No Mention of India in Speech, Xi Jinping’s Focus on PLA, Security Interests Has Implications for Delhi

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-hour speech at the inaugural session of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 20th Congress on October 16 did not have a mention of India while he spoke extensively on from the country’s ‘Zero-Covid’ policy to Taiwan and Hong Kong, shifting to national security and development, and the modernisation of People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

It suggests that the CCP deliberations could impinge on India as well.

First, Xi Jinping’s assertion that “dynamic zero-Covid” policy is correct in saving lives meant that border controls will not be relaxed anytime soon, leading to hardships to Indian students and businesses.

Despite recent limited progress on visas, thousands of them are affected by Chinese Covid policies.

Second, Xi said that “momentous changes of a like not seen in a century are accelerating across the world” and that “significant shift is taking place in the international balance of power, presenting China with strategic opportunities” suggest two possibilities of collaboration with India and other states in multi-polarity phenomena (BRICS/ Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) or the risk of intensifying conflict on the borders.

Thirdly, related to the above, Xi reiterated to the “PLA modernisation” and “safeguarding China’s dignity and core interests” has implications for India as with other countries.

“We will intensify military training under combat conditions across the board to see that our armed forces can fight. We will innovate new military strategic guidance to develop strategies and tactics for people’s war, establish a strong system of strategic deterrence…,” Xi had said.

Xi had vowed to modernise the military by 2027 for which the PLA had undergone organisational changes and other upgrades.

Xi’s speech had mentioned 73 times security aspects and a separate section on national security, which indicates to a renewed thrust on the security establishment.

Fourth, the circulation of Galwan related videos in the mainstream media in China, in addition to parading Fa Qibao, a Galwan skirmish participant this February during winter Olympics, suggest that the fire is not doused in bilateral relations with India.

Fifthly, Xi’s plan to focus on science and technology and innovation could pose competition for the US, India and other countries.

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