By M D Nalapat
Thanks to President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the CPC has placed emphasis not just on government-to-government contacts but also interactions between the CPC and the political parties of other countries.
On this front, Xi is moving ahead of several other world leaders, who focus on only government-to-government talks and justify it by claiming that the foreign participants in such talks also belong to a political party, and that is what diplomacy is all about.
However, the reality is, although many of the top office-bearers of political parties in several countries may not be privy to information relating to the government, their contact with the people is often deeper than senior ministers. And given this fact, very often those working at the organizational level in political parties have a far better understanding of the ground realities than those who occupy high-level posts in the government.
Xi is placing emphasis on gathering knowledge about the ground realities in different countries and, in the process, ensuring that the CPC both as a political organization and a governmental machinery knows the facts not just from foreign government sources but from political parties as well.
Only through a correct understanding of the geopolitical realities will Xi be able to give shape to the global vision mapped out in the Belt and Road Initiative, which is a grand project taken up by China. That is why it is essential to ensure each country involved in the Belt and Road Initiative sets aside its differences and cooperates with the others so as to make the initiative's operation smooth.
History tells us that the "zero sum" game forced upon countries by the major powers in the previous centuries did not yield mutually beneficial results, so China has to convince every country that its participation in the Belt and Road projects would lead to a "win-win" outcome.
The recently concluded 19th CPC National Congress represented a historical "coming of age" of not only China but also the Chinese people, and graduating to the front ranks of the international community. Indeed, in the first half of this century, China, the United States, Russia and India will become the most significant powers in the world.
But along with these four powers, the lesser powers as well as smaller countries will be critical to the success of the Belt and Road Initiative. There is an effort by those opposed to China's peaceful rise to portray the proceedings of the 19th Party Congress as reflecting a "great power" mentality that would pose a challenge to other countries.
So special efforts need to be made to make India a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, particularly because the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor component of the initiative has created a controversy in India. Ensuring that New Delhi's concerns are addressed and the second-most populous country get the same access to the benefits from the Belt and Road projects as the biggest would go a long way toward convincing India to join the initiative, as the US and Japan, in different measures, have indicated they may participate in it.
At a time when the US, and to a certain degree the European Union, are moving away from globalization, Xi has emphasized that China remains committed to globalization and free trade. And the numerous party-to-party dialogues initiated by the CPC are meant to ensure that political parties across the globe understand that China remains committed to the policy of global peace and development.