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India National elections 2024 and India-China Relations

India National Elections 2024

China becomes a hot issue in Indian election for the first time

NEW DELHI: The ongoing India National Elections 2024, the world’s largest, have Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a third term with a focus on poverty alleviation and economic development.

India-China relations have become a key issue in this election, with tensions along the border and past interactions shaping Modi’s views on the country. Despite efforts to downplay the issue, the standoff between India and China on the Line of Actual Control remains a significant challenge.

The India National Elections 2024 will determine the future direction of India’s foreign policy and its India-China relations, with the main opposition Congress party highlighting the stakes for democracy and the constitution in this crucial election.

Key Concepts

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term in the world’s largest election.
  • The relationship between India and China is a key issue in the election.
  • Modi has faced criticism for his handling of China’s aggression.
  • Modi has emphasized the need for a resolution to the border standoff with China.
  • China’s actions are becoming an important election issue in India.
  • The opposition parties are focusing on unemployment and threats to democracy.
  • The general election in India will be held in seven phases over six weeks.

Shamima Kathun is waiting in a long queue outside the madrasa in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh. She is excited to cast her first vote in India national elections 2024. Nearly a billion voters like her start voting Friday in the world’s largest election.

Two-term Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a third term, has pledged to continue his poverty alleviation and development efforts to make India an economic superpower by 2047. But under his leadership, dwindling India-China relations have also become a hot issue in the India National Elections 2024.

A large group of voters queue up at the polling station to vote
A large group of voters queue up at the polling station to vote

For the first time in history, the China issue has become part of an Indian general election. In the past, general elections mainly focused on domestic issues. If there were foreign-related issues, they mostly accused Pakistan of inciting terrorism in India.

When Modi was chief minister of Gujarat 20 years ago, the United States, Britain, and many other Western countries refused to grant him a visa, so he turned to China. China regarded him as an Indian state government leader who valued business and trade and received him warmly.

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He later went to China many times to attract investment, hoping to learn something useful from China’s economic transformation. He often said that China has a “special place” in my heart. Chinese officials hailed him as the country’s leader, calling him a “rising political star.”

“Mr. Modi wants to build strong India-China relations and learn from China’s success in turning it into the world’s manufacturing hub,” a New Delhi-based analyst told the media on condition of anonymity.

Indian security personnel check voters documents before allowing them to enter a polling station to vote
Indian security personnel check voters’ documents before allowing them to enter a polling station to vote

“After winning the election in 2014 and becoming the Prime Minister of India, Modi immediately invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit his hometown of Ahmedabad and warmly received President Xi Jinping with extraordinary etiquette,” he added.

However, China began to increase its troops on the Indian border in large numbers and even invaded Indian territory, which resulted in bloody conflicts between the two countries.

During Modi’s second term, relations between India and China further deteriorated, with armies from both sides frequently confronting each other along the 2,100-mile-long border. Although Modi is portrayed as a strongman leader at home, and people even think he has the ability to stop the war between Russia and Ukraine, he has always kept a low profile when it comes to territorial disputes between India and China.

The political opposition criticized Modi for being weak when China invaded Indian territory. However, analysts believe that the Sino-Indian border dispute is unlikely to cause him much harm politically because he has successfully downplayed the issue in the political debate.

In an interview published in Newsweek before the election, Modi broke his silence on India-China relations and the standoff on the Line of Actual Control that has existed since April 2020. Prime Minister Modi called on both sides to “urgently resolve our long-standing border issues in order to move away from the anomalies in our bilateral interactions”.

“I hope and believe that through active and constructive bilateral engagement at the diplomatic and military levels, we will be able to restore and maintain peace and tranquility on our borders,” he added.

“PM Modi’s statement is another attempt by him to forge more ties with China ahead of the general election to avoid complicating the ruling party’s campaign. Modi and Xi Jinping held an informal meeting in 2018 ahead of the 2019 general election. The same is true for the summit, despite the 2017 Doklam incident,” Dr. Yabin T. Jacobs, director of the prestigious Center for Himalayan Studies in New Delhi, told the media.

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He further added: “This is also an opportunity to draw attention to the challenge China poses to our national security interests. If you just look at the past two weeks, there are at least three developments that have attracted attention, and these developments highlight India’s There has been a lack of response or a relative lack of dialogue in confronting China.”

In any case, China is still the focus of public attention in India.

“As our economy develops and our world status rises, China is not happy and always wants to cause trouble for India,” farmer activist Raja Jowala said in an interview with the media.

China’s economy is nearly five times the size of India’s, China remains India’s second-largest trading partner (after the United States), and China exports six times more products to India than it imports from India. China’s military spending is more than three times that of India, giving it clear advantages on land, sea, and air.

Although India does not want to become a casualty of the West’s struggle with Beijing and has not forgotten its icy past with the United States, China, which has been regarded as a secondary threat for most of India’s modern history, has now become an inevitable focus.

“During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister, India signed an agreement with China, and our relations have been very peaceful for more than a decade. Modi has done his best since becoming Prime Minister. Despite our best efforts, China’s belligerence continues unabated, which is why China is becoming an election issue in India,” said Dr. Sashadri Chari, Dean of Manipal Institute of Higher Education.

“Pakistan has long been a scapegoat for Indian politicians, but economically and militarily, it has lost its ability to cause harm to India, and its ability to have any adverse impact on Indian interests has been greatly reduced, so Pakistan has almost been removed from Indian politics. I disappeared in the debate,” he added.

In this India national elections 2024, Modi has so far avoided direct mention of China and has not made any comments in public or parliament on India-China relations over the past four years. Modi mentioned China only after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar made several scathing statements on India-China relations, repeatedly accusing China of violating its agreement with India by massing troops along the Line of Actual Control.

A large group of voters queue up at the polling station to vote
A large group of voters queue up at the polling station to vote

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh lashed out at China for changing the name of Arunachal Pradesh, hinting that India would do the same and blaming Beijing for “the deterioration of relations between the two countries”. Home Minister Amit Shah also said at a public meeting that the Chinese army was not able to occupy “an inch of Indian territory” because of India’s vigilance.

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Analysts say that with the rapid growth of India’s economy, China has begun to take active actions, investing heavily in its Belt and Road infrastructure, while India believes that the Belt and Road threatens its security and sphere of influence and has therefore taken more aggressive measures on its borders and in the Indian Ocean region. Radical move.

The Indian National Development and Inclusion Alliance (INDIA), composed of more than two dozen opposition parties, has made unemployment and threats to the country’s democracy key issues in the campaign. They accuse Modi’s government of using religion to weaken the opposition and divide the country through federal corruption probes.

Rahul Gandhi, leader of the main opposition Congress party, said in the Congress manifesto released this month: “This election is fundamentally a different election. I believe that the risks to democracy and the constitution have never been as high as they are today. “So big.” Although Gandhi is not considered a likely candidate for prime minister, he is widely seen as Modi’s main challenger.

The India National Elections 2024, which begin on Friday, will be held in seven phases. Over the next six weeks, voters will choose between competing platforms put forward by Modi and the opposition. The winning candidate will fill the 545 seats in the lower house of parliament. 543 of them. Voting will end on June 1st. The results of the general election will be announced on June 4.

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