An Opportunity for India to Shine
India is set to host the prestigious G-20 conference in New Delhi, assuming the role of chairmanship. This global gathering of leaders presents a significant opportunity for India to assert its presence on the international stage. However, it’s noteworthy that Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be personally attending the event, opting to send the Prime Minister of China instead. Similarly, Russian President Vladimir Putin will also be absent. This raises questions about the reasons behind President Xi’s decision, especially considering recent developments in the India-China relationship.
Reasons for Xi Jinping’s Absence
Srikanth Kondapalli, Dean of the School of International Studies and Professor of Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, sheds light on the factors influencing Xi Jinping’s absence. During a recent meeting of security chiefs in Johannesburg, South Africa, it was likely conveyed that Xi Jinping would attend the G-20 summit in New Delhi. However, the Chinese President has chosen not to travel to Delhi in person, delegating the Prime Minister instead. A similar scenario unfolds with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s non-attendance, potentially isolating China.
Concerns Over Isolation
During last year’s G-20 conference, a significant resolution was passed, with Russia and China on one side and 18 other countries opposing it. This history might have China concerned about facing isolation and criticism from the 18 nations regarding the Ukraine crisis. This fear could be a compelling reason behind President Xi Jinping’s decision to stay away from India.
Global South Influence
China may also be wary of India’s growing influence within the Global South. India’s push to include the African Union as a member in the G-20 could reduce China’s influence, given the African Union’s significant membership of 55 countries. Consequently, China might be reluctant to see India’s influence within the Global South expand.
Tensions and Resentment
Tensions stemming from the Galwan Valley clash and subsequent controversies, such as changes in maps, have left a lingering sense of resentment among the Indian populace towards China. In light of this, China may believe that President Xi Jinping’s visit to India at this juncture could lead to public opposition and unfavorable sentiment. As a result, President Xi Jinping has opted for a cautious approach, limiting his international visits this year to Moscow and South Africa.
In conclusion, President Xi Jinping’s decision not to attend the G-20 conference in person appears to be influenced by concerns over potential isolation, India’s rising influence within the Global South, and domestic sentiments in India. These factors have contributed to the delicate dynamics surrounding China’s participation in this international event.