Readers: Xi's South Asian tour to enhance good-neighborliness

Updated: 2014-09-17 14:47


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Mark Munro(Canada)

When Xi eventually makes his arrival, it should not be underestimated how important his talks within the Indian subcontinent will be. While China's diplomatic relations to the East have recently cooled with Vietnam and the Philippines over territorial disputes, Xi's journey to the West is a chance for him to be a bulwark for stability and cooperation between India and its neighboring countries.

India's relations with the US haven't exactly been cordial in the past year, with US Secretary of State John Kerry pushing for better economic ties during a visit in July. Compared to the US though, China is a different card: As the two most populous countries in the world, both BRICS members, and home to two of the fastest growing economies, both China and India have nothing to lose from deepening their ties as Asian economic powerhouses in both regional and global affairs.

Readers: Xi's South Asian tour to enhance good-neighborliness

Building of India's Foreign Ministry in New Delhi. [Photo/Xinhua]

In addition to India, Xi is also scheduled to land first in Colombo to meet with Sri Lankan Prime Minister, D.M. Jayaratne. The small island nation has already seen its economy improve with massive Chinese investment. The country will soon boast a second major airport and national highway system which is almost complete. Tourism to the southern beaches of Sri Lanka has seen heavy investment and a large increase in tourists from Sri Lanka and abroad. In addition, investment in Colombo's main port has turned the capital into a shipping hub that has seen traffic increase enough to rival other major ports in SE Asia as a major trade route.

The crux of this mission will lie in Xi's ability to reassure India how integral its role with China is in not only regional, but also international affairs. Fifty years ago, a meeting between Mao and Nehru would have been significant, but not as paramount as Xi's upcoming visit with Modi: China and India have become 21st century powerhouses in the global economy and the world will be watching. In many ways, the future of Asia and the global economy is at stake in ensuring mutual cooperation, sustained prosperity and continued development for the billions of people represented by their respective leaders. It is a chance for both to work together as neighbors should, without US involvement and in support of the BRICS agenda as a majority of the developing world.