US-China summit was designed for limited results. Joe Biden met Xi Jinping for four hours outside San Francisco, took a stroll and seemed to make nice. On the other side, China's military continued to tango with war-like provocations against the US and other forces.
New Delhi kept an eye on the summitry — as it should have — for any overly accommodative measures.
But should questions arise, the relationship today is in a place that India can ask the US directly. Broadly speaking, while India won't want to see the US and China get too close for (its) comfort, it doesn't want to see conflict either. A flare-up between the two most powerful countries will have disastrous consequences for everyone.
That was Biden's impetus: to manage the China relationship and avoid one more potential geopolitical crisis as he heads for re-election.
The new lexicon to describe 'China management' — putting guardrails, setting the floor to the relationship, and avoiding the trap — allows for minimalism. There was no joint statement, and no progress reported on the most sensitive areas, including Taiwan. Old talking points were reused.
Biden said the US reaffirms the 'one-China' policy, and Xi said to stop arming Taiwan. Biden did not relax economic or technology restrictions as China wanted, and the fundamentals of competition did not change.
As for Xi, he needed to show his party hierarchy he could switch gears, de-escalate, and woo US investors back when China's economy is slowing, real estate crashing, and foreign capital fleeing. Foreign companies reportedly took out more than $160 billion in earnings over the last six quarters.