China looms large even in its absence at India’s Raisina Dialogue, as experts discuss trade and security

  • If concerns about China had been muted in the past, they were never far from the surface at this year’s gathering in New Delhi
  • Russian foreign minister accused the US of seeking to exclude China but Washington and its allies were prepared to push back

Kunal Purohit | 19 Jan, 2020 | This week in Asia

The Raisina Dialogue hosted a panel featuring top officials from India, Australia, France and Japan. Photo: AP
The Raisina Dialogue hosted a panel featuring top officials from India, Australia, France and Japan. Photo: AP

During a panel discussion at last week’s Raisina Dialogue featuring top military officials from India, Australia, France and Japan, the moderator turned to the Indian navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh and asked: “How true is the statement that the number one, two and three concerns of this [Indo-Pacific] region are China, China and China?”

There was stifled laughter from the audience in New Delhi but Singh calmly listed India’s concerns. The Chinese presence in the region, he said, had grown rapidly and Chinese warships had encroached into Indian waters, forcing New Delhi to issue warnings.

The moderator, BBC journalist Yalda Hakim, pressed Singh: “Do they back off?” Not yet, he replied.

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