ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Crisis in India–China Relations

As the unipolar world has been eclipsed by a levelling of the international playing field, the ripple effects have been felt across Asia. Since 2013, as China unveiled its new foreign policies and expanded its regional footprint, Delhi and Beijing have been confronted with a series of mini crises that are really manifestations of a much larger powershift. As a consequence, both leaderships have been struggling to hold together the relationship from totally breaking down.

In my latest book, Powershift: India–China Relations in a Multipolar World (2020), I focus on three central themes that I believe will define the future of India–China relations, namely contested territory, the tumultuous but inevitable transition to a multipolar world order, and managing an uneasy rivalry in a common neighbourhood. Each theme has its own history and context, and reveals a part of the India–China puzzle. Finding a settlement or agreement on any one theme, however, requires an understanding between Delhi and Beijing on another issue. So, fashioning a compromise on the seven-decade-old border dispute is impossible without a common understanding on Asia’s future. Or, the geopolitics of the subcontinent—where China’s footprint looms larger than at any point in the past—cannot be regulated without a stable and settled Sino–Indian frontier. This is what makes the relationship challenging for policymakers and befuddling to public audiences. There is no quick fix or straightforward solution.

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Updated On : 3rd Jan, 2021
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