Why is China so interested in India these days?
Lynn Lee, Network Engineer (2007-present)
The truth is, we are not only interested, but more envious. The reasons are as follows:
Democracy, the people have various rights
economic development, India’s economic growth rate is very fast in recent years, and China is far behind.
international relations, India and all developed countries have very good relations. can buy all kinds of advanced products, But China is restricted everywhere. We can only research and design ourselves. The self-researched often fall behind similar products in developed countries for decades.
geopolitical conditions, the south side of India is the Indian Ocean, and the sea trade is very convenient. China is different. It must first pass through the South China Sea and cross the Straits of Malacca to reach the Indian Ocean. Malacca is known as the lifeline of China’s maritime supply. It is currently controlled by several countries such as Singapore and Indonesia. If it is cut, China will be paralyzed.
So, as Chinese, we are very envious of India.
Darshan Gowda, lives in India (2000-present)
Many years aback, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to Beijing. The visit will cap a year that has been full of ups and downs in India’s relations with China. The tale of three trips is representative.
There have been good signs for those interested in stable, cooperative Sino-Indian relations.
Those economic ties have already grown. China is one of India’s largest trading partners. Bilateral trade in goods has gone from less than $3 billion in 2000 to $66.57 billion in 2012. While investments haven’t kept the same pace, they have also grown. In India, the interest in doing business with China is evident beyond the private sector and the central government—along with visits by a number of Indian CEOs, China has also seen visits from chief ministers of a number of Indians states, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Narendra Modi, current chief minister of the state of Gujarat and prime ministerial candidate for the forthcoming national election for the BJP (India’s largest opposition party), has also traveled to China. While Modi has expressed hawkish views on China on the geopolitical front, he has expressed admiration for that country’s economic achievements.
The governments of both countries have reasons for wanting stable ties: the desire for a peaceful periphery in order to focus on domestic socio-economic objectives; the need for stability in South Asia, especially with the impending American drawdown of forces from Afghanistan; existing and potential economic ties; and the prospect for cooperation in the multilateral realm. For Delhi, in addition, a stable relationship with China opens up the possibility that Beijing might use its leverage with Islamabad to shape Pakistan’s behavior in a way that might benefit India. For Beijing, there’s desire to limit India’s burgeoning relationships with the United States and Japan, as well as with other countries in what Beijing considers its backyard. Moreover, as China is preoccupied with eastern maritime disputes and the North Korean situation, stable relations on its southern and southwestern flank would also help the Chinese leadership.
Differences are not restricted to the boundary dispute. Tibet remains a key source of tension between the two countries though the two countries have found a way to manage their differences on the issue for now. In addition, China’s relationship with Pakistan has been a major source of concern in India. Its role in strengthening Pakistan’s conventional, missile and nuclear capabilities is especially highlighted. India also disapproves of China’s assistance to Pakistan in developing projects and infrastructure in area disputed between India and Pakistan.
China’s growing political and economic ties with India’s neighbors are also a subject of concern. Delhi watches warily increasing Chinese interactions—political and commercial—with and involvement in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Concern about a military dimension being added persists. Beijing’s increasing interest in operating in the Indian Ocean, which India has traditionally considered its backyard, has also not gone unnoticed. While China emphasizes that these activities have benign goals—economic development, security for its ships, etc.—some in India who tend to take a hawkish position are not convinced; others are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Even beyond the neighborhood, there are concerns about competition with China for markets, influence and resources across the globe.
Closer to home, water is the resource that has become the subject of tension—specifically Chinese dam construction on its side of the Brahmaputra River. Indian officials have publicly called for Beijing to reassure India on this matter. Domestic critics, however, perceive the Indian government as being too tolerant of the construction. They argue that China has not respected information sharing agreements on this front and warn of more ambitiousChinese river diversion plans.
Economic ties, which many envisioned as the driver of good Sino-Indian ties, have also not escaped trouble. Bilateral trade in goods actually fell almost 10 percent from 2011 to 2012. In India there’s much concern about the trade imbalance. The overall trade deficit has gone from $28 billion in 2010-2011 to $40.8 billion in 2012-2013. While investments have grown, they remain limited compared to the investment relationships that both China and India have with other countries. In India, there have also been complaints about market access in China and the treatment of Indian labor there, concern about Chinese investment in “strategic” sectors in India, accusations about visa abuses by Chinese companies and restrictions on Chinese labor. Indian companies also privately express concerns about cyber-espionage. Overall, reports of cyber-attacks on Indian government and military networks—allegedly emanating from China—have done nothing to decrease distrust that persists, especially among the public.
There is also an overall sense that China does not respect India and/or that it will seek to prevent India’s rise. As evidence, critics point not only to China’s relationship with Pakistan, which is seen as driven by a desire to keep India tied up in South Asia, but also note China’s reluctance to endorse India’s demand for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council or its objections to India being given membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Another overarching problem: the lack of trust in China and its intentions. This is especially evident among the public. According to a Pew poll last year, more Indians have an unfavorable view of China than a favorable view. In a more recent Lowy Institute poll, China ranked only second to Pakistan in terms of countries that people considered threatening to India, with 60 percent indicating China would be a major threat over the next decade (an additional 22 percent identified it as a minor threat). 73 percent of those surveyed identified “war with China” as a big threat over the next ten years. Almost three-quarters believed that China wants to dominate Asia. 58 percent felt that China’s growth had not been good for India. This reinforces what the Pew poll found last year. In that poll, two-thirds of urbanites who expressed an opinion on the subject believed that China’s growing economy was a bad thing.
Overcoming this mistrust continues to be a major obstacle. The legacy of history remains a problem. Every time there is a border incident it reinforces the narrative that has prevailed in many quarters in India since the 1962 China-India war: that China only understands strength; that while Beijing’s leaders say China and India “must shake hands,” they cannot be trusted—that one hand held out might just be a precursor to the other stabbing one in the back. This problem is made worse by limited connectivity and communications, and little knowledge about the other country—even though these have improved. Media coverageabout China and the relationship can also get quite heated, with a tendency to focus on the negative. All these problems are exacerbated by the lack of transparency when it comes to Chinese decision-making. This has led to uncertainty about Chinese behavior and motivations, which was evident in the debate about why the border incident in April occurred—and this uncertainty exists even among policymakers.
Thus, Indian governments have tried to follow a multi-pronged strategy. The emphasis might have differed somewhat, but for the last two governments in India—one a coalition led by the BJP and the current one led by the Congress—the general approach towards China has been to co-operate, if possible, and to compete, if necessary. Indian officials have joined with Chinese counterparts to increase ties, build trust and improve communications. Simultaneously, policymakers note that competition in and of itself is not all bad. As former Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee noted in Beijing, “a sense of competition between two close and equal neighbours” might indeed be natural. There is also, however, a realization that beyond cooperation and competition, there is a potential for conflict. Thus, while hoping and working for the best, there has been some attention on planning and preparing for the worst—i.e. the possibility that China will emerge as an explicit threat. There is a desire to do this cautiously, however, with policymakers quite conscious of the potential for provocation, miscalculation and exacerbation of the security dilemma.
In practice, this overall approach has meant increasing engagement with China—political, economic and even military-to-military—at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Simultaneously, this approach has translated to a series of actions including strengthening India’s military, as well as its border infrastructure and border regions, maintaining a nuclear deterrent, and consolidating or expanding ties and influence in India’s near abroad.
India has also tried to step up its game in China’s neighborhood. Indian policymakers underplay the strategic aspects and goals of India’s “Look East” policy—which the Indian foreign ministry describes as “oriented towards deepening India’s engagement with the countries of East and Southeast Asia”—and emphasize its cultural and economic aspects. However, these elements and the link to China have not been entirely missing in action. The Indian government and companies are increasingly interested and engaged in the region, especially focusing on countries like Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In recent months, India-Japan ties have probably been in the spotlight the most, with another round of the U.S.-India-Japan trilateral dialogue and Singh’s visit to Japan in May. India has also sought to be more engaged with multilateral fora in the region. Officials from some Southeast Asian countries, however, want India to do much more. Channeling some of their frustrations, Hillary Clinton, when she led the State Department, calledfor “India not just to look east, but to engage East and act East as well.”
Another key aspect of India’s approach has been the pursuit of closer relations with the United States. Of course, these ties with the United States are not solely driven by China. India indeed has no desire to make a choice between its relations with China and the United States. However, the United States plays a useful role as an offshore balancer. Furthermore, Indian policymakers believe that a strong U.S.-India relationship gives them leverage with China and sends a signal to that country. Some also note that China takes India more seriously because the United States does. India, however, still has doubts about U.S. reliability as a potential partner, especially given the level of Sino-U.S. engagement, and prefers to maintain a diversified portfolio of partnerships.
So, where do India’s relations with China go from here? In the near term, during the Prime Minister’s visit, the two sides might sign a border defense cooperation agreement. The accord would essentially be a way to manage rather than resolve the boundary question, which the Indian foreign secretary has noted continues to be “a particularly difficult issue.” The trans-border rivers question is also likely to be discussed. In addition, given the two countries’ priorities, bilateral and global economic and financial issues will be high on the agenda. Potentially, there also might be agreements that could facilitate greater people-to-people ties, including a cultural and visa pacts. Regionally, developments vis-à-vis Afghanistan and the Middle East that concern both governments are likely to be discussed. Finally, on the multilateral front, trade and climate change issues might be on the agenda, given upcoming international summits in those two areas.
Raajeshwari Singh Raghuvanshi,
China is a smart nation. It knows in order to reign it has to collude. Till now it has taken every step steadily trudging towards empowering itself as a nation and strengthening its position . Now when it has reached a place, it desires to reign. But China has many hurdles from West & their neighbours. Strongest in the continent being India for now it terms of economy. Not that Russia, Japan, Singapore can ever be ignored as is they are developed & the potential to cash in their population is saturated so we shall skip them for now. From its One road to bringing Asia in the power India plays a major role. Also, India has the power with her relationship she can bring in many other countries onboard
We have given China tough fights on the border and China is smart to play around. China’s intention in India is never and will never be bilateral but Country specific, their own interest. Nothing wrong in it ,all of the countries want it for themselves. But China knows how to play it when to flash the required card. With USA targetting Asia(read China), it becomes important for China to bring countries like India along their side to give it back to West or atleast show them the strength.
Hence in terms of trade and politics India seems to be very important for them and strategically a very crucial partner which they have tried to bypass before but couldn’t, they have tried overpower before but couldn’t . So what do you do when you can’t bypass somebody or overpower them- you make them your friends at least at the face of it and then smartly want to keep reaching your earlier goal(don’t miss to read overpowering).
PS : I am a great admirer of the way China has reached where it has. Fortunately, unfortunately I don’t know much of what their citizens have to sacrifice as I am not one of them but in the larger diaspora this nation is counted and countries fear China. China means pure business no heart and i appreciate that in a country.
Jagabandhu Mishra, former Chief Conservator of Forests. at Government of India (1985-2012)
India imports goods worth 60 billion US Dollar from China. India export around 5 billion US Dollar worth of goods to China mostly in the form of medicines and mineral products. The Doklam issue should have been resolved by China long back. But it lingered and became a bitter issue between India and China. Due to trade conflict between USA and China, there is problem for international trade. India can play a mediator role between USA and China due its proximity to USA. India is the closest ally of USA in Asia at present. The clout of India is also growing due to its increasing economic dominance in the world. China can not create more rivals at this level. Japan and South Korea are already maintain distance from China due to its hegemonistic approach in the past. Singapore and Australia are closer to USA. So China wanted to placate India . It is advantage for India. It can improve its economy further to consolidate its position in world economy.
Rajat Gupta, Freelance
These china is so interested in India because we are giving it a tough competition through made in India. Also India is one of the largest importers of Chinese products and first time in our history we are reducing this trend. There is one more reason that china is interested in India because of cpec. The Chinese authorities are making trade routes and it goes from pok. India clearly opposed that and in turn hurted Chinese sentiments which is strategic partner of Pakistan and the main builder of cpec. India has also been giving china tough reply on border’s such as doklam incident. So that is why china is so interested in India.
Mukund, Proprietor at U E Consultants (2013-present)
India’s business potential because of large population & China can supply lot of consumer goods as well as help India to build its infrastructure is the only answer. China is good and economical in both these areas. China is more interested to be a superpower and wants to curtail any upcoming power in competition to it. India has limited resources and in need of infrastructure development in given constraints. Though India has started make in India program but it is still not in competition with China in mass manufacturing of domestic or industrial goods & infrastructure. Any help or collaboration with west is always expensive though better in quality. China is harping to get slot in such situation. If there is any hidden agenda in addition to above is not known and beyond guess of majority people.
Bidhan Shanker, lives in India
Few reasons could be possible because of following reaaosns.
Due to positive economic growth rate forecast of India
Trade war between US and China. China may be looking for alternative market and trade partner.
India has good future in terms of market and economy.
Huge consumer in India.
To find an alternative economic block in the East.
To cement the relationship between two countries after decades of scepticism and ill feelings
Ruddy Raar, Article at At CA Firm (2012-present)
India & China are two regional powerful countries who can maintain peace in Asian continent.
Some of the reasons that make both countries to consider each other :
The way by which India stand strong on Doklam issue make China to step back.
China growing faster in defence sector which is worried issue for India.
Assisting Pakistan in making stronger in defence sector attracts eyes of India towards progressive relationship between both countries.
Recent intrest of USA in India to counter China in south china sea makes China worried.
Apart from aboves both countries are most rapidly developing countries.
Sorry if this hurts your feelings, but China is not interested in India, not interested in it more than other countries in South Asia. It’s just India which is so interested in China and compare to China all the time.
The competition India thinks that they made…Nope, not felt at all.
But the enthusiasm of India to compare with China and declare winning unilaterally has been well felt and be wildly disgusted in China. If India feels so good about itself, just compare itself with the US, the strongest country on earth in this era.
Ankit Shah, CA & CS, Poet, Copywriter & Editor, PHD scholar AA & RA-IIMA
After-effects of de-globalisation led by trump and strong govt in India.
60% of our GDP is domestic consumption which means we are 60% insulated to global ups and downs. This amuses China which has to stare massive unemployment back home if chinese exports stop.
India is a beacon of managing people and progress democratically in the midst of all variety of conflicts and contradictions. We are almost a miracle that we are not just functioning but moving forward too despite all the odds.
Krishna More, Ballb Law & Politics of India, Savitribai Phule Pune University (2018)
Indian economy is one of the fast growing economy of world. Obivisiously if china invested tehir monitory power in India they will got huge profit. Also India has good reputation internationally which can help china. For your information India appeled in UN for entry of china.