India and China Hold First Meeting on Central Asia
India and China held their first official dialog on Monday. The main topic was on Central Asia, and focused on India’s and China’s similar strategic approaches on the region, such as like counter-terrorism, regional and energy security. The two-day talks concluded on Tuesday and were held in a civil and cordial manner. The talks also opened doors for further cooperation between New Delhi and Beijing, as both countries have a similar approach to the natural resources-rich, Central Asia.
The talks were held days before a two-member delegation from China is heads to New Delhi to discuss issues related to Afghanistan, especially the possible aftermath of NATO forces leaving the war-torn country. The two day dialog included specific issues such as regional security and counter-terrorism, SCO, energy security, development partnerships, and people-to-people contacts with the countries of the region
The Indian commission called upon the Vice Foreign Minister, Cheng Guoping, and discussed the similarity of Indian and Chinese involvement in Central Asia. The Chinese side briefed the Indian commission on China’s vision of its relations with Central Asia while the Indian side described details of India’s “Connect Central Asia” policy.
India and China are both neighbors to Central Asia and both have established close political and economic ties within the countries of Central Asia and its surroundings. Both countries stated that strong relationships with the countries of the Central Asia region were an important precedence in their foreign policy. The dialogue also pointed towards the growing involvement among foreign offices of India and China.
The China-India Central Asia dialogue also showed the two countries common ground of energy exploration and energy cooperation. China and India are the biggest energy consumers and are both buyers and plan to unite their efforts, and suggested jointly bidding for an oil field or gas field. The importance of needing a stable and secure environment was also discussed.
The Indian commission also interacted with scholars at the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) and the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) in Beijing.