The present century belongs to two powers of Asia viz China and India. China because of being world’s largest and strongest economy and a budding military power to be, and India because of a growth oriented economy and a democratically elected majority government hell bent on growth and economic progress. Also because of Indian military power which is next to Chinese and Russian military only in Asia.
Sardar Patel had warned Jawahar Lal Nehru about Chinese intentions in 1950 only but unluckily no heed as paid to this warning. Chinese imperialistic designs were clear when it annexed Tibet.
Demographically China is the largest country followed closely by India. Militarily, USA is as much worried about Chinese military expansion as of Russia. With emergence of China on military horizons USA has to be doubly cautious of Russian military powers. Both during the Cold War era were communist countries and therefore have ideological reasons to reestablish their old bonhomie. Chinese have emerged ahead of Japan and old method of encircling Russia and China with an ally like Japan does not seem feasible. The growing Chinese influence in south and south-east Asia is another cause of concern.
In this essay we will discuss Sino-Indian relations both business and military. We will also discuss Indo-US relations vis-à-vis Sino-Indian relations, India’s relations with Japan, Australia, Vietnam etc. Also how to encircle China by friendly nations to curb growing Chinese political and military influence. The shift in Pakistan’s stand in close military ties with China and ceding of POK territories to China by Pakistan along with growing military presence in Pakistan and POK will have to be analysed in detail. It is pertinent to mention that gone are those days when there were uni-polar and bi-polar powers in this world.
If 19th century belonged to Britain and they were called Great Britain, the 20th century certainly saw rise of USA as a super power. But time has come for a multi –polar balance of power in the world ending hegemony of any particular nation.
Sardar Patel had warned Jawahar Lal Nehru about Chinese intentions in 1950 only but unluckily no heed as paid to this warning. Chinese imperialistic designs were clear when it annexed Tibet. Chinese have always tried to dominate their neighbours economically, politically and militarily.
As long as this dispute is not solved there is going to be lack of mutual trust between both countries. There is an ongoing attempt by China to contain India by befriending and have agreements both military and civil with immediate neighbours.
Chinese have “holier and mightier than thou” attitude with India also. There is a subtle shift after Mr Modi came to power last year and his friendly chemistry with Chinese president. In 1988 Mr Deng told late Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi that present century belonged to China and India. After 1962 holocaust all Indian Prime Ministers have had a very cautious approach with China.
China had annexed Aksai chin, part of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh in 1962 and had laid claims on Arunachal Pradesh. It does not claim to recognize McMahon Line, the demarcating frontiers between China and India. There is no progress on the so claimed boundary dispute. As long as this dispute is not solved there is going to be lack of mutual trust between both countries. There is an ongoing attempt by China to contain India by befriending and have agreements both military and civil with immediate neighbours. Timely and correct remedial actions have prevented Sri Lanka and Nepal to succumb to Chinese designs.
China also wants dominance of South China sea. China therefore is busy increasing his Naval power. It is vying with Japan and to some extent South Korea for supremacy. With India ,China wants to limit Indian dominance upto Andaman and Nicobar island only. It has been trying to set up bases desperately in Indian ocean. With his proposed Silk route through POK upto Karachi China will have presence in Indian ocean close to Gujrat and Mumbai ports. This development is a cause of concern and will have serious repercussions on Indian Maritime defence. Rightly India has protested to China about use of POK territory. To sum up Sino-Indian relations in brief as on today there is a lurking mistrust of Chinese intentions and will continue till so called boundary dispute gets solved amicably.
The present state of relationship can be described as Sweet and Sour. Lately India has also embarked on Forward Policy in matter of Foreign Policy. It has started reaching out to neighbours ,friendly nations ,strategically located countries etc. Visit to Mongolia and handling of the visit was indeed a master stroke of diplomacy. Recent visit to South Korea also proved that if China has North Korea as a dependable ally India has got a friend in South Korea.
With emphasis on Make in India it is to be seen which country captures bulk of Indian arms market.
On business front we have to understand the compulsions faced by China. They are worlds largest producing economy and India happens to be the largest market of the World. China therefore would like to have good cordial trade and business relations with India. India has to ensure that China does not dump surplus, sub-standard goods in Indian markets, there is a need for anti-dumping policy and close monitoring of trade. Chinese communism has changed radically in last 40-50 years. Their economy is akin to an imperialistic economy.
Whenever we discuss Sino-Indian relations we have to consider Russian influence on this relationship. Russia even after bifurcation of erstwhile USSR remains the biggest power of Asia. India is only having trade relations with China. India is having considerable military dealings with Russia. India being worlds largest importer of arms, ammunition and military hardware it is matter of time that China also jumps into the fray. Till then USA and Russia both will vie with each other to dominate Indian arms market. With emphasis on Make in India it is to be seen which country captures bulk of Indian arms market. Russians had been having a sort of monopoly till recently in Indian arms market. Russians are also having cordial relations with China. In case of any Sino-Indian dispute Russia will most likely be neutral.
India’s Relations with other neighbours
To limit and contain the Chinese in Asia it is imperative to have cordial relations with other major powers of Asia. We will discuss relations with some of the neighbours in succeeding paragraphs.
Japan India enjoys good relations with Japan. There has been considerable improvement in Indo-Japanese relations in last one year. PM Modi has got good relationship with Japanese head of state Mr Shinto Abbey. There is traditional rivalry between China and Japan. India certainly has got an edge over China as far as Japanese support and relationship is concerned. Japanese economy is a flourishing fully developed economy and recent trade pacts are to India’s advantage.
Myanmar, though a small country holds a strategic position due to location and natural resources. China in a bid to contain India would certainly like to include Burma in a favoured state list.
Australia India and Australia both being erstwhile commonwealth partners enjoy a traditional close relationship. Australia being biggest supplier of Coal and Uranium enjoys a unique position in trade. The relationship was always cordial but has been further strengthened by recent visit of PM Modi and direct talks with PM Tony Abbot. Australia like India has got no expansionist designs. There is mutual trust and confidence in their relationship.
Vietnam India’s relations with Vietnam have become cordial. India recently bagged a contract for ONGC which Chinese were trying. India should try and further strengthen mutual trade and bi- lateral relations with Vietnam. Vietnam occupies a strategic position for both China and India.
Burma Though a small country holds a strategic position due to location and natural resources. China in a bid to contain India would certainly like to include Burma in a favoured state list. India on the other hand will try to shield Burma from Chinese influence. So far Burma has not succumbed to any pressure and is non-aligned.
Indonesia Due to likely Chinese presence in the area Indonesia assumes an important strategic position. India needs to further strengthen ties with Indonesia to contain Chinese influence.
Chinese Expansionist Policy and India
China in a bid to dominate south China sea and Indian ocean is busy building a formidable Navy. It has already annexed Karachi port in Indian ocean for easier and better shipment of its goods from Pakistan in a bi-lateral agreement which will have serious repercussions on India. At present juncture India is in an advantageous position because USA in a bid to contain Chinese expansionist policies would certainly like Indian support and help.
Because of economic compulsions China cannot openly oppose India militarily as price will be too high to pay.
India should ensure that without coming openly in support of USA it should make best of the opportunity and gain militarily and economically. India should not annoy or create an impression of working against regional interests. America’s interests in India are also because of large arms market along with strategic location for containing Chinese influence in Asia. Because of economic compulsions China cannot openly oppose India militarily as price will be too high to pay.
The present Indian economic policy of Make in India suits both India and China as it gives Chinese companies further scope to enlarge the volume of trade and Indians employment and revenue. The Sino-Indian ties are complex. The ties need constant monitoring, deft handling and judicious approach for all minor irritants which may crop up from time to time. If bilateral talks for solving boundary disputes are held and are fruitful a big stumbling block in mutual relationship will be removed. Trade and business relations will however continue to flourish between both countries.