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The Narendra Modi administration’s refurbished Pakistan policy after the Uri attack has been impressive thus far. Can it bring the same focus to its engagement with China?
The irritants du jour in the relationship with Beijing—the latter’s blocking India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and also to thwart India’s bid to have the United Nations ban Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar—have seemed unresolvable so far. But now, in the run-up to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in Goa later this month, Beijing has hinted at the possibility of an accommodation on the NSG issue.
It would be foolish to read too much into this. But it raises the question: does New Delhi have any leverage it can use to exploit the opening? Economic incentives are one option, given Chinese investors’ increasing interest in the Indian market. This, though, will be tricky; Chinese investment may come with strings attached. This is as stern a test of Modi’s nous as Pakistan.