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HomeNATIONChina hosts first conference with 19 countries in Indian Ocean region without...

China hosts first conference with 19 countries in Indian Ocean region without India

China-Indian Ocean Region Forum: India was noticeably absent from a summit China hosted this week with 19 nations from the Indian Ocean region.

According to a news release from the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), a group affiliated with the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation was held on November 21 with participation from 19 nations.

It reported the conference took place in Kunming, Yunnan Province, in a hybrid format with the theme “Shared Development: Theory and Practice from the Perspective of the Blue Economy.”

19 nations were represented, including Australia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Djibouti were also present. According to the report, representatives of 3 international organisations were also present.

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Apparently, India was not invited, according to reliable sources here.

Without India present, China met with a few South Asian nations last year to discuss COVID-19 vaccine cooperation.
Luo Zhaohui, a former vice minister of foreign affairs and ambassador to India, is the director of CIDCA. He is the Secretary of the CPC (the ruling Communist Party of China) Leadership Group of CIDCA, according to the organization’s official website.

According to the CIDCA’s official website, the organization’s goals are to develop strategic guidelines, plans, and policies for foreign aid, coordinate and provide advice on important foreign aid issues, advance national reforms with regard to such issues, and identify significant programmes, oversee, and evaluate their implementation.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi suggested creating a “conference on the development of Indian Ocean Island Countries” during his visit to Sri Lanka in January of this year. The Chinese Foreign Ministry here has made it clear to the media that the meeting on November 21 was not a part of the CIDCA meeting, in response to questions about whether it is the same as Wang’s proposal.
A marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism between China and nations in the Indian Ocean region was proposed by China at the summit on November 21.
China said it is prepared to offer the necessary material, technical, and financial support to nations in need.

With significant port and infrastructure developments in a number of nations, notably Pakistan and Sri Lanka, China is pushing for influence in the vital Indian Ocean region.

Beijing has acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease, as well as building the port at Pakistan’s Gwadar in the Arabian Sea opposite India’s western coast. It has also made infrastructure investments in the Maldives. Djibouti is China’s first overseas location for a full-fledged naval base.
The Chinese conference appears to be intended to counteract India’s significant influence in the Indian Ocean region, where organisations backed by India, such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), which has 23 member countries, have established itself.

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China is a dialogue partner in the 1997-founded IORA.

In 2015, IORA was admitted as an observer to both the African Union and the UN General Assembly.

Along with the IORA, PM Modi advocated “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR) in 2015 to foster active cooperation among the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean region.
The “Indian Ocean Naval Symposium” (IONS), sponsored by the Indian Navy, aims to foster greater maritime cooperation among regional navies.
Bilateral relations have suffered greatly ever since the Chinese and Indian troops clashed in the Galwan Valley in June 2020.
India has constantly argued that the LAC should be peaceful and serene in order for bilateral relations with China to progress as a whole.

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