Papers urge better India-China ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan (right) are on a three-day state visit to India Image copyright EPA
Image caption Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan (right) are on a three-day state visit to India

Papers feel President Xi Jinping's visit will change China-India ties "into a win-win from a zero-sum game".

Mr Xi is likely to talk about trade, defence cooperation and border issues when he meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Most analysts feel the time has come for the two countries to leave their border disputes and suspicions behind for a new "trade-driven" relationship.

The two countries disagree over the demarcation of several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.

Tensions over the issue still flare up from time to time.

"The India-China dynamic has been defined by circumspection on the part of Delhi and unfriendly acts on the part of Beijing. But Xi is bringing with him a big delegation of over 100 Chinese business heads who, reportedly, are keen to invest $100bn in Indian infrastructure over the next five years," says The Times of India in an editorial.

And papers have reason to renew their faith in the bilateral relationship. Mr Xi has shown his preference for reforms since coming to power and Mr Modi's admiration for China's growth model is an open secret.

"Mr Xi comes with a reformist reputation while Mr Modi comes with a determination to wipe the slate clean with respect to mistakes committed by previous administrations," says the paper.

Papers say India's growing proximity with Japan is also likely to play a role in the Chinese president's trade offers to India.

The Indian PM secured several trade deals with Japan during his visit to the country last month, and most experts believe that China will be keen to outdo its Asian rival.

On border issues, some papers seem to be echoing the tough stand taken by the Indian government.

"External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has already stressed that for China to get India to reaffirm the 'One China' policy (Tibet and Taiwan), it must endorse the 'One India' policy (Arunachal Pradesh)," says The Pioneer.

The Hindu, however, advocates a more pragmatic approach, saying Mr Modi should use the opportunity to solve the border dispute.

"Mr Modi has a rare chance to seize the moment by stating India's political intent of solving the border row between the two countries, beginning with solid and measurable steps to clarify the Line of Actual Control (the de facto boundary), and to root out distracting and headline-grabbing border incidents," it says.

'Poll jolt'

In domestic news, media are prominently reporting the "stunning jolt" for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tuesday's by-election results.

The party lost eight of the 11 seats in the key state of Uttar Pradesh and three of the four seats in Rajasthan. Polling was held last week for three parliamentary and 33 state assembly seats in nine states.

The setback comes barely four months after the BJP's landslide win in the general election.

Papers say the by-election results indicate the party's diminishing popularity.

"Coming soon after two rounds of defeats - the first the Uttarakhand election and the second in the bypolls in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh - this round of defeats, the worst so far, was a stinging slap on the BJP's wrist just when it was showing signs of complacency," says The Times of India.

The Asian Age echoes similar sentiments, saying the results have "put a question mark on the popularity of Mr Modi".

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