REASONS FOR CHOOSING THIS STUDY:
· Being the two most populous countries of the word as well as the fastest growing economies, conflicts between India and China spell trouble for the entire world.
· Trade relations between India and China are also imperative for both the countries as they are completely inter-dependant
· India and China are highly competitive economically
· The difference in governance since China is a communist country while India is the largest democracy in the world
· Understanding the reasons behind the 3 Indo-China wars in the past
· Understanding the Doklam conflict
Due to the above reasons, I would like to study the geopolitical relations of India and China in detail.
ORIGIN AND NATURE:
In terms of geographic and demographic dimensions, skilled manpower, civilizational depth, China is the only country in the region which qualifies for comparison with India.
The two countries have a long history of civilisational links. Soon after its own independence and the Maoist revolution in China, India went an extra mile to reach out to the communist regime. India was quick in recognising China, and supported its entry into the United Nations; recognized Tibet as an autonomous region of China The 1962 border conflict therefore came as a political shock to India. While Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark visit in 1988 began a phase of improvement in bilateral relations, it is the cumulative outcomes of seven key High Level visits in last 10years which have been transformational for India-China ties. These were that of Prime Minister Vajpayee 2003, of Premier Wen Jiabao 2005 & 2010, of President Hu Jintao 2006, of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 2008 and 2013 and of Premier Li Keqiang 2013. It is noteworthy that more than 60% of the agreements between India and China have been signed during the last decade. As of today, both sides have established 36 dialogue mechanisms covering diverse sectors. Bilateral trade has registered enormous growth reaching $70bn in 2011 (and may touch $100bn by 2015). The year 2014 has been designated as the Year of Friendly Exchanges between India and China. The two sides have established a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity(2005) The leaders of India and China have also been meeting on the sidelines of regional, plurilateral and multilateral gatherings and conferences.
This is not to suggest that there are no irritants in relations between the two countries; there is always the other side of the coin: the border dispute between India and China remains unresolved; China’s plans to build dams on Brahamaputra or seek access to Indian ocean through Pakistan and Myanmar, “string of pearls” etc are matters of concern. In addition, the rapid economic rise of China and its military strength have given it the audacity to occasionally flex political and military muscles.
China-India relations: Millennia of peaceful coexistence meet modern day geopolitical interests
India’s relationship with its neighbours: Conflict and Cooperation
Amb (Retd) Achal Malhotra
Geo-Political Disputes Between India- China
Dr. Suresh M. Devare
The Political Geography of the India-China Crisis at Doklam
The Tilting Triangle: Geopolitics of the China–India–Pakistan Relationship
Paul J Smith
CURRENT SITUATION- FROM 2010 TO NOW
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao paid an official visit to India from 15–17 December 2010 at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was accompanied by 400 Chinese business leaders, who wished to sign business deals with Indian companies.
“India and China are two very populous countries with ancient civilisations, friendship between the two countries has a time-honoured history, which can be dated back 2,000 years, and since the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries, in particular the last ten years, friendship and cooperation has made significant progress.” Premier Wen Jiabao at the Tagore International School, 15th December 2010
In April 2011, during the BRICS summit in Sanya, Hainan, China the two countries agreed to restore defence co-operation and China had hinted that it may reverse its policy of administering stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir. This practice was later stopped, and as a result, defence ties were resumed between the two countries and joint military drills were expected.
It was reported in February 2012 that India will reach US$100 billion trade with China by 2015. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$73 billion in 2011, making China India’s largest trade partner, but slipped to US$66 billion in 2012.
In the 2012 BRICS summit in New Delhi, India, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that “it is China’s unswerving policy to develop Sino-Indian friendship, deepen strategic cooperation and seek common development” and “China hopes to see a peaceful, prosperous and continually developing India and is committed to building more dynamic China-India relationship”. Other topics were discussed, including border dispute problems and a unified BRICS central bank.
In response to India’s test of an Agni-V missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Beijing, the PRC called for the two countries to “cherish the hard-earned momentum of co-operation”.
A three-week standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in close proximity to each other and the Line of Actual Control between Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region and Aksai Chin was defused on 5 May 2013, days before a trip by Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to China; Khurshid said that both countries had a shared interest in not having the border issue exacerbate or “destroy” long-term progress in relations. The Chinese agreed to withdraw their troops in exchange for an Indian agreement to demolish several “live-in bunkers” 250 km to the south in the disputed Chumar sector.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made his first foreign visit to India on 18 May 2013 in a bid to increase diplomatic co-operation, to cement trade relations, and formulate border dispute solutions.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a northeast Indian state that China recognizes as “South Tibet”, in late November, 2013 and in his speech calling the area an “integral and important part of India” generated an angry response from Beijing. Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang’s statement in response to Mukherjee’s two-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh was “China’s stance on the disputed area on the eastern part of the China-India border is consistent and clear.
In September, 2014 the relationship took a sting as troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have reportedly entered two kilometres inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Chumar sector. The next month, V. K. Singh said that China and India had come to a “convergence of views” on the threat of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
In more modern times, China and India have been working together to produce films together, such as Kung Fu Yoga starring Jackie Chan. However, disruptions have risen again due to China building trade routes with Pakistan on disputed Kashmir territory.
2017 DOKLAM STANDOFF
On 16 June 2017 Chinese troops with construction vehicles and road-building equipment began extending an existing road southward in Doklam, a territory which is claimed by both China as well as India’s ally Bhutan. On June 18, 2017, around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers, entered Doklam to stop the Chinese troops from constructing the road. Among other charges, China accused India of illegal intrusion into its territory across mutually agreed China-India boundary and violation of its territorial sovereignty and UN Charter, while India accused China of changing status quo in violation of a 2012 understanding between the two governments regarding the tri-junction boundary points and causing security concerns, widely understood as at its strategic Siliguri Corridor. India media reported that on 28 June Bhutan issued a demarche demanding China to cease road building in Doklam and to maintain the status quo.
The Minister of External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj said that if China unilaterally changes the status-quo of the tri-junction point between China-India and Bhutan then it poses a challenge to the security of India.
On 24 July 2017, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that it is very clear who is right and who is wrong in the standoff in Doklam, and that even senior Indian officials have publicly said that Chinese troops have not intruded into Indian territory. The US expressed concern in mid-July 2017. China repeatedly said that India’s withdrawal was a prerequisite for meaningful dialogue. On July 21, 2017, the Minister of External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj said that for dialogue, both India and China must withdraw troops. Sushma Swaraj also said that the road constructed by China is a threat to Indian security.
On August 28, China and India have reached a consensus to put an end to the border stand-off. Both China and India agreed to withdraw troops from Doklam.
1. Know where the real threat comes from: The jostling for strategic space between India and China is going to be one of defining features of the next few decades and we may as well get used to it. Two giant rising economies, with 2.6 billion citizens between them, facing off across the Himalayas – rivalry is almost inevitable. Conflict may be avoided, but we should be prepared for it.
2. Make sure we are ready on the border: Geography and logistics were in India’s favour in Doklam, which may well be one of the reasons why China backed down. But there is no guarantee that the next incursion (and we better believe that another is likely) will be on favourable terrain for the Chinese. The Modi government has done well to start building infrastructure in the North East, but the roads to our borders are far behind what the Chinese have. We need to close the gap fast, and we need to quickly find alternate pathways to the Siliguri chokepoint as Rajat Sethi argues here.
3. Make it the Indian Ocean: The best thing in a potential conflict is to find a crippling weakness for your adversary and figure out how to take advantage of it. Chinese strategists have long worried themselves sick about the chokepoint at the Straits of Malacca, where a blockade could totally disrupt the Chinese economy. More recently, Chinese analysts like Zhang Ming have begun to worry further about India converting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands into an “Iron Chain” that can seal the Six and Ten Degree channels through which so much Chinese trade flows. A recent article correctly pointed out that China’s overwhelming naval superiority in numbers may not matter much in a clash, because of India’s geographical advantages in the Indian Ocean. But it’s relatively easy to develop this advantage even further.
4. Develop friends and allies: China has spent so much time and money building up Pakistan partly because it bottles up India in South Asia. India is now correctly taking steps to return the favour by building strategic relations with countries like Japan and Vietnam that are equally concerned about China. That talk is probably premature, unless China steps up its provocations further, but there is no harm in systematically building relations across East and South East Asia.
5. Keep economic factors in mind: Many feel that long-term conflict between India and China is impossible because of the 70 billion dollars of trade between them. Well, if you look at history, that isn’t necessarily true. There have been any number of conflicts between strong trading partners.
For the foreseeable future both India and China would avoid entangling alliances to maximize their options. Better Sino-India relationship/ atmosphere require for development of biggest continent in the world. Both have great power and the most populous countries are back as claimants to pre-eminence in Asia and the world. Both are heavily engaged in the global economy and passes nuclear powers to match their growing ambitions It is possible that economically prosperous and militarily confident China and India might come to terms with each other eventually and their mutual containment policies start yielding diminishing returns.