Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] In search of the Wuhan spirit

At the upcoming Mamallapuram summit, India must ensure that it does not provoke China.
By IASToppers
October 10, 2019


  • Introduction
  • What has changed after last Wuhan summit in 2018?
  • China’s concerns
  • Conclusion
  • IT’s Input
    • About Mahabalipuram

In search of the Wuhan spirit

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  • The second informal summit between leaders of India and China is scheduled to take place in October in the coastal town of Mamallapuram, south of Chennai.
  • Among the decisions taken at the Wuhan Summit held in April 2018 was to hold more such summits, aimed at ensuring higher levels of strategic communications.
  • However, one wonders whether in the past 18 months the two leaders did succeed in enhancing strategic communications.

What has changed after last Wuhan summit in 2018?

  • Relations between China and the U.S. have sharply deteriorated.
  • While in 2018, the China-Russia joint partnership was trying to influence East Asia, by mid-2019, new alignments, including a further strengthening of India-Russia ties and new triangular relationship of Russia, India and Japan, changes the East Asian region dynamics.
  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has also come under increasing attack, even from countries which previously viewed China as a friendly nation.


  • Internal security concerns such as unrest in Tibet, inroads made by radical extremist groups in Xinjian, latest turn of events in Hong Kong and China- US trade war can impact the India-China relations.
  • However, in the last Wuhan summit, both countries decided to jointly work on an economic project in Afghanistan. However, it is not happening. Instead, China, along with countries like Pakistan, ensure that India has no role to play there.

China’s concerns

  • Since the Wuhan Summit in 2018, little has changed as far as India-China relations are concerned as Doklam and the disputed border between the two countries remains an issue of concern.
  • Additionally, certain recent actions by India are likely to arouse China’s suspicions about India’s intentions.
  • For example, the recent announcement by India of a military exercise named ‘Changthang Prahar (assault)’ near Chushul in eastern Ladakh is almost certain to be read suspiciously by China.
  • Also, the reopening of the Advance Landing Ground at Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh for the use of military aircraft and a proposed major combat exercise, also in Arunachal Pradesh, in which the new Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) will be seen in operation will add to China’s concerns.


  • China and India continue to have a contradictory outlook on many strategic issues including the nature of Asian security, regional stability and the role of the U.S. in the region.
  • If India does not proceed with care and caution, the Mamallapuram summit could well prove to be a step back from Wuhan.
  • With proper handling, the forthcoming meet could, on the other hand, provide India’s leaders with a realistic estimate as to where India-China relations are headed.

IT’s Input

About Mahabalipuram

In search of the Wuhan spirit -IASToppres

  • Mahabalipuram (or Mamallapuram) is an ancient port city in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. It is known for its great monuments, cave sanctuaries and sculptures.
  • The king Narasimha Varman I changed the name from Mamallapuram to Mahabalipuram.
  • It is located on the Coromandel Coast along the Bay of Bengal.
  • A monument complex at Mahabalipuram, known as the Group of Monuments including Shore Temple and the Five Rathas, is a UNESCO world site.
  • It was once ruled by the Pallava dynasty. In 8th century, a security pact was signed between China and a Pallava king (Rajasimhan, or Narasimha Varma II), from whom the Chinese sought help to counter Tibet.
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