March 8, 2015
China is changing its language towards the Dalai Lama, says Kevin Michael Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
Exclusive interview with former Australian Prime Minister and President of Asia Society Policy Institute, Kevin Rudd
As Australian Prime Minister from 2007-2010 and briefly in 2013, Kevin Rudd was credited with putting Australia-China relations on the fast track. He was also accused of being too “Sino-Centric”. He is now visiting India as the President of Asia Society Policy Institute, and says he sees himself as a problem solver, with a particular interest in India-China relations. In an exclusive interview to Diplomatic Editor Suhasini Haidar, Mr. Rudd talks about how China views growing India-US closeness, and also says China wants to solve its border dispute with India.
PM Modi heads to China in May this year, and we have seen reactions in Beijing to the India-US joint vision statement announced during President Obama’s Delhi visit. How do you see China looking at the India-US relationship right now?
Kevin Rudd: China sees India through three different lenses. One over the ongoing border disagreement over the border in Tibet, that continues. The second is through the lens of economic opportunity, and I do believe that China for its own economic growth reasons, wants to see India flourish. Thirdly they see it through a foreign policy and national security lens, looking more broadly at its relationship with the United States. The Chinese have had a renormalisation of their relationship with the US starting with the Climate Change agreement in November 2014. Therefore I’m not sure that our friends in China would be opposed to a further normalisation of India’s relationship with the US, but they will always be wary given their doctrine of anything which indicates a closer defence relationship.
Given that China is wary, how does it see the Joint-Vision statement?