Ever since the Doklam stand-off between India and China ended last year, relations have thawing between the two nuclear superpowers. While the construction of China’s Belt and Road Initiative continues to draw criticism in India, both nations have made a point of talking about a cooperate future.
In that sense, the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit has seen further positive signs. The two Asian giants have already signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on the sharing of the Brahmaputra river, as well as recognised that the SCO meet is geared towards agreeing on a counter-terrorism strategy with Pakistan.
However, it seems like China may have overestimated their influence over Indian authorities today. Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui mentioned that his Indian friends “mentioned that China, India and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral cooperation under the SCO. If a China-Russia-Mongolia trilateral is possible, then why don’t we try working China-India-Pakistan out?”
Inaugurating a seminar on “Beyond Wuhan: How Fast and Far Can China-India Relations Go?”, Zhaohui also stated that China-India relations had grown beyond simple bilateral treaties. The two nations “should continue to push forward ‘China-India plus’ cooperation.” One example of the cited cooperation was the joint training programme for Afghanistan’s civil servants.
Unsurprisingly, there was a quick and short response from the Indian camp. Mentioning that there had been no official approach on the matter from China, Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, stated, “We consider the statement as the personal opinion of the Ambassador. Matters related to India-Pakistan relations are purely bilateral in nature and have no scope for involvement of any third country.”