President Pranab Mukherjee’s Political Bravery & Negotiation Skills In His Visit To China In 2016

Hanima Anand |Sep 01, 2020

To pay tribute to the enormous contributions of former President Pranab Mukherjee, we extract here some notes about his historic visit to China in 2016, in which he once again proved his political bravery and master negotiation skills.

The demise of former President Pranab Mukherjee is a great loss to Indian development as PM Narendra Modi has written. He is not only a brave politician but also a skillful negotiator, displayed in his previous trips to foreign countries, especially China. In his visit to the world’s most populated nation four years ago, President Pranab Mukherjee had brought back outstanding results on both trading and education exchanges. He also played a crucial role in promoting consensus in India-China relations.

Pranab Mukherjee And Xi Jinping
Pranab Mukherjee was the first Indian President to visit China within 6 years.

Pranab Mukherjee was born on December 11 in 1935. He was 84 years old when breathing his last yesterday evening, August 31, 2020. During his career, he was known as a senior leader and respected by the party social circles in and outside the nation.

Mukherjee was renowned as a talented politician with ‘phenomenal memory’ and ‘unerring survival instinct.’ His negotiation skills were also repeated by the press for his contribution to solve many issues in Indian Congress. Back in 2005 when the Congress was discussing the Patent’s Amendment Bill, Pranab Mukherjee (he was Defence Minister at that time) was not directly involved in the matter but he was then roped in to negotiate with some opposing members.

After his intermediary talk to both sides, Pranab Mukherjee had successfully attracted many allies including the CPI-M leader, Commerce Minister and some other crucial politicians at the time. The bill was passed finally on March 2005. The Commerce Minister was totally convinced by Pranab Mukherjee, then said ‘An imperfect legislation is better than no legislation.’

Pranab Mukherjee also held the key role to promote the implementation of 123 Agreement (prerequisite terms for nuclear deals with the US, agreed among Nuclear Suppliers Group).

Pranab Mukherjee And Narendra Modi
Even PM Narendra Modi received a lot of guidance from Mukherjee.

Talking about his trip to China in 2006, Pranab Mukherjee was the first President of India to visit China in 6 years to that time. His mission in the four-day trip was to discuss various bilateral issues ranging from politics, economy, education and some other social issues. Despite the limited time, his visit to Chinese leaders was described as ‘fruitful and productive,’ gaining many agreements then improvements in the relationship between the two most populated countries in the world.

First, we should know that it’s not a coincidence that President Pranab Mukherjee chose that time to visit China, by himself. The trip took place in a sensitive context when some irritants emerged in the partnership of India-China and PM Narendra Modi would pay a significant visit to the United States two weeks after that.

Pranab Mukherjee In China 1
Mukherjee was always modest but got full of respect from these Chinese leaders.

To minimize the risk of breaking India-China relationship, Pranab Mukherjee decided to visit Chinese leaders and promote a strategic co-operation in multi-fields. It could be said that no one was better than President Pranab Mukherjee in this task as he had over decades building the India-China ties.

Pranab Mukherjee had delegation-level talks with the Chinese President right after he arrived. During the conversation, more than one President Xi Jinping showed his appreciation to Mukherjee. He often referred Pranab Mukherjee as a ‘seasoned statesman’ given his experience in negotiating international issues. The Chinese President even called Pranab Mukherjee ‘an old friend of China’ for what Mukherjee had contributed to the India-China relation over the years.

Pranab Mukherjee Young
You may not know this is our respectful Pranab Mukherjee when he was young.

His achievements after the visit were tangible. In front of Pranab Mukherjee, President Xi Jinping promised to accelerate bilateral communication over issues to reach a strategic partnership with India. A lot of trading solutions were offered to increase Chinese investment in Indian areas. People’s Daily of China, after that, even published an article named “Will Made in India replace Made in China? to imply the massive transition from China to India as the new land of industry. The total India-China trade showed constant growth annually.

Pranab Mukherjee also succeeded in boosting the collaboration of Indian and Chinese institutions. He witnessed the signing of MoU between 10 universities of India and China which formed a foundation for academic co-operation in terms of research, seminars, and exchange of students. Not stopping there, many exchange programs to promote cultural and mutual understanding between the two countries are also encouraged.

Pranab Mukherjee In Office
With his contributions, Mukherjee is forever remembered by Indians.

Commenting on the visit to China of President Pranab Mukherjee, experts said he had been successful in creating a ‘conducive atmosphere’ and consensus on enhancing people-centric partnership in the future. During his lifetime, Mukherjee never abandoned his will to bridge the India-China relationship. He didn’t gain it by compromises as many other politicians do either. He achieved it with excellent negotiation skills, bravery, and utmost respect from global politicians.

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