Chapter 8


India and China


The India China relationship is an ancient one

India and China have had a relationship with each other going back a couple of millennia. India’s early relationship with the Chinese communists after independence is instructive of the naïveté inherent in the execution of Nehru’s foreign policy. This was exploited both by Pakistan in 1963 and by US in 1971 after Bangladesh was created. Nehru made a great show at Bandung 1955 of bringing China into the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) under India’s wing. This incensed the Chinese communists, who saw their place in the world quite differently, as heirs to the great power status granted to China at Yalta. India by contrast could only aspire to such status. Zhou En Lai, who was China’s representative at Bandung, was infuriated by what they perceived to be condescension on the part of Nehru. After Bandung, the relationship with China continued to deteriorate, growing openly contentious over Tibet in 1959. The long-festering border disagreement between India and China erupted into a hot war in 1962 when China invaded India through the eastern range of the Himalayas.


The United States responded to India’s request with a massive airlift to put Indian troops and U.S. materiel where they were needed in the mountain engagement. The war with China was a blow to the foreign policy of Nehru and to him personally, probably hastening his death. India’s relations with China remain strained to this day. This event also revealed to the rest of the world that India was still in the early stages of developing a world view which was consonant with her security objectives, The China India conflict was also an opportunity to study the reactions of the rest of the world to the conflict and the perception of major powers about India and its position in the world in general. Teresita Schaffer, a former South Asia specialist in the State Department made a comment in 2002 that India has for the first time started looking at the outside world. The information that Indian policymakers have about the power structure inside China is woefully inadequate and the Indian public is really oblivious to the social and power structure inside China. Moreover, the Indian media has been utterly unhelpful in shedding light on the inner workings of the Chinese elite power structure.


It is quite clear that the US China relationship has a long term bearing on the future of India. The China Pakistan relationship developed in the last 40 years also has far reaching implications for the security of India. Since the mid 90’s, the US foreign policy community has engaged in a vigorous debate over how to deal with China in the wake of the Cold War, simply put, whether to “engage” or “contain.”[1] This in itself could be a suspect stance and may be a move done merely to deflect the attention of the international community. The West has really accepted the power of China since 1971 when they were admitted in UNSC mainly to cut India down to size after the 1971 war. There is a lot of media attention on the reported threat perception of China but that could merely be a smoke screen. Given a choice between China and India, US the hyperpower would like to control the Indian peninsula since it gives the maximum benefit compared to the Chinese landmass. Beyond a fundamental consensus that political liberalization in China would be a good thing, however, there is little agreement about ends and means. There is not even agreement across the board that China poses a strategic threat to the United States. Nonetheless, the relationship is widely viewed as vital to U.S. interests. If the US were to stop focusing on the bilateral relationship with China, which is what the Cold War paradigm tends to make US do, and look at China in the context of what is at stake for U.S. interests in Asia as a whole, the US could get different results. The resulting implications for India would be profound.


From this vantage point, even the question of whether China’s military modernization poses a threat to the United States is less critical. It is enough that China’s neighbors, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, the countries of Southeast Asia, Australia, India are concerned about China’s military buildup, even if they do not always advertise the fact[2]. As a result, these countries always have one eye on Beijing, making them less attuned to U.S. regional and global concerns. If power is relational, as is often asserted, this result is by definition a setback to U.S. interests in Asia. Moreover, these Asian nations have to see China not just as a potential military threat, but as an economic threat as well. To the extent that China uses its political muscle with the West to distort the allocation of foreign investment to China and to promote access for China to Western markets and technology, China is buying its own economic development at the expense of other developing countries in Asia. India and China were subjugated repeatedly because of the presumed insular nature of their societies and alleged defensive battle mentality. As the examples of the recent history of China show, the Chinese seem to have learned their lessons. Thus they are expanding their influence into Tibet, Pakistan, the Central Asian Republics (CAR), Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. The steady propagation of Indian culture and values is a must for the survival of our society. When living in a forest full of carnivores, it is good strategy if the Indian elephant learns to be more aggressive.

“A strong India raises the price of China’s military buildup and expansionist policies in Asia. A strong India would also send the message that democracy in a developing country is not incompatible with rapid growth and wealth. This is a message worth sending not just to China and other authoritarian states, but also to all the states of Asia troubled by Islamic fundamentalism. India has the unenviable distinction of lying at the heart of the Islamic world, spanning the globe as Islam does from North Africa through the Middle East to Southeast Asia and the Philippines. Not only can India deliver a positive economic message, but its success as a state composed of varying ethnic and religious groups is an important example for others.” From the above quote the perception of the policymakers in the US is that India is the odd man out in Asia in between Islamic world and Chinese world. Hence it will be engulfed either by the Islamic countries or controlled by the Asian hegemony of Chinese state in the long run since staying power of an artificial country is less. This perception has been exploited by the US during the cold war to isolate and weaken India by striking alliances with Pakistan and China. But some in US have argued for a role for India in Asia. Ambassador Chester Bowles May 23, 1965 Memo spelt out a predominant role for India in Asia in containing (then communist) China. A section of US policymakers believe it is important to have an Asian counterpoise to China and India could be developed as one. This sits ill with the Indian foreign policy establishment, which is wary of getting entangled in power games in the region and feels the US should be deflected from a China-centric policy that visualizes India as a crucial element in furthering its foreign policy goals. India would much rather have the US put its money where its mouth is, on terrorism, so that this is consistent with US national security strategy. However, there was a sense of mismatch between Washington’s perceived commitment to ending terrorism, and the opinion in some sections of the State Department that China is the problem and India’s difficulties can wait. US priorities and the US perception of the order of nations in Asia will affect India’s position and influence in the world in the coming decades after the Iraq war. Balancing China and India has been going on for a long time by the US. Key elements of US foreign policy involved “the management of the rise of two great powers, China and India”. Quote: “We acknowledge the desire and right of India and China to take a place on the world stage. A benign, stable, and economically healthy addition to the world stage will be most welcome. But we want this to be accomplished with minimum disruption to regional stability,” is the refrain, while it is never made clear how India’s induction into the circle of great regional powers would constitute such a disruption. In reality, the US has played a sophisticated double game with India over China. Henry Kissinger's duplicity to the press and toward the Indians vis-à-vis the Chinese in 1971 is a good reminder. In July of 1971, while Kissinger was in India, he told Indian officials "under any conceivable circumstance the U.S. would back India against any Chinese pressures." In that same July meeting Kissinger said, "In any dialogue with China, we would of course not encourage her against India." However, near the end of the India-Pakistan war, in a highly secret 12/10/1971 meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to the UN Huang Ha, Kissinger[3]did exactly this, encouraging the PRC to engage in the equivalent of military action against the Indians. China perceives itself as always acting in a defensive manner, and tends to be somewhat "tone deaf" to contrary perceptions of Beijing's actions by its neighbors.


Chinese Perceptions of India


The perception of the Chinese elite and policymakers about India is unique. They regard Indians as ‘brown sahibs’ who have pretensions akin to the major powers. They look at India as an illegitimate power, which attained whatever stature it did, due to a fortuitous series of international circumstances during the world war and climate of liberal goodwill. China also perceives India to be a rival great power aspirant, belligerent and expansionist, and will likely continue to be unwilling to confer great power status upon it. Chinese policymakers consider the power base of the Indian elite weak and the elite are considered pretentious and not worthy to rule.



It is instructive to review the Chinese image of India' s strategic culture. Strategic culture is defined as the fundamental and enduring assumptions about the role of war (both interstate and intrastate) in human affairs and the efficacy of applying force held by political and military elite in a country. These assumptions will vary from country to country. Also important are the perceptions prevalent among the elite within one country regarding the nature of another country's strategic culture. The sum total of these assumptions tends to result, for example, in a composite image held by China of India. Borrowing from Allen Whiting definition of the strategic cultural image is " the preconceived stereotype of the strategic disposition of another nation, state, or people that is derived from a selective interpretation of history, traditions, and self -image."

The Chinese elite are not of one mind on either the nature of their own strategic culture or on the images of these cultures in other countries. China's self -image of its own strategic culture is essentially a Confucian one comprising a widely held and hegemonic set of assumptions although certainly not universal. However, China's actual strategic culture is the result of interplay between Confucian and realpolitik strands. The outcome can be called a "Cult of Defense," whereby Chinese elite believe strongly that their country' s strategic tradition is pacifist, non-expansionist, and purely defensive but at the same time able to justify virtually any use of force including offensive and preemptive strikes as defensive in nature. Chinese perceptions of the strategic cultures of other states tend to be formed by military strategists and thus are skewed towards a negative image as in the case of India. Culture has long been considered a critical dimension in China's approach to strategy and warfare. While the term "strategic culture" was not used until 1988, conventional thinking was that China’s Confucian tradition was a key determining factor in Chinese strategic thinking. Because of Confucianism, in this interpretation, China tends to favor harmony over conflict and defense over offense. Other analysts, usually focusing on Sun Tzu Art of War, have stressed a Chinese predisposition for stratagem over combat and psychological and symbolic warfare over head-to-head combat on the battlefield.


At the very least these interpretations of Confucius and Sun Tzu created the image of China whose use of force is cautious and restrained.  More recently, analysts have argued that China's leaders are actually influenced by a realpolitik strand of strategic culture. According to this interpretation, the elite has and continues to be quite willing to use force. Both of the two major interpretations of China's strategic tradition ( Confucius/ Sun Tzu and realpolitik) tend to assume its strategic culture is monistic and make no attempt to link it to domestic policy. It is a mistake to assume that a country's strategic culture can be subsumed within a single tradition and to focus exclusively on interstate violence. In reality China has been far more pragmatic in the conduct of her foreign policy than has been India and the Chinese have been predisposed to the use of force much more so than most other nations. Indeed, it is likely that there are multiple strands of strategic culture. And ignoring trends in intrastate and societal violence risks overlooking diverse and important values and beliefs about the use of force and violence.

Most Chinese strategic thinkers believe that Chinese strategic culture is pacifistic, defensive-minded, and non-expansionist. However, at least in the contemporary era, these sincerely held beliefs are essentially negated, or twisted, by its assumptions that any war China fights is just and any military action is defensive, even when it is offensive in nature. Two further assumptions reinforce this: that threats to China' s national security are very real and domestic threats are as dangerous as foreign threats, and that national unification is a traditional Chinese core strategic cultural value. The combined effect of these beliefs and assumptions is paradoxical while most of China's leaders, analysts, and researchers believe profoundly that the legacy of Chinese civilization is fundamentally pacifist, they are nevertheless predisposed to deploy force when confronting crises.

Threat Perceptions. China's political and military leaders see threats everywhere. The full extent of the siege mentality of China's leaders is not always appreciated. This paranoia results in an elite viewing the foreign as well as domestic environments as treacherous landscapes filled with threats and conspiracies. The current campaign against corruption in China and the crackdown on the Falungong Sect suggest the depth of the regime’s fear of domestic threats. This mindset may explain the need of the Chinese authorities during the Maoist era to come up with the seemingly innocuous phrase "China has friends all over the world." By the same token, one would expect that China also had at least some enemies in the world. Indeed one is tempted to conclude that the slogan itself was prompted by Chinese insecurities. If a country indeed has many friendly states around the world, why is it necessary to recite this ad nauseum? And the reality was that in the late Maoist era China actually had few staunch friends: the handful that come to mind are Albania, North Korea, and (most significant for India) Pakistan. The fact of the matter is that Maoist China believed itself to be surrounded by enemies. This was true of Deng's China, and also holds true for Jiang ZeMin' s China.


India, in the view of many Chinese analysts, is one of the world's four great civilizations. Possessing one of the world's largest conventional militaries, New Delhi also has a small but growing arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Once a glorious empire, India now seeks to reclaim its rightful place in Asia and the world after being exploited by imperialism for hundreds of years and then being held back by wrongheaded economic policies for decades. At the dawn of a new century the economy has been unleashed and its citizens are eager to achieve their country's full potential. India also represents a looming strategic threat to China, albeit not one that provokes the high level of concern that the United States or Japan[4] does. India is, in the words of John Garver, a "mid-level [priority] ranking" for China. China sees itself as the rightful preeminent power in Asia and India as its major medium-to long-term competitor for this position. India's long-term goal, according to a strategist at the National Defense University in Beijing interviewed in a November 2000 Guangming Ribao article, is to become a world power. According to this analyst, the goal may constitute an overreaching of India's ambitions but it still remains cause for Chinese concern. Of course there are less extreme views of India, but few if any of China' s strategic thinkers seem to hold warm or positive views of India for China's future. Moreover, Chinese analysts tend to hold realpolitik views of the world and view China's neighbors with wariness if not outright suspicion as the above articulation of China's own strategic culture indicates.

First of all, in Beijing's eyes New Delhi is extremely ambitious. India, Chinese analysts frequently insist, has “daguomeng.". Literally this means "big country dreams" or in the lexicon of international relations "great power aspirations." According to one article appearing in a prominent official weekly primarily for foreign consumption, India had taken advantage of the "power vacuum" in South Asia since the end of the Cold War, and New Delhi's dream "which had been held in check for many years, began to manifest itself ."

China believes India wants to be the hegemon of South Asia and eventually a world power. Toward this end India aspires to become a permanent member of the United Nations ( U. N.) Security Council, and to further develop its "comprehensive national power." China is distinctly unenthusiastic about India raising its stature in the U. N. For India, this entails a more technologically sophisticated military with even greater power projection capability. According to one writer, India's army is "extremely strong, " its navy ranks tenth in the world, its air force ranks twelfth, and its defense budget continues to grow.

Chinese analysts note that India is buying hundreds of tanks from Russia, preparing to jointly produce Sukhoi fighters, indigenously build submarines capable of launching missiles, and build ballistic missiles capable of reaching "most targets in China." India also is expanding its nuclear arsenal. According to one estimate, between 1986 and 2000 India was the world's largest importer of weaponry, taking in an estimated US$ 18 billion. All of this leads a writer in the Beijing Review to ask: "Why is India expanding its military strength in such an urgent way?" In addition to significant military power, India also is an economic power with tremendous growth potential. Although publicly Chinese analyses tend to stress the weaknesses of India, notably the abject poverty and significant ethnic and religious cleavages, they also recognize India' s considerable strengths. It possesses a large population, and a bright, well-educated, cosmopolitan elite. Moreover, its sizeable and growing high-technology sector is the envy of China. The concluding sentence of the entry on "Indian Military Thought" in the 1997 military encyclopedia compiled by the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences states: "At the turn of the century, at the same time that India strives to attain its goal of becoming a major economic power, it is working all-out on military modernization in order to achieve its goal of becoming a powerful country….". All this, of course, leads Chinese analysts to the inevitable conclusion that India is China' s natural rival on the Asian mainland. Naturally, remarks such as those by India' s Defense Minister George Fernandes in early May 1998

that China is India' s "potential threat number one" got considerable attention in Beijing. The phrase was translated by at least one PLA analyst as simply "number one enemy" (touhao diren). Another version

omits the prefix "potential" and quotes Jawaharlal Nehru as saying "The conflict between India and China is fundamental whether or not it is expressed in war." Furthermore, the U. S.-India rapprochement that occurred in the 1990s had a military component that reinforced China' s suspicions about New Delhi' s intentions vis-à-vis Beijing. The visits to India of President Clinton in 2000 and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton in 2001 merely heightened the concern.

Second, in the minds of many Chinese strategists, India possesses an extremely belligerent strategic culture. According to one PLA analyst: "India has resorted to arms against neighboring countries more than 10 times" since 1947. The Chinese observe that India has fought three wars with Pakistan in 1947, 1965,and 1971. This is not to mention the border war India fought with China in 1962 in which New Delhi is seen as the aggressor. Moreover, India has used strong-arm tactics to intimidate its Lilliputian neighbors into following India's desires. Beijing perceives a record of "war adventures" by New Delhi: intervention in the 1971 Pakistani civil war, which led to the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) ; and military intervention during the 1980s in the Maldive Islands as well as the extended military presence in Sri Lanka (although at the invitation of the Colombo government) .Perhaps the most recent manifestations of this belligerency, in China' s eyes, were the nuclear tests of May 1998 and accompanying "China threat" rhetoric of Indian officials.

Whatever the perceptions of India among the Chinese elite, the fact remains that the gap between China and India in military prowess and technology capability has grown appreciably over the decades since 1971.[5] It is inconceivable that any sober appraisal of the relative military capabilities of the 2 nations should result in undue alarm in Beijing.

Third, India' s strategic culture is seen as expansionist dating from Jawaharlal Nehru' s desire to create a" Greater Indian empire" according to several analyses. Not only has a recent Beijing Review story noted this desire, but the Jiefangjun Bao has similarly claimed that, "since independence, India has pursued a military expansionist line." The term "hegemonism" has also been used by China to label India' s efforts in South Asia. Widely used in the 1960s and 1970s, the word reappeared briefly in 1998 in the wake of the May nuclear tests. For example, a commentary in the May 19, 1998 Jief angjun Bao was titled: "The Ambition of Seeking Hegemony is completely exposed." China seems to have concluded that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government desires all of Kashmir and has made this a priority. Some analysts believe the BJP dreams of absorbing Bangladesh and Pakistan into a "greater India." In addition, India gobbled up the former Portuguese colony of Goa and annexed the independent kingdom of Sikkim in the mid-1970s. One analysis by two PLA Air Force colonels likened India' s 1975 absorption of the Himalayan kingdom to Iraq' s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Of course territorial disputes along the sino-indian border underscore New Delhi's expansionist ambitions in Beijing' s eyes. According to one strategist, from the date of India's official recognition of the People' s Republic of China (December 30, 1949), it "began to quietly nibble away at the Chinese territory along the Sino-Indian border." During the 1980s and 1990s, according to the Chinese military encyclopedia, Indian strategic thought became more ambitious and shifted from a continental focus toward the Indian Ocean. China has also noted India's increasing strategic interest in Southeast Asia, especially in the South China Sea.


An article in Beijing Review was confident that India’s military and great power ambitions would come to naught. It is "reality of [India’s] messy internal situation eventually will force it to wake up." According to another Renmin Ribao article, South Asia is a region full of complex ethnic and religious contradictions. If the United States became too deeply involved there, "it is bound to run the risk of [being] dragged into the subcontinental mire, including the Kashmir conflict, the thorniest problem there. And the experience of history shows that this is an unending situation that no one is able to break and resolve."  China’s rapidly growing economic lead over India is another area, which gives the Chinese confidence. This has been achieved solely due to the engagement of China with the west after 1978 and linking itself to the global trade at the exclusion of India as part of the cold war. Excluding India from the world trade is a deliberate policy of the US policymakers. In 1980, India’s GNP was 133 percent the size of China’s. By 1996 the two countries had traded places; India’s economy had fallen to only 68 percent of China’s—a dramatic change of relative position. In terms of net inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI), India’s intake of $72 million dollars in 1982 was only 16.7 percent of China’s intake in that year. By 1995, however, China’s lead was even greater: India’s FDI for that year was only 6 percent of China’s. For the entire period between 1982 and 1999, India’s total FDI was, according to World Bank statistics, 5.4 percent of China’s. In terms of foreign reserves (a good measure of a state’s ability to act internationally), India’s reserves of $8.32 billion were 187 percent of China’s in 1978. By 1995, India’s comparative reserves had fallen to 28 percent of China’s.

What we see is that as part of the cold war strategy US created its own sphere of influence for economy and geo-political coordination. It made sure that China was integrated with the western economy starting from 1978 and Pakistan was given enough resources to keep a healthy economy throughout 70s and 80s. By the early 90s we see that India has lagged behind substantially behind China and other east Asian countries with a strong Chinese economy threatening to engulf India and isolate it in Asia and to reduce India’s influence from the rest of the world. This was the real preparation before the final disintegration of India as planned internally by the sole superpower. The relative influence of China and Pakistan with respect to India was altered significantly in the last 25 years such that India’s influence and voice in the world as one billion people was lower than when India started at independence in 1947. China's choices regarding Pakistan between 1969 and 1991 had everything to do with their struggle with the Soviets. The relationship of the US, USSR and PRC to India and Pakistan was crystallized by one momentous event, the Sino-Soviet border clashes of 1969. In fact it was those clashes that prompted the Soviets to end their policy of balance adopted in 1964 after the fall of Khruschev, and seek a strategic relationship with India. For the Chinese the USSR was their most dangerous enemy, and the feeling was reciprocated. Brezhnev actually declared the PRC the main adversary in 1977. 1978 was the 'year of fear' for the PRC as they found themselves encircled by the Soviets. - Saur Revolution in Afghanistan and the dispatch of Soviet advisors and arms - Soviet-Vietnamese defense treaty with a major inflow of weapons and advisors Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea 1979 became the 'year of action' as Deng approved

- the invasion of Vietnam

- the dispatch of PLA guerilla warfare instructors to Pakistan to train Afghans

- additional conventional military aid to Pakistan

- the intensification of assistance to Pakistan's nuclear program

The original intent behind their proliferation was to challenge the Soviets in Afghanistan and Central Asia. This seems to have been months prior to the actual Soviet invasion, when Pakistan had virtually no other allies. It was out of the Commonwealth, had withdrawn from CENTO, and was under sanctions from the Carter administration for its refusal to end the work at Kahuta. By 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed the Chinese had already sold M-11s, and transferred nuclear technology. After that looking at the internal disorder inside India; China started the naval expansion into Indian Ocean and started cultivating other neighbors of India. Their support to Pakistan on Kashmir was going though flip flop but their military, nuclear and missile support to Pakistan never changed course even after the 1998 nuclear test by India. Beijing officials regard India as a lesser power on the other side of the Himalayas and focus most of their attention on the United States, Japan, and Europe, but they have taken note of these developments, coupled with the nuclear tests. India's support for President George Bush's missile defense plan, which China vehemently opposes, also irked the Communist leadership.


Two systems, one grand rivalry


One analysis in the west looks at India as suffering from inferiority complex. Beyond the security field, Indians suffer from a national inferiority complex when it comes to China. It is not hard to see why. In 1980, living standards and other social and economic indicators in the two countries were roughly the same. But by 2001, China, fuelled by 22 years of dynamic economic reforms, had overtaken India in almost all major development indicators. Economic reforms in India began only in the early 1990s and have moved forward fitfully, beset by political and bureaucratic inertia. India's performance is no match for its rival's. According to UNESCO and the World Bank, 18.8 percent of Chinese were living on less than $1 a day in 2001, compared with 44.2 percent of Indians. Although poverty figures in India and growth figures in China are disputed, the contrast is clear. India's GDP growth and especially foreign direct investment are nowhere near China's. India has also fallen behind in other important areas. The personal computer penetration in China, for instance, was 15.9 per 1,000 people in 2001, compared to India's 4.5.


Foreign cellular companies have found China far easier to navigate than India. India's 6 million mobile phone population is tiny compared to China's 150 million. At the same time, the size of India's population continues to grow and, if present trends continue, will overtake China's by 2050. But India’s influence does not match the one from China at the same population strength. This has been noticed by the western strategic community and the western powers and China have made sure that they keep the overall influence of India below potential.


 China's special relationship with Pakistan

Pakistan was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1951, but it was in 1961, when it voted at the UN General Assembly for the motion to restore China's legal status in the United Nations, that relations between the two countries took off. Clandestine nuclear Chinese assistance to Pakistan has been a major concern for Indian authorities. According to various news and intelligence reports, China supplied Pakistan with weapons-grade uranium and the nuclear-capable M-11 missiles. Indian leaders no doubt hope that further progress in India-China relations will act as a brake on the transfer of weapons to Pakistan. Analysts expect China's strong support for Pakistan to continue, albeit more discreetly. No major transfer of weapon systems or related technologies, conventional or nuclear, has been reported in the media since 2000. China still sees Pakistan as an important ally to keep India off balance. China's opposition to Pakistan's incursions into Indian controlled Kashmir in the summer of 1999 show that there are limits to its support for Pakistan. China has a strong interest in Pakistan's internal stability, however. They see the Musharraf government as the best bet to prevent Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist groups from becoming active in Xinjiang.


The cold war coordination between US, China and Pakistan against India still continues but in a low profile. China continues to covertly support Pakistan for military and trade areas but at the same time professes increasing understanding with India. US has effectively taken the role of the master for Pakistan after 9/11 and China and US have coordinated to create a illusion of confrontation between them starting from the spy plane incident in march 2001. A "soft" balance of power between India, China and USA may exist. Vajpayee's accomplishments in China suggest that India and China are headed toward greater pragmatic cooperation, but not toward any broader alignment on foreign policy or national strategy. This is good news for regional peace and stability. The strong relations  that both countries have with the United States, interestingly, are likely to reinforce this process. The result should ideally be a kind of "soft" balance of power between the three countries, where each country will try to protect its own interests by aligning with each country individually on an issue-by-issue basis.



Keeping the Americans Out


The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to elbow the Americans out. It wants American companies to invest and locate and manufacture in China. But the licenses, permissions, rules, and terms it imposes are designed to deeply involve and thereby train local engineers and managers and to require technology sharing so as to hasten the day when China can say good-bye to the foreign presence and largely go it alone. Strategically, China’s military capabilities and activities reveal an intention to turn the waters between mainland Asia and maritime Asia (the Korean peninsula, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia) into Chinese-dominated seas. The PRC claims as a matter of law that its national border runs in a great bulbous line to the southeast, just a few miles off the coasts of Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Chinese naval practices already have done much to incorporate the Taiwan Strait and, should Taiwan become part of the PRC, the aim of taking the farthest western Pacific waters would be virtually achieved. A recipe for confrontation with the United States now exists: what China regards as its domestic territory the rest of the world regards as international high seas and airspace. The United States Navy, as the EP-3 incident of June 2001 revealed, will be on the leading edge of this confrontation. And the danger increases as the Beijing regime’s propagandizing is strengthening the perception of its own people that defending China’s territorial integrity (as the Chinese define it) is the test of the leadership’s legitimacy.



Politically, the most successful method for keeping the Americans out has been a theory promulgated by American administration officials and academic analysts themselves: that China’s economic prosperity will inevitably bring democracy and human rights in its wake. So China has fended off the United States as it continues to deny religious freedom to the Falun Gong or proceeds with its long-established ritual of acquiring a stockpile of arrested dissidents or "spies" from which to release a few whenever a high American official is about to visit.


[1] Lloyd Richardson, Now, Play the India Card


[2] See, for example, A.D. McLennan, “Balance, Not Containment: A Geopolitical Take from Canberra,” National Interest (Fall 1997); and Gerald Segal, “‘Asianism’ and Asian Security,” National Interest (Winter 1995–96).


[3] Documents 14-15, 30-32, Memorandum for RADM Daniel J. Murphy, Dr. Kissinger's Reports of Conversations in New Delhi, July 7, 1971, Top Secret/Sensitive/Eyes Only, 4 pp. Source: Nixon Presidential Materials Project (NPMP), National Security Council Files, Haig Chron, Box 983. and Memcon, Dr. Sarabhai, Dr. Haksar, Dr. Kissinger, Mr. Winston Lord, July 7, 1971, (1:10 - 2:50 p.m.), Secret/Sensitive, 4pp. Source: NPMP, NSC Files, Pres/HAK Memcons, Box 1025

[4] Japan and India – Dangerous democracies

[5] Paul Bracken, Fire in the East: The Rise of Asian Military Power and the Second Nuclear Age (HarperCollins, 1999).