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In this third installment of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, Dr. Peter Harris and his assembled scholars tackle the issue of Sino-Indian border conflicts.
China and India’s rise over the last two decades has enabled them to wield increasing amounts of influence on the global stage. Even though they share several characteristics—including being the world’s most populous nations, the fastest-growing major economies, and developing status—their relationship has been fraught with skepticism and hostility since their war of 1962.
The Chinese concept of sovereignty is a tool of diplomacy and statecraft; a way of preserving China’s international image as an historical victim of foreign conquest even as it pursues its territorial disputes with growing confidence and power.
It is quite evident from the history of Pakistan’s relationship with China that Pakistan views Sino-Indian border disputes through a Chinese lens. This is not just because of Pakistani-Chinese friendship, of course, but also because of the rivalry and territorial disputes that have marred India-Pakistan relations since their independence.
The border dispute is one component of the Sino-Indian relationship. In recent years, unwanted skirmishes and clashes along the LAC have been highly politicized, exacerbating antagonistic domestic dynamics as well as furthering the perception of an international competition. To continue intensifying cooperation among China, India, and the rest of Asia, leaders would do well to remember that “divide and rule” remains a powerful strategy in world politics. Indian and Chinese leaders should each avoid falling into that trap.
The conflation of the China–India water dispute with larger territorial and political disputes exacerbates water as a source of conflict between them.
Dr. Harris introduces this issue of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, in which six scholars—some based in the region, the rest longtime analysts of Sino-Indian relations—put the recent border Sino-Indian border clashes in context.
The United States must utilize a new source of power to address the China dilemma: its ability to develop and influence liberal multilateral institutions. This grand strategy uses diplomacy to leverage liberal cooperative security and financial institutions to both bound and reshape China’s power within the system to bolster US national security.
The crisis that began at the disputed China–India border in early 2020 was not the first—and almost certainly will not be the last—standoff at the Line of Actual Control.
This article compares the roots and perspectives of civilizational thinking in three cases (China, Russia, and India) to chart the complex interplay between the rise of domestic “civilizational factions” among a state’s intelligentsia and non-Western elites and the subsequent effects of this thinking on each state’s behavior and strategic posture in the realm of its external affairs. Through rigorous cross-comparative examination and process-tracing along the defined parameters, this case study seeks to contribute to the nascent scholarly literature on the emerging civilization-state phenomena, offering some conclusions on how the emic repackaging of ancient historical epistemologies under hypermodern frameworks may go on to redefine plurilateral order throughout the dynamic twenty-first century and beyond.
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. See our Publication Ethics Statement.