India in the Eyes of China

Opportunity or Threat?

Essay, 2009

13 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Contents


Geopolitical importance of India for China

Economic Importance of India for China




Chinese leaders see India from both a cautious and an optimistic lens. Economic liberalization and the desire to become an important player in the world drive Chinese leaders to approach India in a cooperative manner rather than a conflictive. The primary objective of Chinese leadership is to maintain and expand economic growth.[1] India’s is both geopolitically and economically important for China. Chinese leaders believe diplomatic relation and greater economic interdependence with India will improve China bilateral relations with India.[2] Chinese scholars believe that without India’s cooperation Washington cannot easily implement and safeguard its interests in the region. Therefore a friendly India is vital for China’s national interests[3].

India is geopolitically important for China from two critical and many imperative reasons. First Chinese leaders want to maintain economic growth to do so they need a stable domestic environment and peaceful borders. Secondly Chinese leaders do not want the United States to use India to contain China both militarily and economically. China and India fought a war on disputed territories in Ladakh area in 1962[4]. India lost the war with great embarrassment due to weak and unskilled military, but now both China and India have a strong military equipped with both conventional and nuclear weapons. Priorities in both China and India have changed. Border disputes between the two countries are no longer top priority. Both China and India want to put border disputes aside and work for better bilateral relation[5].

India is economically important to China for many reasons first, they want to improve bilateral trade with India. Secondly, they realized that international competition is no longer entirely military. It is also to grow economically, scientifically and technologically[6]. Therefore, they want to cooperate with India both at regional and the global levels to become a world power. Chinese leadership wants to change the current unilateral international system to a more balance multi-polar international system in which they want an important role. Other reasons India is important are its rising economic growth, a potential future market for Chinese goods and services, a good source of raw materials for China’s future demand and a possible strategic partner in a more economically balance multilateral international system[7].

Geopolitical importance of India for China

Observing the world from the realist viewpoint can further complicate the international political system and can only trigger political, economical and social depression around the world. Realists are pessimistic about the future of China-India relations. They have been arguing that China’s and India’s cooperative relations are unrealistic and unfeasible. Realists point to the balance of power struggle between the two countries as a vital sign of mistrust between China and India. The war of 1962 on border dispute, nuclear test of India in 1998, India’s close ties with both US and Russia, US-India civilian nuclear power deal, China’s support for Pakistan and other socioeconomic and sociopolitical events have been used by realists to prove that cooperative relations between the two regional nuclear power is unstable[8].

This is not what Chinese leaders think they understand that China cannot become a global player, without working with other powers, especially its neighbors, and particularly India. China does not have the intention or the capability to become a global power alone. The late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once said “Only when both China and India get developed can the Asian Century become reality.[9] ” China’s endeavor to achieve cooperative relation with India is evident from its effort in every aspect of its bilateral relation with India. New institutional links have been established between militaries and other government agencies. Recently more and more Chinese scholars, journalists, students, members of various political parties and high government officials from the Communist party are visiting India[10]. Response on the Indian side is even further encouraging Chinese leaders increase cooperation to other sectors beyond political and economical spectrum. The Indian government has responded to these efforts in positive manners. Indian Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said during his visit to China "I look forward with optimism to the future and the role which India and China are destined to play in the transformation of Asia and the world[11].”

China’s president Jiang Zemini visited India in November 1996. It was the first time a Chinese president ever visits India. He signed four agreements with India, the most important being the confidence building Measures (CBMs). Under this agreement both countries pledged to work and cooperate with each others on all issues, especially on military issue and border conflicts[12]. The authors of China and India cooperation or conflict divided the CBMs in three parts. The first part “Declarative Principle,” China and India agreed not to use force against each other and to respect the current LAC until the two sides agree on a permanent solution to the border issues. The “Information Exchange” is the second part. It establishes a diplomatic-military experts group to hold regular meeting and monitor implementation. It also increases contact between border troop’s commanders and the exchange of information on natural disasters on border. The third part is “Constraining Measure” in which both countries agreed to reduce military forces along the LAC border, to avoid large military presence from either side on LAC and ban firing, blasting and hunting within 2 kilometers of the LAC[13].

Since this agreement China, in principle, shifted its position on the Kashmir Issue (a disputed territory between India and Pakistan) and distinctly weakens “verbal deterrent support for Pakistan,[14] ” Beijing stayed neutral during the kargil crisis between India and Pakistan in1999. Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh visited China in June 1999 and was pleased with China’s neutral stand on Kargil[15]. Chinese policymakers believe that a friendly India will contain or minimize American influence in South Asia.

Chinese leaders believe that the United States has always regard China both as a threat and opportunity. After the communist revolution in China the United States saw the revolution as a strategic threat to its interest in Asia. The United States considerably changed its position towards China, after it become clear that the two communist regimes in Moscow and Beijing had different agendas and priorities. However, the United States did not significantly change its position towards China until the open gate policy of China in 1978. The Kennedy administration developed close ties with India and supply the Indian army with critical logistic support during the 1962 Sino-Indian war[16]. China does not want to become a sandwich between a hostile India allied with the United States, a militarily strong Russia or pro-American Japan. Chinese analyst Liu Xuecheng argues that the United States plans to build a jingjiexian (cordon) around China with Japan and India on each side[17]. China has established a strategic partnership with Russia because of its unpredictable relations with the United States. China created the Shanghai Cooperation to promote relations with Russia and other central Asian countries for the purpose not to be blockade by the United States[18].


[1] China And India cooperation or conflict?, 152

[2] Ibid, 153

[3] India, China in Race to Capture Africa Trade Pie

[4] China Invades India, 222

[5] China And India cooperation or conflict?, 171

[6] Trade between Asia’s rival superpowers is booming, 2

[7] China And India cooperation or conflict?, 116

[8] Ibid, 26

[9] India China Economy-Trade Relations

[10] China And India cooperation or conflict?, 25

[11] China-India Bilateral Relationship

[12] Economic Trade Relation

[13] China And India cooperation or conflict?, 125-126

[14] Ibid,

[15] Ibid, 26,32

[16] Sino-Indian Relations, 89,120

[17] Confidence –Building Measure in Asia, 9

[18] China And India cooperation or conflict?, 82

Excerpt out of 13 pages


India in the Eyes of China
Opportunity or Threat?
Webster University  (Political Science )
Study China
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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India, Eyes, China, Opportunity, Threat
Quote paper
Abdulwali Sherzad Miakhel (Author), 2009, India in the Eyes of China, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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