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China-India Relations under the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 07 , 2021 10:08 PM by YU Hongjun

[Author]YU Hongjun, Senior Advisor to iGCU of Peking University


On May 7, 2021, the 3rd Seminar on“Trilateral Perspectives on Indo-Pacific Strategic Security and Cooperation: China, The United States, and India”, hosted by the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU) of Peking University and supported by US-China Education Trust (USCET), was successfully held. The seminar, themed“New Geo-Economic Landscape in Asia”, was chaired by Ms. Teresita Schaffer, former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka. Yu Hongjun, Vice President of Chinese Peoples Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD), former Chinese Ambassador to Uzbekistan, chief researcher of the Charhar Institute, and Senior Advisor to iGCU of Peking University; Robert Zoellick, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, former U.S. Trade Representative and former President of the World Bank; and Rakesh Mohan, former Executive Director of India at International Monetary Fund (IMF) and former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, attended the seminar and delivered keynote speeches. More than 20 former dignitaries and renowned experts and scholars attended the conference, discussing topics including“Changes in Global Order and Global Governance”, “Prospects for Development of Three Countries under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” and “Emerging Geo-economics in Asia in the Post-pandemic Era” as well as analyzing and envisaging future trilateral strategic security and cooperation. In YU's keynote speech during the seminar, he shared his views on how China-India relations shall develop in times of COVID-19.


As neighboring great ancient civilizations, China and India are the two biggest developing countries and emerging marketing economieswith an population of over 1 billion. They have extensive common interests and immense potential of cooperation, for they both serve as the pivotal engines of world economic growth and vital forces to promote world multi-polarization and economic globalization. Therefore, China and India shall be friends and partners, rather than threats and opponents.

India currently suffers greatly from the threat of the new wave of COVID-19. In his condolence message to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, President Xi Jinping pointed out the human are the community with a shared future, and only by unity and cooperation, countries will be able to win the battle against the pandemic. So China is willing to provide support and help with India, enhancing the cooperation on pandemic prevention and control.

As for bilateral trade, both China and India are developing countries and emerging marketing economies. The two economies are highly complementary and enjoy great potentials for cooperation. On the basis of safeguarding the free trade system, China and India should take bilateral relations as a starting point, deepen their participation in the global value chain and expand multilateral business cooperation in Asia

As for multilateral cooperation, the two developing nations shalljointly reform existing international multilateral organizations and further participate in global governance. The cooperation of China and India has a indicative and decisive significance for emerging countries to be involved in global governance in a better way. China and India should deepen their cooperation in the field of environmental protection, and promote the realization of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals based on environmental protection in the Himalayan region.

It is not easy for India to maintain its strategic independence in the current atmosphere of so-called Sino-US strategic competition. Going forward, the two sides should implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strictly abide by a series of agreements reached by the two sides, strengthen dialogue and communication, improve the control mechanism, maintain the current situation of easing and cooling down, and avoid recurrence of the situation on the ground.

In short, it is hoped that India and China will meet each other halfway and implement the consensus of the leaders of the two countries that “posing no threat to each other and providing development opportunities for each other”, bring more benefits to the 2.7 billion Chinese and Indian people, and make greater contributions to the peace and development of Asia.