Chinese Communist Party Centenary and India-China Relations


Research Fellow and Centre Coordinator East Asia Centre The Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi Dr. Jagannath Panda

The centennial celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) marked a moment of political grandeur and triumph for China. Governments across the world watched the ostentatious celebrations play out at Tiananmen Square, while President Xi Jinpingʼs centennial anniversary speech offered insight into Beijingʼs and the CCPʼs immediate strategies for “marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects1.” This holds immense strategic connotations for major powers in the world, and particularly for its Asian neighbour and slowly turning into China ʼs rival power, India. So, what do a hundred years of the CCP denote for India-China ties?
Low Confidence, Lack of Trust
Confidence has remained at an all-time low in New Delhiʼs Beijing outlook post-Galwan. India and Chinaʼs diplomatic and political relationship has remained unstable, with the disengagement process taking a long time amidst continued distrust between the two nations. Concurrently, while a year post-Galwan, China has once again become India ʼs biggest trade partner, New Delhi has launched ventures such as the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) with partner countries of Japan and Australia in an effort to illustrate its long-term strategy to move its manufacturing dependence away from China. In the technological sphere, too, India has now permanently banned close to sixty Chinese applications, building on its initial bans on the same from June 2020. It has also excluded Chinese telecom companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, from participating in 5G trials due to security considerations, particularly in the backdrop of the rising India-China border tensions in recent times.
The distrust in India-China ties was recently highlighted in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modiʼs Independence Day speech of 2021, wherein he stated that “India is responding to the twin challenges of terrorism and expansionism with great courage” in a veiled reference to both its neighbors, Pakistan and China. China responded to the speech stating that it believes the “right path for the two sides is to respect and support each other as this serves our long-term interests” and is willing to work with India to improve “political mutual trust.” However, as the disengagement from Hot Springs friction point remains - the last of the friction points from the Galwan clash - to be undertaken, the chances of improving bilateral ties remain low. This stands especially true until China shows dedication in implementing the ʻfive-point agreementʼ which called for quick de-escalation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), signed in September 2020.