China and India don’t always see eye to eye on important issues, but our larger neighbour is closely watching how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States pans out and is hoping Modi is able to sway US President Donald Trump on important issues.
This turnaround in Beijing’s concerns has come as the two nations share common interests when dealing with America. A report in state-run Global Times on Friday said any gains made by Modi in his talks with Trump, on immigration and climate change, will also benefit China.
Modi is going to the US on a two-day visit. He will land in US on June 25 and will meet Trump on June 26. The tour has been described as a “no-frills” business-only visit aimed at breaking the ice, and building a relationship between the two leaders.
“It will be interesting to see how Modi’s visit to the US will influence the two countries’ bilateral economic ties,” the article said.
“Chinese people will take a close look at the summit because some of the issues also concern China’s interests,” it said.
“For instance, Trump is reforming US immigration policies, including the H-1B visa, a type of visa whose biggest and second-biggest recipients are India and China, respectively.”
The H-1B visa programme is the most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals.
“The curb on H-1B visas is bad news not only for the Indian IT sector but also Chinese students studying in US universities. China will most likely be willing to express support for India’s stance over the H-1B visa, and hopefully the problem can get solved during Modi’s summit with Trump,” the report stated.
Also in the backdrop of Trump withdrawing from the Paris climate deal, any gains made by Modi on climate issues will benefit China, it said.
“The dispute over climate issues will perhaps continue to evolve during the upcoming (Modi-Trump) summit. Will Modi use the opportunity to pressure the US to undertake its obligations?” it said as a China too announced its adherence to the Paris deal.
“Against this background, some key issues such as the H-1B visa programme and Paris agreement are likely to have a much greater impact on the whole picture of the bilateral ties, and thus the two countries may have more motivation to solve these problems. If the Modi-Trump meeting can make achievements in this regard, other countries like China are also expected to benefit from it,” the article said.
“China is glad to see India and the US strengthening their economic ties. However, New Delhi’s bargaining power in negotiations with Washington is limited, so it is unrealistic for Modi to totally change Trump’s attitude toward the H-1B visa and Paris agreement. China needs to have a clear anticipation of the summit and be prepared for any eventualities,” it added.