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The History of Indo-China Relationship

Discuss about the Indo-China Relationship for American Images of China and India.

The purpose of this paper is to present the current relationship between India and china and the way it has been evolving since the year of 1950. Since the ancient period, Chinese travellers and a huge number of Chinese students used to visit Nalanda University in Bihar, India. India was the first country to establish political relationship with China in 1950. Prime Minister Nehru’s visit to china in the year of 1954 confirmed an agreement of maintaining mutual peace termed as Panchsheel, which was consisted of five principles. However, the agreement did not last as China attacked India in 1962. Although, after 14 years both signed the peace agreement again yet these two countries do not share a pleasant relationship in contemporary times (MAHBUBANI, Jing & BAJPAI, 2015). Various tensions are going on between these two countries starting from political and international boundaries to trade and cultural issues. At first, this paper will discuss the history of events, which will clarify the reasons behind the deterioration (Rao, 2014). With the help of few academic journals, further dimensions are going to be added to this topic. Afterwards, this analysis will raise an argument whether the internal matters can be resolved and a fresh start can be initiated or not. There is a high possibility of deterioration as China maintains a bond with Pakistan consistently (Ahmed et al., 2016). On the other hand, trade can be considered as one of the biggest factors working as a bridge between two countries. Both the nations are dependent on each other in terms of investment and business exchanges (Afsharipour & Rana, 2013). Moreover, a steady growth in both the economies has been noticed in past ten years. Still, the fact cannot be denied that the relationship has always been complicated and controversial as well. The central argument revolves around whether these nations can work towards the development of interpersonal relationship.

When the peace agreement was signed between Chinese and Indian government back in the year 1954, there were five major principles, which were meant to be followed. One of them was to maintain a mutual peaceful co-existence without interfering in each other’s internal matters. Issue of Tibet has always been central point of disagreement between these two nations. Although India tried to make China understand the fact that lets Tibet deal with its own issues and let the territory be self-ruled yet China prepared themselves to annex it as well as refused to go for further negotiations with Dalai Lama. In 1951, with the help of signing an agreement it was decided that except internal affairs China has achieved a control over Tibet’s external affairs, communications and trade policies. However, India did not react strongly against this step of China as they were under Panchsheel agreement. Yet with the attack of 1962, China broke the agreement and for the next 14 years both the countries suffered. Meanwhile, China established a relationship with Pakistan (Siddique, 2014), which resulted in Pakistani attack on Indian region in 1965. China was supporting Pakistan in the case of Kashmir and their anger increased with Sikkim’s accession to Indian Territory (Javaid & Jahangir, 2015). However, the relationship started to develop as Mrs Gandhi took effective international policies to handle this sensitive situation. As a result, business and cultural exchange increased which strengthen the economic relationship yet numerous issues have been remained unresolved. Before moving on towards critical analysis of literature on this agenda a brief introduction of contemporary issues are needed. One of those issues are boundary dispute (van Eekelen, 2015). China shares almost 2,000 kilometres of border area and the boundary has never been officially certified. After 1990, the situation of tensions and confusions progressed as several agreements were signed by these countries. In future days, China has equally supported India to fight against terrorism even after acknowledging the issues between Pakistan and India on the aspect of terrorism. There were a series of political events, which created the tension first, and then it was removed by some diplomatic policies. On this context, current relationship between these two nations will be evaluated and argument will be raised whether there are further chances of developing the relationship in future to avoid war situation.

Contemporary Issues of Indo-China Relationship

Most of the scholarly articles presents the relationship in a pessimistic way as far as potential of development is concerned. Hardwar, (2013) in the article ‘The India-China relationship possible new paradigm’ the relationship between these two nations is required to “Cast off the transient and reveal of truth”. These wise words have been quoted from a Japanese Buddhist priest which can applied aptly to the authentic Asian values and practices of cooperation, acknowledging other’s sufferings and believing the immense power of life and refusing the mentality of destruction. According to this study, India was manipulated and trapped into an ‘anti-Chinese’ matrix, framed by United States of America. As a result of this, internal tensions between the governments of both the nations are increasing day by day. India as a developing country cannot afford the war with China. It will not be an exaggeration if it is stated that, India needs more than a century to reach the level where China stands now.

The study, “Indo-China relations: Bonhomie with Ambivalence” conducted by Horiatis, (2012), critically examined the complications of bi-lateral relationship between two countries. The issues of Bonhomie with Ambivalence has been highlighted here. Before the war of 1962, both the countries were facing sensitive border dispute and an uneven distribution of power structure was noted (Hoge, 2015). The atmosphere of international tension developed after 1990 as well as based on flexible economic policies bi-lateral interactions gradually started to become smoother than before. This study has elaborated the positive aspects of mutual exchanges, which are consistent cooperation in multinational issues and commercial relationship, yet the author did not forget to analyse the negative factors like long-term boundary dispute, the disagreement with China’s South Asian policy and several cases of violation against the agreement, which affects the relationship badly. International atmosphere hardly plays an important role in the internal and economic issues between these two countries.

Chakraborty, (2012) in his paper, “Weighing India-China relations in the 21st century: An Analytical Assessment under the NDA and UPA Governments” presents a comparison of India’s relation with China under the rule of two different government. The analysis clears the fact that NDA government handled the issues with China with intense priority whereas; UPA government did not frame their policies focusing China. The strong bilateral trade relationship and high rates of business exchanges have been working as positive factors, which are able to eliminate the tension of international diplomatic policies, relation with other countries and it has gradually started to remove mental distance between two nations after the war of 1962. While implementing new business laws and creating a global approach China and India have followed the same path, which has brought them closer. The author has stated in the conclusion that NDA government implemented more visionary policies to improve the relationship with China than UPA.

Critical Analysis of Literature on Indo-China Relationship

In the study, “Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific”, the author Mohan (2013) introduces a new theory with the reference of a much familiar Indian fable to illustrate the contemporary situation. The book is based on ‘maritime strategy’ and the central topic revolves around the features of Indo-Chinese ‘maritime competition’ considering the Indo-pacific region (where tropical water of Indian Ocean is mixed with Pacific Ocean). As USA controls the power in this region, the author has highlighted the role of Untied States in the increasing rivalry between China and India. Mohan has elaborated the fact that both the nations are oriented with boundary dispute since the ancient time. Asia pacific region is considered as a region with which India shares fastest growing external economic relationship. Whereas, China considers Indian Ocean as a hindrance while exporting products to other continents like Europe and Africa. USA’s crucial role has been critically analysed here by the author regarding Indo-Chinese maritime rivalry. As numerous aspects of Indo-China relationship are directly dominated by USA, therefore a triangular relationship in coming in front (Hayes, 2013). Although, USA does not prefer China as they are on strong agreement with Pakistan still there is a high possibility that China and USA being more developed and powerful country jointly can isolate India as a less powerful developing country (Isaacs, 2015). On the other hand, China can take initiative to resolve boundary dispute with India as well as encourage the healthy cultural and commercial relationship between them rather than a competitive one. 

Considering the contemporary scenario of Indo-China relationship, it can be said that trade relationship is the only factor which keeps the interaction positive (Bajpai, Huang & Mahbubani, 2015). Apart from that, China and India share a glorious cultural history as well. Yet there are some long-term political and internal issues, which keep disturbing the peace between nations. As a result, a mutual relationship of distrust has evolved, though cooperation is there in various sectors (Arif, 2013). Therefore, a theory of contradiction comes in front when the future of Sino- Indian relationship has been questioned. The first one states that being powerful both the countries can engage themselves into war to fight for dominance in Asian regions. The possibilities of military confrontation between these two countries cannot be denied as India and China, both are equipped with nuclear weapons and both of them are consistently increasing their capabilities in these sectors. Although, there is a different argument whether India can afford war with China or not as China is more developed than India is today. Still, this factor can be ignored considering the fact that India has the capability to import military technology in order to succeed. Again, a liberal perspective can be discussed considering the mutual business opportunities of China and India. Both the countries can maintain the peaceful co-existence depending on each other’s business prospect. However, Indians consider China as a threat and a mental distance remains the same in modern times as well. The intention of raising the argument is to evaluate the future of Indo-China relationship: whether it is going to sustain or not in this complicated environment.

The Future of Indo-China Relationship

There are two central aspects, which strengthen the fact that there are still hopes of improvement. Bi-lateral trade relationship between two nations is consistent and growing rapidly with the progression of time. India exports diamonds, cotton, copper, iron ore and chemicals to China and these products are leading the market. India is considered as second largest exporter of both diamonds and cotton to Chinese countries as of 2016. In the same year, Indian exports of iron ore received a hike. Chinese export of electrical goods and fertilizers in India has received positive feedback (Fuller, 2014). India is the largest destination of exporting anti biotic and second largest as far as the exportation of organic chemicals is concerned. Seven Indian banks have branches in china and here in Mumbai there is a representative branch of Chinese bank ICBC. In China the presence of Indian embassy as well as Chinese embassies are present in all the major cities of India. Both the embassies maintain consistent communication, with the universities as well to improve educational exchange. Occasionally, Chinese embassy officers visit universities to interact with Indian students in case any emergency arises during their stay in China. Therefore, in the midst of an environment of distrust both the countries are consistently maintaining a relationship of cooperation, as they do not want to face economic loss. Several genre of Chinese businesses such as, restaurants, electrical appliances and salon are rapidly increasing. Even Kolkata, one of the metro cities of India, has a separate Chinese community who celebrates and observes their festivals and culture amidst of an entirely different culture of Bengal (Pan, 2014). It can be said, these examples would not exist if the elements of cooperation were not present (Gancheng, 2015). Economic and commercial relationship determine the environment of mutual dependency yet former experiences and power imbalance between two countries are the central reasons of disagreement. As both the countries’ economy are rapidly growing, China is expecting a strong competition from the opposite end. Several business predictions have shown the results that within almost 12 years India can compete with China. Being more powerful, a tendency of occupying new lands by military confrontation can be noticed in Chinese mentality, which creates the internal tension.

In order to talk about Sino-Chinese cultural interactions, some historical evidences of exchanges should be considered with greatest priority. The evidences of exchange between Indian Vedic Civilization and Shang-Zhou civilization are found distinctly. Being the immediate neighbour the curiosity of discovering new aspects were present in ancient times as well. Buddhist pilgrims and eminent Chinese travellers visited India through historical silk route in Sikkim and scripted their written account on India (Summers, 2016). The regular interactions of Chinese students with Nalanda University has led the Indian government to establish Xuanzang memorial at Nalanda. Apart from these, there are numerous Buddhist temples have been erected in the Indian provinces. Bollywood movies have a great impact on Chinese audiences. China has been thinking to invest in this sector too. They are much interested about Indian performing arts and culture. Indian festivals and its history amaze them. The historic significance of silk route regarding cultural exchanges is highest among all the factors. PM Narendra Modi’s initiative to observe international yoga day has impressed Chinese population. During his visit in china in the year of 2015, an agreement was signed to build a yoga college in Yunnan region of China. Besides, Chinese cuisine is famous throughout India. Though there are scarcity of authentic Chinese food, yet in Territy bazar, Kolkata, one can find authentic and homemade Chinese spices and sauces and the entire market is operated by the Chinese community of that place. In China, an increasing rate of Indian community delivers a positive vibe. Major part of the Indian community in China consisted of students and there are expatriates as well who are working in different Chinese and Indian multinationals (Cooke, Saini & Wang, 2014), (Kothari, Kotabe & Murphy, 2013).

Although, there are several examples of cooperation yet the former bitter experiences of Chinese violation and the long-term border dispute have always been the bone of contention between these nations. There is a famous saying by Kautilya, “Every neighbouring state is an enemy and the enemy’s enemy is a friend.”  The fact is known to all, that China shares border with India (Ma, 2014). According to the saying, being the immediate neighbour, both the countries cannot possess a healthy relationship. Surprisingly, reality supports the saying literally and China considers India as an enemy whereas Pakistan as a friend just because India and Pakistan shares a bitter history of partition. Although, China is fully aware of the fact that Pakistan is the country, which is viewed as a country of terrorism. Respecting all the religious issues, it cannot be denied that most of the terrorist organisations are originated in Pakistan. Still China maintains an all-weather friendship with the country to weaken India from every possible aspect. Indian economy is growing at a rapid rate and within few years, it will reach the level Chinese economy according to the business predictions. China is afraid of the fact that with such rapid pace, India will achieve the excellence and their country will be lagging behind. However, China never misses a chance of investment in India and vice versa. Both the countries share an amazing business relationship amidst of several issues of boundary dispute. The relationship is a perfect example of cooperation with distrust. Back in the time of 1950’s when Panchsheel was signed, countries were under agreement to have a mutual understanding and to maintain a peaceful coexistence. In the case of annexing Tibet to Chinese territory, India raise opposition yet they could not react seriously, as they were under Panchsheel agreement. However, China was the first to violate the agreement with the declaration of war in 1962. It is true that immediate neighbours cannot be friends, yet without cooperation they cannot sustain either. Therefore, acknowledging all the aspects of disagreement and bitter experiences both the countries are consistent in helping each other. Again, the tendency of occupying Indian territories like Arunachal Pradesh, which has been strongly discouraged by Indian government (Rahman, 2014). On the other hand, there are several local parties, which are in favour of China and influencing natives towards their objectives. China has not succeeded yet in their goal and as far as this issue is concerned, there is least possibility of success in near future. Sikkim was an autonomous state until contemporary PM Indira Gandhi annexed it as an extended part of India. The following events were not very pleasant as a conflict occurred between two nations concerning the rights of Indian PM to take such a step as Sikkim situated in the middle of India and China. Several attacks and counter attacks are consistently occurring and in most of the cases, China is breaking the agreement of peaceful coexistence.

Conclusion

The purpose of this paper was initially to deliver an insight of Indo-china relationship in contemporary times and the way it has been evolving its nature starting from the ancient times. After evaluating the history of continuous rivalry least possibility of development can be seen. Yet, in modern times, the improvement of commercial exchanges has played a crucial part in order to maintain a helpful partnership. There are numerous academic journals, which have presented several dimensions of their relationship and the way it can be transformed for betterment. Considering all the positive aspects of business and cultural exchanges there is a hope of improvement though the long-term boundary dispute and China’s aggressive policies of capturing territory by military confrontation consistently creating tensions in the international environment. Therefore, it can be concluded that the nature of Sino-Indian relationship has always been controversial and complicated. Still there are possibilities of improvement, if China gives up aggressive unethical policies of war and continues the process of mutual support. Internal issues should be resolved under highest priority to avoid future possibilities of war and economic loss. Therefore, if both the nations realise the advantages and give up the feeling of unnecessary hatred, immense opportunity can be identified as far as improvement of international relationship of India and China is concerned. 

References    

Afsharipour, A., & Rana, S. (2013). The emergence of new corporate social responsibility regimes in China and India. UC Davis Bus. LJ, 14, 175.

Ahmed, S., Mahmood, A., Hasan, A., Sidhu, G. A. S., & Butt, M. F. U. (2016). A comparative review of China, India and Pakistan renewable energy sectors and sharing opportunities. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 57, 216-225.

Arif, S. M. (2013). A History of Sino-Indian Relations: from conflict to cooperation. International Journal of Political Science and Development, 1(4), 129-137. Van Boeckel, T. P., Gandra, S., Ashok, A., Caudron, Q., Grenfell, B. T., Levin, S. A., & Laxminarayan, R. (2014). Global antibiotic consumption 2000 to 2010: an analysis of national pharmaceutical sales data. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 14(8), 742-750.

Bajpai, K., Huang, J., & Mahbubani, K. (Eds.). (2015). China–India relations: Cooperation and conflict. Routledge.

Cooke, F. L., Saini, D. S., & Wang, J. (2014). Talent management in China and India: A comparison of management perceptions and human resource practices. Journal of World Business, 49(2), 225-235.

Fuller, D. B. (2014). Chip design in China and India: multinationals, industry structure and development outcomes in the integrated circuit industry. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 81, 1-10.

Gancheng, Z. (2015). Towards greater financial cooperation: A Chinese perspective. In China–India Relations (pp. 51-65). Routledge.

Hayes, J. (2013). Constructing national security: US relations with India and China. Cambridge University Press.

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Isaacs, H. R. (2015). Scratches on Our Minds: American Images of China and India: American Images of China and India. Routledge.

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Pan, M. L. (2014). The Changing Character and Survival Strategies of the Chinese Community in India. China Report, 50(3), 233-242.

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van Eekelen, W. (2015). Indian foreign policy and the border dispute with China. Brill.

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