The amendment removing term limit over the continuation of Chinese President Xi Jinping has greater ramifications for India post Dokalam standoff. Several reports in recent days have spoken about the Chinese side beefing up its military presence in the disputed Doklam area, where Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a two-month stand-off in the summer of 2017. The first Constitution of China was enacted in 1954. The current Constitution has been in place since 1982 and has undergone four amendments in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004. The removal of the term limit was regarded as the biggest political change in the one-party system which has remained in force in China since 1949. Ahead of the vote by deputies in the NPC, the seven-member Standing Committee – the topmost body of the CPC – unanimously approved the amendment to abolish the presidential term limits. The transition paves the way for China’s move from being a one-party state to a one-leader state with Xi, described by some as an “Emperor”, to remain in power in the foreseeable future. Xi, christened as “lingxiu” – a leader with highest prestige, is aggressively pushing China’s military modernisation to make the world’s largest army a mightier force capable of winning modern wars. For India, Xi’s continuation will have particular significance, especially in the backdrop of Dokalam standoff where Chinese troops tried to build a road in the area claimed by Bhutan to reach close to India’s narrow corridor connecting its northeastern states. Under Xi, China has poured billions of dollars into India’s neighbourhood in projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor traversing through PoK, projects in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives, raising India’s strategic stakes. It the scrapping of term limit reminds one of return of Mao-era dictatorship. In China it is the President who has a formal limit of two terms – introduced by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to prevent another lifelong dictatorship after Mao’s rule. This would make Xi the only leader after Mao and his predecessor Deng whose thoughts were written into the Constitution. It would place him above the rest of the leaders of the party.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper