US India Global Review 2018

9 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW APRIL-JUNE 2018 fact that it now comes from China. For nearly a decade, India’s relations with China have steadily deteriorated. Three factors are shaping this down-turn. One is Beijing’s assertive policy on the long and disputed border with Delhi, growing regional friction arising from the competition for influence in the shared neighbour- hood of Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and the palpable sense that China is blocking India’s rise on the global stage. In contrast with the decline in mutual trust between Delhi and Beijing, India’s relations with the United States have steadily improved over the last decade. The contrast between the approaches of Washington and Beijing towards what Delhi can no longer be hidden. On the international front, Washington supports India’s claim for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council and has backed India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. China is opposed to both. On the regional front, China is unwilling to criticise let alone put pressure on Pakistan to stop sup- porting cross border terrorism in India. Washington, after decades of indulging Pakistan, has become a vocal partner for India in coun- tering violent religious extremism in Pakistan. More broadly, Delhi sees Beijing’s power projection into South Asia and the Indian Ocean as undermining its regional interests. Washington, on the other hand, is ready to support India’s case for regional leader- ship. On the bilateral front, the border between India and China has become a tense one as the Peoples’ Liberation Army takes a more aggressive approach to bor- der patrolling and makes frequent incursions into territory claimed by India. Delhi’s hopes for mitigating the tension on the border, find regional reconciliation and devel- op international cooperation have not really been met. Realists in Delhi recognise that China as the larger power may feel it is not obliged to make nice to India. After all China’s GDP today is five times larger than that of India. And its defence spending is four times bigger. The collapse of parity, which once existed between the two Asian giants, means Delhi must find external partners to bridge the widening strategic gap. With Russia drawing closer to China, Moscow no longer appears to be in a position to help Delhi balance Beijing. India therefore has had no option but to turn to the US and Japan to construct an Asian equilibrium. This does not mean, India will become a junior partner for the United States. Delhi is acutely conscious that Washington and Tokyo have their own compulsions to stay engaged with Beijing. India is also aware that both China and Russia are eager to carve out accommoda- tion of their own with America. This dynamism among the great powers is very much part of life in our multipolar world. As the weakest of the major powers, Delhi would want to stay engaged with the continental as well as maritime powers with the sole objective of improving its own weight in the world order. There is no room for sentimentalism in Delhi as India becomes a part of the new geopolitical jousting in Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific amidst China’s rise and American retrenchment. For nearly a decade, India’s relations with China have steadily deteriorated. Three factors are shaping this down-turn. One is Beijing’s assertive poli- cy on the long and dis- puted border with Delhi, growing regional friction arising from the competition for influ- ence in the shared neighbourhood of Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and the palpa- ble sense that China is blocking India’s rise on the global stage. C. Raja Mohan is director of Carnegie India. A leading analyst of India’s foreign policy, Mohan is also an expert on South Asian security, great-power relations in Asia, and arms control. He is the foreign affairs columnist for the Indian Express, and a visiting research professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He was a member of India’s National Security Advisory Board. Earlier he held the Henry Alfred Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress | Published with permission from C. Raja Mohan, director, Carnegie, India.

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