A confidence building measure was all that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China was. Sandwiched between corruption scandals and a floundering economy at home, the Indian prime minister failed to make waves in China. While the governments signed nine agreements on his short 1.5 day visit, neither held much water. While headlines screamed a border pact between the sweet and sour neighbors, the fine print reveled little substance to the story. Same was the case with the proposed visa on arrival for Chinese tourists, the proposed SEZ’s or the river pact between the countries – no big step forward, just an assurance that each had one anothers backs.
While it is significant for China and India to publicly mention that they will support each other internationally and not interfere in each others foreign affairs, the meeting should have also outlined confidence building measures for the economy and trade. Fast floundering from the Indian side, it would have been prudent for Dr. Singh to have also thrown in a clause for international, regional and bilateral trade, economic and financial co operation.