China India Relation and Their Regional Politics
India has more similarities with China than any other country in the world. Considering China India Relation, both countries have a population of over 100 crores. Considering China India Relation, these two countries have large economies. In 2006, China was India’s largest trading partner. Military and strategic relations between the two countries went a long way. But even then, there are issues between the two countries that, if not resolved, will not improve relations between the two big neighbors, and will have an impact on the countries in the region.
At present of China India Relation, China and India have the worst relations in the last thirty to forty years. It has worsened after clashes between the two countries’ armies on the disputed Ladakh border in the Himalayan region. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in that conflict last year. The country did not say how many Chinese troops were killed. Both countries have accused each other of infiltrating their territories.
After the clash on the Ladakh border, Indian Foreign Minister Subramaniam Jayashankar said that once in 1975, there was a clash between the two countries’ armies on the Ladakh border. We have been going through a difficult period in our relations with China since 1987, although our relations are moving in a positive direction. They have reached multiple agreements not to hold large-scale military rallies on the border between the two countries. India’s allegation: China has recently violated the agreement by gathering thousands of troops on the Ladakh border to prepare for war. China’s move has had a detrimental effect on the two countries. Jaishankar, however, avoided the fact that India was also deploying large numbers of troops along the Ladakh border.
Although there were several meetings between the two countries on the border issue at the military and diplomatic levels, the stalemate did not end there. Many analysts believe that unless this issue is resolved, relations between the two countries will not be normal. Andy Mong, a senior fellow at the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization, believes that Sino-Indian relations are going through a challenging period, largely due to India’s efforts to form an anti-China alliance. India’s efforts will have a detrimental effect not only on the country but also on regional stability and prosperity. He said India would benefit not only by going against China but also by improving relations with China.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has come to a standstill due to the deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan. Bypassing SAARC, India is engaging in other sub-regional initiatives. For example, after the incumbent Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi came to power in the second term of 2019, he invited the leaders of the regional body Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral, Tactical and Economic Cooperation or BIMSTEC for his swearing-in ceremony. The five member countries are Bangladesh, India, Nepal in South Asia and Myanmar and Thailand in Southeast Asia.
Looking at India’s past history, it is clear that Delhi’s attempt to form a sub-regional alliance excluding Pakistan has not been very fruitful. Lack of leadership resources and institutionalization is a big factor in this. It took 17 years for BIMSTEC to establish a permanent secretariat in Dhaka. On the other hand, in 2013, Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar took the initiative to form the Economic Corridor BCIM, but it is still in the early stages.
Analysts believe that India will move towards forming more sub-regional alliances as the initiative to revive SAARC is not visible. In particular, China is expected to focus more on building sub-regional alliances with India due to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Long before India took the initiative to form BIMSTEC, China’s infrastructure development and connectivity plans sparked interest among most South Asian countries. Many analysts were already skeptical of India’s success in leading the initiative due to the absence of BIMSTEC from China.
In this regard, Srinivasan, a former Foreign Secretary of India, said that in addition to the inconsistent position of the economies of the BIMSTEC countries, there are various issues of interest in the economies of these countries. At the same time, the absence of China, Asia’s largest economy, will slow down India’s initiative. Because it will not be possible for any country other than China to make big investments.
Historically, India has preferred bilateral agreements over multinational initiatives. Attempts to use any regional security initiative in its own interests have had a negative impact on India’s big brother-in-law behavior in neighboring countries. If India unilaterally takes any initiative, other neighboring countries view it with suspicion. On the other hand, China, a new economic power, has overtaken India and made it acceptable among the countries of the South Asian region.
While India has shown reluctance to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, other countries in the region have not followed India, but have joined China’s initiative, increasing China’s influence in South Asia and the Pacific. At the same time, the bonds of friendship between China and Pakistan have been further strengthened. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a big testament to this as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Realizing the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative, Indian Parliamentarian Subramaniam Swamy said that China should consider taking the Belt and Road Initiative through the Kolkata-Mumbai border rather than the Pak-India border. It is now clear that China and India have adopted competitive regional strategies in the region to mitigate each other’s influence.
Since China gained SAARC observer status in 2006, the country has been showing interest in participating in SAARC activities. But due to India’s disinterest, the matter could not go further. However, if SAARC was included, the pace of SAARC could be further strengthened with the big investment of China. Due to its observer status, China has not been able to raise or discuss any proposal in any of the SAARC forums. India is not interested in granting membership to China knowing that India will not be able to exert its influence in SAARC if it becomes a full member. However, analysts believe that if China became a member of SAARC, the economies of smaller countries in the region would benefit more.
There are several reasons for India’s reluctance to allow China to play a major role in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. India believes that if China gets a chance to play a more active role in the region, Asia’s economy will become China-centric. The main reason for India’s apprehension is India’s large trade deficit in favor of China.
Another major obstacle to the development of Sino-Indian relations (China India relation)is India’s failure to understand Chinese diplomacy. For this reason, in the regional scenario, India-China is considered as an unpredictable player. For example, in 2016, a meeting was held between Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, China to develop bilateral relations. At the UN Security Council in early 2020, China tried to raise the issue of Kashmir again. This incident gave a big shock to the strategy makers of India.
Despite the two countries taking steps to increase mutual trust to reduce the risk of a major conflict between the two countries, the two countries are going through a situation similar to the Cold War. The two countries are adopting various strategies against each other to reduce each other’s regional influence.
It has formed an undeclared alliance with India, the United States, Japan and Australia to block China’s influence in the region. In retaliation, China has built a rail network with India’s neighbor Nepal. The railway line will be constructed from Tibet to Kathmandu. Through this, China-India will strengthen its position near the neck. At the same time, China is cooperating with Pakistan in various ways to strengthen its strategic position against India.
Beijing is mediating peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Afghanistan and talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the Rohingya issue. This makes it clear that China is trying to strategically overtake India by playing a larger role in the region.
As a backward country during the Cold War, China’s role in South Asian economy and security issues was very limited. But over the past four decades, reforms and opening up to China have made the country a major power. At present, China’s vast wealth, industrial strength and military capabilities have reached a unique height. On the other hand, India is trying to deal with China with the help of other superpowers.
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