In a world marked by shifting diplomatic landscapes, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s conspicuous absence from international summits stands in stark contrast to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s active engagement in global diplomacy.
Xi’s Isolation and Insecurities
Xi Jinping’s prolonged absence from the international stage, with over 1,000 days of seclusion after the Galwan Valley clash and a cautious reentry in 2022, raises questions about his diplomatic isolation. In 2023, he has once again withdrawn from international engagements, including the G20 and ASEAN summits. This retreat appears rooted in his own insecurities and the global backlash against China.
The G20 summit in New Delhi offered little opportunity for Xi to engage in meaningful diplomacy, especially with Prime Minister Modi’s emphasis on resolving the border dispute. Additionally, the absence of Russian President Putin at the G20 provided China with a chance to regain its pre-pandemic stature, which Xi chose not to seize.
Furthermore, Xi’s avoidance of the ASEAN summit is attributed to China’s contentious claims in the South China Sea, which have irked several ASEAN nations. These nations, including Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, have voiced their opposition, aligning with India and Taiwan.
Xi’s Vulnerability at Home
Xi Jinping’s reluctance to participate in international diplomacy could be an attempt to save face, as his absence could be perceived as a snub. This could further harm his domestic image, particularly when China faces economic challenges and political instability within the Communist Party.
Economic Woes Cast a Shadow
China’s ongoing economic downturn and criticism of Xi Jinping’s policies within the country indicate potential factionalism within the Communist Party. The removal of senior commanders from the People’s Liberation Army, speeches emphasizing “stability,” and the disappearance of former Foreign Minister Qin Gang suggest internal issues that may require Xi to stay in China, barring serious health concerns.
Modi’s Diplomatic Success
In sharp contrast to Xi’s isolation, Prime Minister Modi has actively pursued diplomatic engagement. Modi has undertaken nine official visits abroad, demonstrating India’s robust diplomatic efforts. These visits included interactions with leaders from Japan, the United States, France, Egypt, and Greece, showcasing India’s active presence on the global stage.
Modi’s upcoming participation in the G20 summit, as well as the ASEAN and East Asia summits in Indonesia, underscores India’s commitment to international diplomacy. India’s growing economy, coupled with efficient diplomatic machinery, reflects its emergence as a prominent global power.
The contrasting diplomatic approaches of Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi reveal a changing global landscape. While Xi grapples with isolation and internal challenges, Modi’s proactive diplomacy enhances India’s global standing. These developments highlight the shifting dynamics of global politics and the emergence of India as a prominent player on the international stage.