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India-China Political Relations

On 1 April, 1950, India became the first non-socialist bloc country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Prime Minister Nehru visited China in October 1954. Though the border conflict in 1962 was a setback to ties, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark visit in 1988 marked the beginning of improvement in bilateral relations. In 1993, the signing of an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China Border Areas during Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s visit reflected the growing stability in bilateral ties. The cumulative outcomes of the exchange of high-level visits have added value and substance to our ties.

During Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit in 2003, India and China signed the Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation and decided to appoint Special Representatives (SRs) to explore the framework of a boundary settlement.

During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in September 2014, the relationship was upgraded to a Closer Development Partnership. A total of 16 agreements were signed in various sectors including, commerce & trade, railways, space -cooperation, pharmaceuticals, establishment of industrial parks, and sister-city arrangements. The two sides also signed a MoU to open the Nathu La route for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China in May 2015. During the visit, Prime Minister Modi and Premier Li also addressed the opening session of the First State/Provincial Leaders’ Forum in Beijing. There were 24 agreements signed on the government -to- government side, 26 MoUs on the business-to- business side and two joint statements, including one on climate change. Prime Minister also announced the extension of the e-visa facility for Chinese tourists to India.

President Pranab Mukherjee made a state visit to China in May 2016. He visited Guangdong and Beijing where he met with the Chinese leadership, and during the visit ten MoUs in the field of education and research were concluded. Prime Minister Modi visited China in September 2016 to participate in the G20 Summit in Hangzhou and in September 2017 to participate in the BRICS Summit in Xiamen. President Xi visited India in October 2016 to participate in the BRICS Summit in Goa.

2018 witnessed an upward swing in the momentum of ties. On 27-28 April 2018 Prime Minister Modi and President Xi held the first Informal Summit in Wuhan to exchange views on overarching issues of bilateral and global importance. The two leaders agreed to significantly enhance efforts to build on the convergences through the established mechanisms in order to create the broadest possible platform for the relationship. Prime Minister Modi also visited Qingdao on 09 June 2018 to participate in the 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and held bilateral talks with President Xi. Two agreements, relating to provision of hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river, and on phytosanitary requirements for rice exports, were signed at this meeting. The two leaders also meet frequently on the sidelines of multilateral summits, most recently on 30 November 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

Other high level visits and mechanisms:

India and China have established more than thirty dialogue mechanisms at various levels, covering bilateral political, economic, consular issues as well as dialogues on regional and global issues. The Foreign Ministers meet regularly. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi visited India on 21-23 December 2018 to participate in the 1stHigh level Meeting on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges. EAM Sushma Swaraj last visited China in April 2018 to participate in the Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO Member Countries, and also held bilateral interactions with H.E. Mr. Wang Yi and called on Vice President Wang Qishan.

Following establishment of the SR mechanism in 2003, 21 rounds of talks have been held. The 21stround of talks between NSA Shri Ajit Doval and State Councilor and Foreign MinisterWang Yi was held in Chengdu on 24 November 2018, the first since H.E. Mr. Wang Yi was designated as the Chinese SR. Previously, Shri Ajit Doval had met the previous SR, Mr. Yang Jiechi, Director of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee in Shanghai in April 2018. The two SRs also met in Mumbai on 23 December 2018. The Strategic Dialogue, which is led by the Foreign Secretary and the Vice Foreign Minister on the Indian and Chinese sides respectively was first held in February 2017. Foreign Secretary Shri Vijay Gokhale and Vice Foreign Minister Mr. Kong Xuanyou met in Beijing in February 2018, and in New Delhi (April 2018, June 2018, December 2018) as part of regular diplomatic consultations.

Chinese Defence Minister and Minister of Public Security, State Councilor Wei Fenghe and State Councilor Zhao Kezhi respectively, made bilateral visits to India in October 2018. To facilitate high level exchanges of Party leaders from China and Chief Ministers from India, MEA has an MOU with the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China since 2004.

Last Updated: January 2019