited China twice in 2012, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited India in February. External Affairs Minister, Shri Salman Khurshid, paid an official visit from 9-10 May 2013 and met with Premier Li Keqiang, State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. EAM also met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bruneion the sidelines of the ARF Foreign Ministers Meeting on 2 July 2013. During this visit, the Protocol between the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation in bilateral relations was signed.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also visited India from 9-11 November 2013 to participate in the RIC Trilateral Foreign Ministers Meetingand the ASEM FMs meeting.

Chinese Defence Minister visited India in September 2012. Raksha Mantri Shri A.K. Antony paid a three day official visit to China from 4-7 July 2013. He held delegation level talks with his counterpart Gen. Chang Wanquan and also called on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. A Joint Statement was also released during the visit on 6 July.

The Special Representatives on the India-China Boundary Question have met 16 times so far. The 16th round of talks between the Special Representatives, Shri Shivshankar Menon, National Security Adviser and Mr Yang Jiechi, State Councillor took place in Beijing on June 28-29, 2013. Shri Menon called on Premier Li Keqiang and met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 28 June 2013. It may be recalled that at the conclusion of the 15th round of the SR Talks in New Delhi in January 2012, the two countries reached a consensus to set-up the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, which has already met four times.  

To facilitate high level exchanges of Party leaders from China and State Chief Ministers from India, a special arrangement has been entered into by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA-ILD) since 2004. There areregular Party-to-Party exchanges between the Communist Party of China and  political parties in India.

Major dialogue mechanisms

The year 2013 saw a continuation and expansion of the bilateral dialogue mechanisms. The fifth round of India-China Strategic Dialogue was held in New Delhi on 20 August 2013. The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary,Smt. Sujatha Singh, and the Chinese side was led by Vice Foreign Minister Mr.Liu Zhenmin. Also, consultations on Afghanistan (April), the Sixth Round of the Counter-Terrorism Dialogue (April), Consular Talks (May) and the first Central Asia Dialogue (August) were held in China in 2013. Besides, Foreign Office Consultations was held in September 2013. Further, the seventh meeting of the Expert-Level Mechanism on Trans-border Rivers between China and India was held in Beijing in May 2013.


India-China political relations are enhanced and strengthened by various mechanisms.  There is a close and regular interaction between strategic and foreign policy think-tanks. These exchanges continued to be strengthened during 2013. CICIR has regular interactions with IDSA and ICS; there is a dialogue between China Reform Forum and Aspen India; between USI and China Institute for Internationa Strategic Studies; as well as between ICWA and CPIFA