What Does China’s 19th National Congress Mean for India?

While China reshuffles its top leadership during the 19th National Congress beginning 18 October 2017, Xi’s ambition to remain in helm for the second term and even longer is clear. This means that India should prepare to deal with him for the next decade or even longer.

What Does China’s 19th National Congress Mean for India?

China’s power corridor in Beijing is geared up for the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 18 which will last for a week and where 2000 top Chinese officials have gathered to share best of their ideas to shape up the country and take it forward.  China’s president and the party’s general secretary, Xi Jinping has consolidated his position in a way that could not be replicated by any of predecessors since Mao Tse Tung and Deng Xiaoping. Five of the top seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top decision making body will be retiring this year. Moreover, 11 of the 25 wider politburo members and about half of the 205 Central Committee members will retire in 2017. Xi enjoys the unique opportunity to strengthen his position in the Politburo and the entire core Communist party circle by inducting the members who are highly loyal to him and whom he has groomed.

The way things happen within the party. Changes must have been decided already which will not be visible from outside so soon. The secrecy can come to advantage for Xi, whose tight grip on the Communist Party of China (CCP) can be enhanced from the time he rose to power of being the general secretary in November 2012.

Xi’s ambition to remain in helm for the second term was clear when he wrote his own political philosophy in the CCP constitution. He may also bring about an amendment elevating him constitutional status akin to Mao Zedong, founding member of the CCP and the People’s Republic of China, and Deng Xiaoping.

Xi has taken many bold initiatives. He has delivered on moderate GDP growth every year at the most challenging time under tremendous pressure when the global economy is still recovering from the export fall. He has taken 60 million Chinese out of poverty and very much on track to eradicate poverty in China by 2020. He initiated a visionary initiative a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure project called “One Belt, One Road” to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa to take control of global trade flow and he has been very successful so far. Xi stood as tall leader at the Davos and G20 Summit in 2017 to project as the global power in the new world order.

India has to see these developments in China very closely. We have a huge trade deficit with China in China’s favour. Xi-led China has been consistently blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group due to which India is unable to be part of global atomic commerce. China is the only and biggest barrier for India’s entry into the UN Security Council. China is investing over $45 billion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which touches most of the disputed territory and India has failed thoroughly to make any impact in the development.  China’s assertive approach in border disputes with neighbouring countries is scary. India is recently experiencing a 73-day-long military face-off at Doklam.

To summarise, China will be more aggressive in dealing with geopolitics and foreign policies. China’s adversaries such as United States, Japan and India should watch out Xi because if he gets the second term, the already asserting China can more potent in the global front.