Exploring India China Relations: Historical Constructions and Future Possibilities
Papers accepted for publication will be published as book chapters in an edited book.
Submission Of Abstract : April,30, 2012 (500 words)
Submission Of Final Chapter : June 15th,2012
The contentious dispute over borders and related geopolitical com¬petition for power, influence, resources, and above all markets have contributed towards increase in tension between China and India. In the years after their independence except for a very limited period of a warm relationship during the early 1950s, the relations between the two Asian giants have never been far from any kind of conflict, containment, mutual suspicion, distrust, and ri¬valry.
India’s bilateral relations with China as such has remained volatile and ridden with friction and tension.Notwithstanding the bor¬der dispute which led to a full- scale war in 1962 and armed skir¬mishes in 1967 and 1987,several rounds of talks that have been held over more than a quarter of a century (from 1981 onwards,however have not yielded any result for resolving the disputed claims.
Of late China’s increasing assertiveness, by way of increased incur¬sions in Arunachal Pradesh by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since 2005, has led to a rapid meltdown in the Sino- Indian border talks, despite public display of amity. It is felt as if the Chinese believe that a border settlement, without major Indian territorial concessions, has the risk of augmenting India’s relative power position in the neighbourhood and in the global diplomacy and thus can impact negatively on China’s rise and influence.
The prospects of a negotiated settlement in the near future though appear to be remote yet remains the only viable alternative though with the unsettled border problem China unduly enjoys the strategic leverage to keep India guessing about its in¬tentions and nervous about its future actions and capabilities while it also exposes India’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses and thus ensures India’s friendly disposure on issues of vital concern to China.
It is also widely felt that even after the territorial dispute has been resolved, China and India would still be in a competitive relationship with each other as caught in the Dragon’s triangle. Besides the territorial dispute, the nature of China’s relationship with India’s neighbours in South Asia and provision of liberal military assistance to them, the remnants of Cold War alignments (Beijing- Islamabad-Washington versus the Moscow– New Delhi axis); continuing disturbances over the question of Tibet and Kashmir; China’s involvement in its immediate neighbourhood, what India naturally regards as its zone of influence; Beijing’s continuous interest for establishing its naval presence in the Indian Ocean; competition over scarce resources including sharing of waters of Brahmaputra River ; power asymmetry and the never ending quest for a supremacy of the leadership over each other in several developing world and multilateral forums; and, more recently, suspicion over China’s secret assistance to Pakistan for nuclear weapons , have exacerbated the already fractious and uneasy relationship that existed between the two so far.
With Beijing treating South and Southeast Asia as its spheres of influence , adopting a balance- of-power approach in interstate relations and India as its main obstacle to achieving its strategic objective of regional supremacy in Asia threatens the regional peace and security scenario and poses great danger to the states in the vicinity.
With India treating the Sino- Pakistani nexus, in particular, as hostile and threaten¬ing in nature, the “strategic space” in which India traditionally was active having become increas¬ingly constricted due to Chinese penetration as evident from Beijing’s forays into Myanmar (Burma) and the Bay of Bengal in the 1990s now presents the spectre of the so called global power rivalry which may flare up to large scale military tensions in the region and also will endanger the world peace and security.
In the light of this when it is being felt that there is a great need to expand, deepen and diversify the Strategic and Cooperative Partnership between these two powers with the wide acknowledgement that the India-China relations has to move beyond the socalled bilateral aspect and onto the global dimension,it is important to analyse this emerging security scenario and examine the adversarial nature of the Sino- Indian rela¬tionship and for laying down strategic grounds so as to help these two regional powers to conduct smooth negotiations to settle their differences and mistrust and to harness their joint energies for a sustainable development and peace in the region by acceleration of trade and investment and promotion of increased people- to-people contact.
Dr Biswajit Mohapatra,Ph.D(JNU)
Faculty Member,Dept Of Political Science
NORTH-EASTERN HILL UNIVERSITY(A Central University w/Potential for
SHILLONG 793022, INDIA
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