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A Chinese Pivot?

NEW DELHI – Is China, under its new president, Xi Jinping, undertaking its own diplomatic pivot, parallel to the United States’ “pivot to Asia”? Xi’s first significant international initiatives – making Russia his first official visit abroad, followed immediately by his attendance at the BRICS summit in South Africa – suggest that China may be seeking to place its relations with the world’s most powerful emerging countries on a par with its US diplomacy. Indeed, this possibility is supported by Xi’s recent statement about relations with India, which he termed “one of the most important bilateral relationships” for China.

Xi’s early focus on Sino-Indian relations is unusual for a Chinese leader. He enunciated a five-point platform, rather like Jawaharlal Nehru’s “five principles of peaceful coexistence,” implemented in the two countries’ Panchsheel Treaty of 1954.