Wary world reaches out to Xi Jinping with tentative handshakes

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi ran into Chinese President Xi Jinping during G20 Gala Dinner in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday, sending the shutter boxes clicking for the rare photo opportunities following a three years long strained relations between India and China after the People’s Liberation Army came to the eastern Ladakh to force a status quo change on the line of actual control.

Modi has stayed away from a bilateral meeting with Xi since the onset of the Ladakh standoff. In Samarkand, Modi stayed away from Xi during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit where he had bilateral with a number of the heads of the states. There were no visuals of any handshake of Modi and Xi in Samarkand.

But on Tuesday Xi walked near the place where Modi was seated alongside the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, engrossed in conversations following a bilateral with President Joe Biden. Modi seemingly displayed courtesy to rise to shake hands with Xi, with interlocuters rushing in to help in translation, but apparently there was nothing more than pleasantries exchanged between the two leaders. There were no official statements either on what transpired during the brief chat.

So far there is no suggestion that there would be any bilateral between Modi and Xi, which is line with the Indian position that the relations between the two countries cannot be normal if the line of actual control is disturbed. China in pursuance of its ‘Salami Slicing’ strategy in which it seeks to usurp the land of the neighbouring countries, while also insisting that the border issues be not raised at the leadership levels and be left for the military commanders to handle has been maintaining that India shouldn’t insist on resolution of the Ladakh standoff.

Xi has somewhat hogged the limelight at the G20 Summit, as Biden held a bilateral with him for three hours to size up the Chinses President who has taken a third term after purging the rivals in the Communist Party in China. UK Prime minister Rishi Sunak has also stated that he would look forward for a discussion with Xi even while there are several concerns about China. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had recently rushed to Beijing to fete Xi apparently coming under the pressure of the industrialists from Germany who seek good ties with China to protect their market.

But the world has given ample hints at G20 Summit in Bali that they are wary of Xi’s third term, as he has usurped unprecedented power by purging all his rivals. Also, the world is growing suspect of China, for Xi during his address at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party dropped enough hints of him embarking on an economic policy which will be contrary to his predecessor Hu Jintao’s embracing of the globalization and promotion of the private enterprises. The world is wary also on the count that the collapse of the Chinese economy could unleash cascading effects on the global economy because of the key role of Beijing in the global supply chain.

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