View Xi Jinping's 'president for life' term isn't that bad for India


Field Marshal
Field Marshal

By no means does this reduce the Chinese challenge India faces, but it sure does open doors to more solutions through a wider common ground

Chinese President Xi Jinping has got the stamp of approval on the amendment that removes the bar on a president to continue beyond two terms. In effect, he can be president for life.

But the question really is what does it mean for India? While there is considerable worry and doubt in New Delhi over the implications, it’s important not to start painting the devil on the wall, just yet.

In fact, the development may actually provide that window of opportunity to reset the relationship with a more assured, confident Xi Jinping.

The early period of Xi’s first term has been about consolidating himself, squaring off with different factions – like the Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao groups -- of the Communist Party of China.

Xi sought to establish himself through an anti-corruption campaign -- a purge to ‘weed out’ the corrupt within the party and the all-powerful Central Military Commission (CMC). The CMC, which was organized in four large size departments, was dismantled and regrouped into 15 CMC agencies.

As a reaction, it’s widely believed, many high-ranking military officials, who wanted to escape the purge, adopted aggressive nationalist tactics so as to handicap Xi from taking action. After all, the clean-up was justified by projecting a strong ‘New China’ under Xi.

The passing of this amendment signals the end of that struggle. Xi is now firmly ensconced and secure at the helm. And that’s how he will approach the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) Summit in Qingdao, the first major international meet China would be hosting after a hectic domestic season.

India will be present there. And it is important India goes there with a clean slate, to listen and the make the most of a China trying to take ownership of the global mainstream.

By no means does that reduce the Chinese challenge India faces, but it sure does open doors to more solutions through a wider common ground. So, a conflict with India over, say, Doklam doesn’t quite fit Xi’s big picture and India must nudge to find ways that such flare-ups don’t happen in the future.

After all, China did move of the way in Paris last month to let the Financial Action Task Force commence the graylisting process for Pakistan.

This indicates a possible new thinking in China to gain global acceptance by shedding some old baggage. And there’s nothing to lose in pushing for new ideas while not letting your guard down at the same time.