Interaction with the Delegation from the Fudan University, Shanghai
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) hosted a delegation from the Fudan University, Shanghai on 14 November 2019. The Delegation was led by Zhang Weiwei, Distinguished Professor of International Relations and Director of the China Institute at Fudan University. The other members of the delegations were Zhu Caihua, Fan Yongpeng, and Lin Minwang. Hu Hailiang and Qin Wenci were from the Division of Information and Public Diplomacy, Department of Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.

Brig Vinod Anand, Senior Fellow VIF, delivered the opening/welcome remarks. In his remarks, he highlighted the symbolic importance of Fudan University. During PM Modi’s visit to China, the Indian and Gandhian Centre studies was inaugurated at the Fudan University in India-China ties. The other members of the Indian side were Amb. Anil Wadhwa, Amb R. Rajagopalan and Prof. Sujit Dutta.

Prof Zhang Weiwei in his opening remarks said the world was going through a shift from vertical to horizontal in nature. He argued that the Chinese political model was the most viable alternative to the western model. Unlike the western model, in the political domain, the China model countries select and elect with the aim of promoting meritocracy. Further, to be a member of a Standing Committee Communist Party Politburo, the prerequisite is that one should have been the governor of a province at least twice. This implies that the person is efficient as well as competent enough to govern and is competent enough to run the administration.

In the economic domain, the China model is based on mixed economy where there is a combined force of state and market. It stands for the state sector and the private sector playing a complementary role to each other and is much more competitive than the American capitalist model. It is for this reason, he felt that China has not faced any financial crisis. Although there have been difficulties but not a crisis.

In the social domain, it is about mutual interaction between state and society rather than opposition to each other. It is a positive interaction between the two. China has experienced four industrial revolutions and to come to its present level of development. Today its manufacturing capacity is equal to that of the US, Germany and other European states combined. This is accompanied by the telecommunication revolution. As a result of this development, today it is only China and the US that are competitors in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, etc).

The speaker claimed that China was not at this point too troubled by the US-China trade friction, as China is the only country that can offer products, goods and services from all the four revolutions. He claimed that China has a different approach to the International order which stands for win-win ties and cooperation. He reiterated that China stands for a new type of globalisation based on Deng Xiaoping’s call for emancipation of mind and seeking truth from facts.

The interaction also covered the New Global Order, Indo-Pacific, Belt and Road Initiative, RCEP and India-China bilateral Relations.

New Global Order

The Chinese participant argued that the China stood for a more win-win situation rather than the present zero-sum game, especially concerning the developing countries. Neo-Liberalism has helped China by allowing the manufacturing bases move to China from high cost developed economies to low cost. They also argued that the emerging world order will call greater dialogue between India and China. At the moment there are many common challenges for both such as food security and Climate Change. A change in the composition of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in also necessary.

The Indian participants reiterated that at present the international economic system was a rule-based order and a market system.

Indo-Pacific

The Chinese participants expressed their concern about US intentions in the Indo-Pacific. China is puzzled as to what “free” and “open” means in the Indo-Pacific. They are not opposed to India playing a big role in the region. The Indian participants emphasized that Indo-Pacific concept or the QUAD are not anti-China in nature but a new framework for grappling with changing geo-strategic realities.

Belt and Road Initiative

The Chinese participants said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), was about building connectivity and development around the world. For China, BRI is an economic cooperation framework it is not any geopolitical ambition. During the 2014 visit to India, Xi Jinping had said that “India is the largest country in South Asia” and China is the largest neighbour bordering India and both the countries should cooperate. China has been invited by the South Asian countries to invest in infrastructure projects. The intra-regional trade in South Asia is just 5 per cent while in East Asia it is 50 per cent. This is the reason behind the presence in South Asia. The Indian participants, expressed their concern about the BRI’s as it is in violation of India sovereignty, besides being a debt-driven model.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

The Chinese viewpoint on India not joining the RCEP is that Indian is concerned about the influx of goods from China, but it would have helped India to be part of the global value chain (GVC), they argued. If India would have joined RCEP, it could have benefitted from the membership and integrated into the production network. India would have been able to attract more investment. India’s service sector is very competitive and they are looking at the international market. The Indian side argued that the Indian position on RCEP has to be seen in terms of its legitimate concerns which have to be addressed before India can join the group.

India-China bilateral Relations

The Chinese participants reiterated that there were many challenges in India-China relations. They said that the issue of trade deficit has arisen because the Indian market was not competitive. Today India has an industrialisation deficit India relies on the external market for much of its industrial products, especially from China. The Indian side argued that the trade deficit has become a serious issue because of the restriction imposed by China on the entry of Indian goods in China.

On the issue of supporting India’s candidature in the United Nation Security Council, the Chinese participants argued that India’s position is linked to that of Japan. Indian side argued that India’s candidature cannot be compared with that of any other country and without it China call for a more horizontal world would be hollow.

Overall, there was a consensus that both countries have to work together for the realisation of a peaceful Asian Century. There are issues like climate change, food security, trade, on which both countries have to work together.

Event Date 
November 14, 2019

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