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India - East Asia

Jan — Dec 2016
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Robust but not Riveting

By Satu Limaye
Published January 2017 in Comparative Connections · Volume 18, Issue 3 (Preferred Citation: Satu Limaye, “India-East Asia Relations: Robust but not Riveting,” Comparative Connections , Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 117-125.)

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India deployed its prime minister, president, and vice president as well as key Cabinet officials across East Asia and the Pacific in 2016 in support of its “Act East Policy.” Since 2015 was the first full year of India “acting east” under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, 2016 was not expected to be a defining year in India-East Asia relations and it was not; rather, India’s engagement was robust but not riveting. After years of negotiating, a nuclear deal between India and Japan was one major development. More troubling, trade and investment ties were lackluster due to a range of international as well as specific bilateral factors, although India continues to participate in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. India-China relations were noticeably cool and contentious. Still, India pursued broad and innovative outreach initiatives despite more pressing priorities, limited leverage, and East Asia’s own flux, contestations, and uncertainties. An example of innovation was President Mukherjee’s first-ever state visit to Papua New Guinea. He also made the first Indian presidential visit to China since 2000.  Meanwhile, Vice President Ansari made a first-ever vice presidential visit to Brunei and to Thailand after a 50-year gap. So, India “acted east” as Modi promised soon after taking office in 2014, but it was hardly a bravura performance.

India-China: India’s aspirations, concerns, and interests meet China’s policy positions

There were only two visits between Indian and Chinese heads of government during the year – both for multilateral meetings with brief sideline bilateral interactions. Prime Minister Modi traveled to Hangzhou for the G20 Summit in early September and President Xi Jinping visited Goa in mid-October to attend the eighth BRICS Summit. However, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee did make a state visit to China focusing on the mutually-declared “Closer Development Partnership” earlier in May, his first visit since taking office in July 2012 and the first visit by an Indian president since 2000.

Overall, India-China relations during 2016 were hobbled by specific disagreements that also reflected more fundamental divergences. China’s policy positions on placing a well-known militant leader on a UN terrorism list, India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as well as border and trade differences were interpreted in India as examples of insufficient Chinese regard for India’s aspirations, concerns, and strategic interests. Prime Minister Modi linked bilateral relations and broader constraints during his September 2016 visit to China saying “…that to ensure durable bilateral ties and their steady development, it is of paramount importance that we respect each other’s aspirations, concerns and strategic interests.” In another formulation, Modi called for both countries to “be sensitive to each other’s strategic interests … promote positive convergences … and prevent the growth of negative perceptions.” Clearly, he did not think China was doing its part, but claimed India was through the “Closer Developmental Partnership” and cited “maintaining peace and tranquility on the border” and increasing cultural and people to people ties as specific successes.

In March, China did not support for designating Masood Azhar, leader of the banned militant organization Jaish-e-Mohammed, as a terrorist at the United Nations Sanctions Monitoring Committee for al-Qaida, the Islamic State, and other extremist groups. This came on the heels of a Jan. 2 attack on the Indian Air Force Base at Pathankot, which Indian officials claim emanated from Pakistan and JeM.  According to press reports, in a bizarre and still unclear development soon afterward, Uighur dissident Dolkun Isa, executive committee chairman of the World Uighur Congress, was reportedly given an Indian visa to attend a conference in Dharamsala only to have it retracted. India’s lively media covered the issues repeatedly throughout the year; Indian officials were muted but clear about the continuing disagreement. For example, when asked at a press conference about the issue on the eve of President Mukherjee’s visit to China in May, an MEA official said “Look on the issue of Jaish-e-Mohammed, I totally agree with what the Chinese Government has said that they are in close communication with the Indian side and we are in close communication with the Chinese side.” That was the full extent of the official explanation. During PM Modi’s September China visit, Indian officials said he condemned a recent terrorist attack on the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek and “… reiterated [to President Xi] that our response to terrorism must not be motivated by political considerations.” Indian briefers did not indicate whether President Xi made a response.

India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar was slightly less constrained than his boss, but still careful at a joint meeting of Indian and Chinese think tanks in December. He noted that both countries “face threats from fundamentalist terrorism. Yet, we do not seem to be able to cooperate as effectively as we should in some critical international forums dealing with this subject. Even on sovereignty, surely there can be more sensitivity and understanding.” The latter sentence appears to reflect the Indian interpretation that China’s reticence about supporting the terrorist designation for Azhar stems from China’s concerns about state sovereignty. This may well be so, but what the incident signifies is that even on an issue where China and India are said to share an interest and principle (anti-terrorism), differences regarding Pakistan and United Nations action trumped the ability and willingness to fully accept the other’s interests and positions. Nevertheless, the two sides continued to insist that they were cooperating on counter-terrorism. In a November meeting with Meng Jianzhu, secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China,  Prime Minister Modi “said that terrorism poses the gravest threat to international peace and security, and welcomed increased cooperation between India and China on counter-terrorism related matters.”

Another incident complicating India-China relations over the latter half of 2016 was India’s bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Prior to a plenary meeting of the NSG in June in South Korea, China’s Foreign Ministry issued an online statement that noted “large differences” remain among NSG members over including non-NPT signatory countries. India dispatched Foreign Secretary Jaishankar to Beijing for talks June 16-17. According to the PRC press briefing, “[d]uring this visit, the Indian side expressed its desire of joining the NSG for the purpose of developing nuclear energy to combat climate change. The Chinese side understood India’s need to develop nuclear energy. Meanwhile, China reaffirmed the importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime, stressing that the group remained divided on the accession of non-NPT countries.” China also noted that “… NSG meetings have never put the accession of any specific non-NPT countries on their agenda. The upcoming NSG Plenary Meeting in Seoul will not cover this issue either. Therefore there is no point talking about supporting or opposing the entry of a particular non-NPT country at this moment… China’s stance does not target any particular country, but applies to all non-NPT countries.” India responded later in the year expressing frustration that shared principles were not being translated into convergent policies. Foreign Secretary Jaishankar said, “given our Closer Development Partnership and commitment to the BASIC group on climate change, we should be supporting each other on implementation of our Paris Agreement commitments. In India’s case, predictable access to civilian nuclear energy technology is key. The broad basing of the nuclear technology control group is also helpful to a more representative international order. Keeping in mind this solidarity of major developing states, it is important that China view this as a developmental aspiration and not give it a political colouring [sic].”

India’s interpretation of China’s position regarding India’s NSG membership drive was clearly much broader than Beijing’s focus on uniform criteria for membership. This was echoed in other divergences regarding “international order.” Foreign Secretary Jaishankar highlighted another gap saying, “and for all the talk of China and India sharing interests in global forums despite bilateral differences, ongoing differences are quite stark. Though we have a commitment to a more democratic world order, our actions in respect of the reform of the UN Security Council are in contrast to our approaches to usher in a more equitable international economic order through reform of the existing multilateral institutions and our cooperation in creating new institutions such as AIIB and BRICS Development Bank. These situations are paradoxical because we actually hardly differ when it comes to principles.”

Ironically, given the above differences during the year, the nearly six decades-old border dispute was quiescent in 2016, with only the usual military meetings and special representatives talks taking place. Speaking to a joint think tank forum in December, Foreign Secretary Jaishankar focused on the positive, saying the two sides “have generally established peace and tranquility while agreeing on political parameters and guiding principles for a boundary settlement.” He said that ongoing incidents “emanate from different logistical capabilities and a lack of commonly agreed line of actual control….” but intriguingly expressed the hope that “as these gaps narrow [presumably referring both to the asymmetry of capabilities and the lack of a shared view of the LAC], we will see a greater stability that would be helpful towards arriving at a final boundary solution.” The subtle wording seemed to combine a warning and signaling about India’s efforts to reduce the logistical capability problems on its side of the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh through infrastructure and military upgrades with a reference to India’s consistent diplomatic request for clarification of the LAC – an “ask” that PM Modi had made during his May 2015 visit to China.

Trade and investment relations were mixed. According to MEA officials, Prime Minister Modi in September did not cite commercial relations as a positive factor in the relationship – and it is not clear whether he brought them up at all. This was in contrast to President Mukherjee’s May visit, which purposefully kicked off in Guangzhou with its $1 trillion provincial economy, and during which the president noted that  bilateral trade had risen since 2000 from $2.91 billion to $71 billion in 2015 despite a trade imbalance, and hoped for “expanding our commerce to make it more equitable” including “greater market for [Indian] products in China….” Mukherjee also noted as “a matter of satisfaction that there is emerging focus on two way investment flows.” Foreign Secretary Jaishankar echoed these sentiments later in the year, saying “Again, it is not altogether surprising that economic differentials and systemic characteristics created over time pose some significant trade challenges.” He worried that “[t]he growing deficit legitimately raised questions about the sustainability of the current way of commerce.” He ended on a mostly upbeat note saying “But it is a testament to our maturity that we have sincerely tried to address this problem through greater investment and wider market access, the former more successfully than I must confess the latter, so far.

India-Japan: finally, a nuclear agreement

The big event for India-Japan relations in 2016 was the Dec. 10-12 visit to Tokyo by Prime Minister Modi for the 11th annual summit. Indian officials made a point of highlighting the breadth and scope of the relationship by issuing a long fact sheet on bilateral ties.

Photo: Flickr.com

The most significant outcome of the summit was announcement of an agreement on nuclear cooperation. Prime Minister Modi himself hailed it as a “historic step in our engagement” though he framed it not in terms of recognition of India’s de facto nuclear weapons status or its nonproliferation bona fides, but rather in terms of “engagement [with Japan] to build a clean energy partnership” and to “combat the challenge of Climate Change.” At the same time, in a nod to Japan’s nuclear history and sensitivities, Modi “acknowledge[d] the special significance that such an agreement has for Japan.” He also thanked Prime Minister Abe Shinzo “for the support extended for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group” – although in a section of his prepared remarks completely unrelated to the comments on the nuclear agreement.

Foreign Secretary Jaishankar, on the other hand, focused on the nonproliferation context of the agreement. Responding to press questions, he said he understood Prime Minister Abe’s reference to the NPT and CTBT in his press statement and “[w]hile [India] is not a party to the NPT, there is broad recognition, including by Mr. Abe today, that [India] is a country with a very responsible record and which is truly a worthy partner when it comes to international civil nuclear energy cooperation.” He also noted that Japan “was concerned in the context of conclusion of this agreement, that commitment of September 2008 [India’s statement regarding a voluntary unilateral moratorium on testing nuclear weapons made as India sought an NSG exemption for nuclear commerce] was reiterated….” Jaishankar also explained that the long negotiating process with Japan, concluding long after civil nuclear cooperation agreements were reached with the US, Canada, Australia among others was because the four stages done earlier (e.g., bilateral agreement, NSG exemption, reprocessing agreement and finally an administrative agreement) were essentially compressed into one agreement between India and Japan. However, it is difficult to know the specifics because the text of the agreement has not been released at the time of this writing and awaits passage by Japan’s Diet (although PM Modi made a point of preemptively thanking the parliament in his formal remarks to the press and given the LDP’s strong majority in the Diet approval is not likely to face problems).

The Tokyo visit brought little new news regarding defense cooperation. Prime Minister Modi told the press that the India-Japan strategic partnership was good for the region, that the “successful Malabar naval exercise has underscored the convergence in our strategic interests in the broad expanse of the waters of the Indo-Pacific, and that the two countries are united in the “resolve to combat the menace of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism” but offered no new joint initiatives. Separately, when asked about the status of the possible sale by Japan of US-2 patrol aircraft, Foreign Secretary Jaishankar refused to answer questions suggesting that one of the reasons for the delay was costs. He explained that the delay was due to India’s own “process of evaluating our requirements” and that India was “not near a decision in this matter and in the spirit of partnership we are quite open on this with the Japanese and they understand that.” Despite a low-key approach to defense cooperation the fact sheet on bilateral ties showed a steady engagement on politico-security, defense, and military issues through civilian and military visits, formal dialogues, exercises, and exchanges.

Aside from the nuclear deal and strategic/security dimensions, India clearly sees the relationship with Japan as critical to its overall modernization effort. Foreign Secretary Jaishankar explained “this relationship is particularly important as we embark on our own modernization programs in India, if you look at all the flagship programs i.e., Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Swachh [“Clean”] Bharat [India], many of these draw on the experiences of East Asia and particularly of Japan.” And while the relatively anemic figures on trade and investment do not tell much of a story, Japan’s massive overseas development assistance (ODA) and infrastructure support for India continues to be a vital part of the bilateral relationship.

India-Southeast Asia

India’s ties to Southeast Asia in 2016 continued without fanfare at both the bilateral and multilateral levels. For the latter, Prime Minister Modi duly attended the 14th India-ASEAN Summit and the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Laos in early September. In his opening statement at the India-ASEAN Summit, Modi noted that 2017 “will be a historic milestone in our ties. We will celebrate 25 years of our Dialogue Partnership, 15 years of our Summit Level interaction and 5 years of our Strategic Partnership.” India also highlighted that its trade with ASEAN is $65 billion, or over 10 percent of its total world trade, and an ASEAN-India free trade area went into effect in July with the entry into force of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreement. India continues to participate in the negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), which has received more attention in light of the elections in the US, which led to the election of a president who has said he will not move forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Modi stated that India and ASEAN have already implemented 54 of the 130 activities identified in the Plan of Action for 2016-2020.

India-Thailand

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha made a state visit to India in mid-June, becoming the first Thai leader to visit during the first two years of the prime minister’s current term. However, despite 29 rounds of talks, India and Thailand have not been able to conclude an FTA; trade hovers around $8 billion. Defense cooperation includes regular staff talks between air forces and navies as well as regular ship visits. A new mechanism has been established under the Joint Working Group on Security Cooperation which held its 10th meeting in mid-January.

In March 2016, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense visited India. Following the visit of the head of Thailand’s Defense Research Organization there has been discussion of possible joint ventures, including Thai investment in the defense sector, and procurement, although when asked at a press conference about Indian defense exports to Thailand, an MEA official said he did not have any data and denied that Bangkok expressed an interest in purchasing the Brahmos missile from India.

India-Vietnam

India-Vietnam ties have been incrementally and steadily upgraded. In May 2003, Hanoi and Delhi signed a Joint Declaration on a Framework of Comprehensive Cooperation; in 2007, a Strategic Partnership Agreement; and in September 2016, during Prime Minister Modi’s visit, a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was announced. The precise operational elements of the distinct categories of relations are not clear, although Prime Minister Modi declared that the “decision to upgrade our Strategic Partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership captures the intent and path of our future cooperation.” The overall significance of the visit is threefold. First, Modi was making the first bilateral Indian prime ministerial visit in 15 years – since the late Prime Minister Vajpayee visited in 2001. In 2010, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited, but only to attend the India-ASEAN Summit. Second, the visit precedes the 45th anniversary of bilateral relations in 2017, which will also mark the 10th anniversary of the India-Vietnam strategic partnership. Third, Vietnam will be the India country coordinator for ASEAN from 2016-2018, which complements cooperation in various forums such as the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus, ASEAN Regional Forum, and Mekong-Ganga Cooperation. Importantly, both have pledged support for each other’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council – for Vietnam in 2020-2021 and India in 2021-2022. Hanoi has long supported India’s quest for a permanent UNSC seat.

Bilateral defense and security cooperation has advanced steadily including capacity-building, training, high-level exchanges, and “more recently defense procurement.” There has been intermittent media reporting that Hanoi is interested in buying the Brahmos missile. When directly asked about the Brahmos purchase, however, Joint Secretary (East) Sujata Mehta referred only to the $100 million credit line that India’s defense minister had offered in 2014 for purchases of patrol boats without saying anything specific about Brahmos procurement. When pressed again, she said only that “I think I clarified that we have a very robust conversation going on with the government of Vietnam and we are prepared to look at all areas of cooperation when it is raised.” In his remarks during the visit, PM Modi highlighted agreement “to deepen our defence and security engagement to advance our common interests. The agreement on construction of offshore patrol boats signed earlier today is one of the steps to give concrete shape to our defence engagement. I am also happy to announce a new Defence Line of Credit for Vietnam of [$500 million] for facilitating deeper defence cooperation…” Perhaps the larger credit line will lead to Hanoi’s procurement of the Brahmos missile but it remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Indian officials referred to a “very strong composite package for the training of the [Vietnam] Navy” and expressed hope for further cooperation between the two air forces. India reportedly has also agreed to train Vietnam’s Sukhoi-30 fighter pilots.

Commercial ties remain robust with trade growing at 26 percent per year and standing at just under $8 billion with India having a nearly $3 billion surplus. Both countries have set a goal of $15 billion in two-way trade by 2020. Energy cooperation through Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) drilling continues with a productive site at block 6.1 and on-going negotiations for block 1.28 as well as others.

India-Myanmar

 Two important visits occurred in 2016. In late-August, Myanmar President Htin Kyaw made a state visit to India. While much of the discussion was focused on the development partnership and connectivity (an agreement to build 69 bridges was signed), security cooperation also came into play. Much of the bilateral security cooperation discussion focused on maintaining peace and stability along the border and “not allowing any insurgent groups to use their soil for hostile activities against the other side.” Special mention was made about “ongoing discussions between the two sides on maritime security.”

Another highlight of the relationship was the visit by State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi in October for a bilateral state visit and to participate in the BIMSTEC and the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in Goa on the sidelines of the main BRICS Summit. A joint statement on the state visit highlighted India’s significant $1.75 billion in development aid to Myanmar as well as a range of activities in agriculture and maritime cooperation.

India-Singapore

In early-October, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made an official visit to India. Security and defense ties received particular attention with a statement by the leaders expressing appreciation for the “significant progress made in defense cooperation since the signing of the revised Defense Cooperation Agreement in November 2015. Earlier, in May, the first Defense Industry Working Group meeting was held to pursue cooperation in defense research and development. The two countries held the inaugural India-Singapore Defense Ministers Dialogue in June.

India-Indonesia

The high point in India-Indonesia relations in 2016 was the visit of President Joko Widodo in December. Speaking at a banquet in his honor, President Mukherjee focused on two elements of security cooperation, characterizing the “two countries providing a bulwark against radicalism and intolerance” (without using the word “terrorism”) and their proximity as maritime neighbors as the basis for cooperation “as partners to achieve strategic stability and security in the Indo-Pacific and safety and security of sea lanes.”  India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands are less than 100 nm from the northern shores of Aceh, Indonesia. More importantly, the maritime focus might be explained by Jakarta assuming the chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) from India in 2016. Mukherjee went on to say that “India would be happy to contribute to Indonesia’s ‘maritime fulcrum vision’ of Indonesia Nusantara and, thereby, also to the security of the Indo-Pacific region.” India and Indonesia have been regularly conducting their maritime coordinated patrols (CORPAT) and in 2015 decided to hold both the CORPAT and a maritime exercise side-by-side, although precisely what the change constitutes is unclear. An MEA statement said the exercise included one warship and one maritime patrol aircraft from each side. In 2016, the second bilateral maritime exercise was held in October in conjunction with a visit by Indian Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Sunil Lamba.

Indonesia remains India’s number one trade partner in ASEAN with two-way trade at $16 billion, although Indian officials cite the need to diversity the trade basket.

India-Australia

In early September, Prime Minister Modi met Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China. In the official media briefing, all that an MEA spokesman would say specifically about security and defense cooperation was that “both sides positively assessed the recently held naval exercises between the two sides and agreed to remain in touch.” This seems an almost consciously lukewarm statement in light of the high expectations regarding the India-Australia bilateral relationship as part of a broader set of “principled partnerships” that some in the US defense community seek to encourage. However, Modi thanked Turnbull for Australia’s “pro-active support” for India’s NSG candidacy and elicited the response that Australia “continues to support India’s inclusion in NSG.”

Both leaders agreed that there was not enough trade and that the ongoing negotiations over the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) should be accelerated. Prime Minister Modi appealed for greater Australian investment in India through pension funds and provision of clean coal technology.

India-East Asia relations and the US-India relationship

Much has been made of the “convergence” of US and Indian interests regarding East Asia and the Pacific. This reached something of a peak with the signing of the US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region in January 2015 on the occasion of President Barack Obama’s visit to India as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day. Prime Minister Modi then said “For too long India and the U.S. have looked at each other across Europe and the Atlantic. When I look towards the East, I see the Western shores of the United States.” It is difficult to imagine that the explicit connection now made by both countries regarding their respective, sometimes mutual and convergent, interests in East Asia and the Pacific will be reversed. But India’s still comparatively anemic “Act East Policy” and the uncertain US commitments and role in East Asia as a result of the 2016 elections make the US-India connection in the East Asia and the Pacific very much a work still in progress.

Feb. 1-3, 2016: Vice President Hamid Ansari visits Brunei, becoming the first Indian Vice President to visit the country. Brunei’s importance to India derives from a 10,000-strong Indian community (mostly working as teachers and doctors), the country’s support for India’s stance on Jammu and Kashmir, support for a permanent UNSC seat, and a major source of crude oil (India is Brunei’s third largest export destination).

Feb. 3-5, 2016: Vice President Hamid Ansari becomes the first Indian vice president to visit Thailand in 50 years. He meets government officials and members of the royal family, and delivers an address on India’s Act East Policy at Chulalongkorn University. Thailand is India’s fourth most important trading partner in ASEAN after Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Feb. 17-19, 2016: India hosts Delhi Dialogue VIII, bringing together Indian and Southeast Asia officials and experts.

March 26-29, 2016: Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Hernani Coelho visits India for consultations with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

April 18-22, 2016: Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar visits Beijing, the first such visit since 2013 by his predecessor.

April 27-28, 2016: Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren visits India for the fifth meeting of the India-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation.

April 28-29, 2016: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee makes the first-ever state visit to Papua New Guinea during which he declares that India “consider[s] our co-operation with the Islands of the Pacific to be a key component of our Act East Policy.” He expresses a diplomatic interest in PNG’s regional role, LNG resources, and offers to assist PNG coastal radar surveillance systems, coastal patrol vessels and assistance to secure EEZs, which PNG accepts.

April 30-May 2, 2016: President Mukherjee visits New Zealand and signs a bilateral air services agreement to increase direct connectivity between the two countries.

May 24-27, 2016: President Mukherjee makes a state visit to China – his first as president and the first from India since 2000.

June 16-18, 2016: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha makes a state visit to India. A joint statement is issued at the conclusion of the visit.

July 14-16, 2016: Vice President Ansari visits Mongolia for the Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM).

July 17-20, 2016: Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Ahmad Zahid Bin Hamidi visits India to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Aug. 12-14, 2016: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits India for consultations and preparations for the BRICS Summit in Goa.

Aug. 27-30, 2016: Myanmar President Htin Kyaw makes a state visit to India.

Aug. 29-31, 2016: US Secretary of State John Kerry visits India for the second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

Sept 2-3, 2016: Prime Minister Modi visits Vietnam.

Sept. 3-5, 2016: Prime Minister Modi travels to Hangzhou for the G20 Summit. On the sidelines, he meets President Xi, attends a BRICS meeting in preparation for the India-hosted BRICS Summit, and meets Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Sept. 7-8, 2016: Prime Minister Modi travels to Vientiane, Laos for the 11th East Asia Summit and 14th India-ASEAN Summit.

Oct. 3-7, 2016: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong makes an official visit to India.

Oct. 15-16, 2016: President Xi Jinping of China travels to Goa to attend the 8th BRICS Summit and for a bilateral meeting with PM Modi.

Oct. 24-27, 2016: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key makes a state visit to India.

Nov. 10-12, 2016: Prime Minister Modi makes a state visit to Japan.

Dec. 12-13, 2016: Indonesia’s Prime Minister Joko Widodo makes a state visit to India.