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Abhijit Rathod asked: With new generation of Chinese leadership taking over, are India-China relations likely to change?

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  • Avinash Godbole: India-China relations are not likely to change because of the leadership transition in China. First, it will take a couple of years for the new generation of leaders to consolidate their position in terms of their individual leadership styles. Second, China’s leadership has taken to a consensus-based decision-making process, thereby eliminating the chance of any radically different approach. It seems that they have a settled perception on how to handle the India question. In any case, India-China relations have become too multi-pronged to change in a short span of time. Third, India remains a low priority for the Chinese leadership. Their first headache as far as foreign affairs are concerned is the US, followed by Japan, the Koreas, and other neighbours in the immediate neighbourhood of South East Asia; India comes after this. Fourth, and this is perhaps the most important, domestic issues like corruption, governance delivery, inequality, rule of law, and poverty are likely to pre-occupy the new leadership for quite sometime, at least as seen from the statements that came out of the 18th Party Congress.