Rising India & Rising China: A medium-term projection

As two major countries in the Asian region in terms of population, territory, higher economic growth rates and growing aspirations, the role of India and China vis-à-vis each other, and at the regional and global levels, is significant. Medium-term prospects of these two countries point towards relative enhancement in their respective comprehensive national strengths, gradual vanishing of “buffer zones” that existed between the two in the Asian region and a coalescing equation so far conditioned by the “cooperation and competition” dyad. Nevertheless, overall stability in the political relations can be expected between the two Asian powers in the medium term.
Unlike in the past, India is also leveraging a wide variety of diplomatic and strategic partnerships with the US, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam at a time when Beijing is trying to expand its appeal through One Belt, One Road project and cobbling up semi-military alliances with Pakistan and others. At the ideological level, a rising India is increasingly speaking about its democratic experiment as a possible model for others to adopt.Traditionally, this has been a contentious – if not made explicit – issue between India and China in their appeal to Asian, African and South American continents. Thus, the stakes are expected to be high for India’s relations with China in the medium to long-term.

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China’s V-Day and Contest for Power in East Asia: Indian response

India is keenly watching the unfolding dramatic events in East Asia as these not only have a bearing on its recent “Act East” policy, but also on regional stability issues. At stake are not merely half of Indian trade, major investments, markets, technology flows that transit through this region but also the subtle messages of power transition between China and Japan in the short and medium term.
China is celebrating the “V-J [Victory over Japan] Day” on September 3 with a massive Beijing military parade. It is also the first time that Beijing would be inviting armed forces from abroad to participate in a national event and also the first time President Xi Jinping will be organising such an event. The previous military parade was several years ago on the 60th national day in October 2009.
today the increasing contest between powers in the region – as reflected in the rising nationalism and right-wing sentiments, higher defence allocations, military modernization and outreach – have contributed to spirals of tension.

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Five Takeaways Modi should target in China

Many Indian prime ministers have visited abroad in pursuit of national interests, although such visits to China were few and far in between, with five PMs visiting Beijing six times in as many decades. Some of these visits – by Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and Vajpayee – have been described as “breakthroughs” for recognising Tibet and Taiwan as a part of China, with no reciprocal Chinese statement that Kashmir or Arunachal Pradesh are a part of India.

With PM Modi planning to make a trip to China from May 14-16, the first time an Indian prime minister will be visiting Beijing in the first year of his first term, it is natural – as PM Modi told his Chinese interlocutors – to expect “concrete outcomes” during the visit. For this visit to be successful, India needs to seek several clarifications and positive approvals from China on a host of issues in the realm of bilateral relations and beyond.

During the visit of PM Modi to China, there will be a lot of pressure in both countries to make this visit a “breakthrough’ in the bilateral relations. Such a breakthrough is quite possible if India clearly draws the red, amber and green lines of interactions with China, without falling into the binary trap of whether China is an opportunity or a challenge.

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India’s response: Is China shifting goalposts on boundary?

The 18th Special Representatives meeting between India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart, the influential State Councillor Yang Jiechi, in New Delhi on March 23 has a twin agenda. The main purpose of the meeting under this mechanism is to try to find a solution to the long-standing territorial dispute between the two countries, but the focus will be equally on preparing the ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in May.
Several trends recently suggest that the territorial dispute is more intractable than has been imagined in the beginning. The border transgressions at Depsang Plains in April 15-May 6, 2013 or the Chumar troop’s build-up by China in September 2014 – all in the Western Sector of the border – tested the bilateral equations. PM Modi stated, while raising the troop build-up by China, during the visit of President Xi Jinping in September last year that bilateral relations are dependent on the LAC stability.
During her visit to Beijing towards January-end this year to attend the 13th Russia-India-China foreign minister’s meeting Sushma Swaraj suggested an “out of the box” resolution to the vexed territorial dispute.
Also, China’s response to PM Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh on February 20 to inaugurate a rail link was sharp and unusual. While PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in 2009 was criticised by China, now the level of protest was enhanced to the vice foreign ministerial level.
The success of the 18th meeting hinges both in arriving at an early and mutually acceptable solution as well as stability in the border areas.

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