Despite their differences on the issues that were earlier described, China and India remain committed to upholding the UN Charter, the policy of principled neutrality, their strategic partnerships with Russia, and their shared vision of a Multipolar World Order.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Indian officials after arriving in New Delhi on Thursday evening for an unannounced visit in what represents the first high-level trip there by a Chinese official in two years. Plenty has happened since then, including clashes along their disputed frontier and of course the commencement of Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine that accelerated the global systemic transition towards multipolarity.
Multiple rounds of talks have taken place in the Himalayas between their militaries, though with only minimal progress having been achieved thus far. Even so, it’s commendable that there hasn’t been any significant escalation since the incident along the Galwan River Valley in summer 2020. This speaks to the shared vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi to peacefully resolve their disputes in the spirit of these Great Powers’ strategic partnership.
That’s an immensely significant reason in and of itself for Mr. Wang to visit India following his trip to Islamabad as the first Chinese official to participate in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Foreign Ministers Conference and the brief visit that then took to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. It’s pragmatic for China’s top diplomat to visit three of South Asia’s most important countries during the same regional sojourn but the global context of his trip to India adds a heightened significance to this.
The US-led West’s unprecedented and preplanned response to Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine that the Kremlin commenced to stop the genocide in Donbass, denazify and demilitarize this former Soviet Republic, and dismantle its US-supported Weapons of Mass Destruction programs rocked the entire global system. Russia has now come under more sanctions than even the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran. Many are also fearful of a Third World War breaking out.
Amidst this fast-moving and extremely complicated sequence of events, China and India have both impressively practiced a policy of principled neutrality whereby they’ve refused to support or oppose any party to these hostilities. They bravely defied immense US pressure to vote against Russia at the UN General Assembly and also haven’t submitted to its demands to sanction Moscow either. This speaks to their sincere commitment to the UN Charter and the strength of their ties with Russia.
As the world’s two most populous countries and among its largest economies, there’s no doubt that the Asian Century that many hope to see unfold across the next eight decades will require extremely close cooperation between China and India if it’s to fully enter into fruition. The unresolved disputes along their frontier and disagreements over investment, tech, and trade issues mustn’t serve as an impediment to this mutually beneficial grand strategic vision nor be exploited by third parties.
China and India have a responsibility to their fellow Global South peers and the rest of the world more broadly to work together in pursuit of accelerating the ongoing global systemic transition towards multipolarity that they’re leading together with fellow BRICS and SCO member Russia. In fact, these three Great Powers comprise what’s regarded as RIC, which refers to their strategic trilateral that serves as one of the most important engines of multipolarity.
Despite their differences on the issues that were earlier described, China and India remain committed to upholding the UN Charter, the policy of principled neutrality, their strategic partnerships with Russia, and their shared vision of a Multipolar World Order. They’re also self-respecting and confident Great Powers that have proven their independence by not submitting to American pressure. This makes it imperative for them to overcome the obstacles in the way to them changing the world for the better.
Should that happen, and there are plenty of reasons to be cautiously optimistic especially considering the historic global context in which Mr. Wang’s trip is taking place, then the US’ already declining unipolar hegemony will accelerate in parallel with the Multipolar World Order entering into fruition a lot faster than even its most passionate supporters might have expected. When China, India, and Russia work together, there’s no stopping the game-changing forces that they can collectively unleash.