News / Asia

    Experts: China-India Relationship Will Need More Than Economic Bliss

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, In this photograph received from the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and taken on July 14, 2014,
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, In this photograph received from the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and taken on July 14, 2014,

    The recent meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil pointed to promising signs in bilateral relations. 

    The two countries appeared ready to move beyond border issues to create positive momentum in a more important arena – economic cooperation. But analysts interviewed by VOA suggest future relations between the two neighbors will depend on more than economic bliss.

    A key sign of the desire for closer ties coming out of Fortaleza was Xi’s invitation for Modi to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in China in November. While membership is voted on by the entire APEC group, Xi's invitation is seen a courting India on a global scale. Xi has already accepted an invitation from Modi to travel to India in September.

    Border issue

    The border issue, over which China and India fought a brief war in 1962, still erupts in occassional  border skirmishes, and is still an important issue to resolve -- especially for India. At the Fortaleza meeting, Modi said negotiating an agreement on their border differences would set an example for the world on conflict resolution. 

    Xi, however, was more intent on sending another message.

    “China and India are long-lasting strategic and cooperative partners, rather than rivals,” Xi said, according to Xinhua. As the two largest nations in the world, he argued China and India could have more influence combined than they currently have separately. 

    “If the two countries speak in one voice, the whole world will attentively listen,” the Chinese leader was quoted.

    Financial cooperation

    With the United States standing as the protector of much of East Asia in China’s disputes in the South China Sea, having India as a partner would give China some balance. In terms of specifics, however, the focus remains largely on economic cooperation.

    “The Chinese government [has] openly said that the China-India relationship in the 21st century would be the most vibrant, the relationship with the biggest potential,” said Haiyan Wang, managing partner of the China India Institute.

    China overtook the United States to become India’s largest trading partner this year, according to a study by the PHD Chamber of Commerce, an Indian trade group in New Delhi.

    “The China dream and the India dream are essentially in some way a common dream, to become richer, more prosperous,” said Wang. “[The] common pursuit of a common dream requires a peaceful coexistence and becoming a lot more pragmatic in finding ways to cooperate rather than just focus on the rivalry.”

    If the issue is economics, then one obstacle frequently cited by analysts is the perception that India’s trade deficit with China is too high. 

    However, Anil Gupta, professor at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, believes this isn’t the case.

    “It’s not high because ultimately you cannot expect trade to be balanced with every country,” said Gupta.

    India’s trade deficit with China was $31 billion in 2013, which constituted only 20 percent of India’s total trade deficit.

    “If India is concerned about its trade deficit, which it must be, the problem isn’t China,” Gupta said.

    While the Indian government would like to see an increase in Chinese investments, some analysts argue that that China should look toward the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for trade and investment opportunities as opposed to the Indian market.

    Forging trust

    But Girija Pande, of Apex Avalon Consulting, a consulting firm that looks at business in Asia Pacific markets, believes that India’s market is more attractive because of its size compared to ASEAN markets.

    “They [China] thought they would go into Vietnam or Thailand or Indonesia or many of the ASEAN countries. Now all of them are smaller markets and they are also export markets so they don’t have a home market which is large enough,” Pande said.

    Wang, from the China India Institute, believes that the more fundamental issue of trust and knowledge deficit between China and India must be overcome in order for economic relations to grow.

    Kerry Brown, a Professor of Chinese Politics at the University of Sydney, agrees. Writing recently in The Diplomat, Brown said the solution to better relations requires more than just increasing trade.

    They often act like they don’t really understand the relevance they have for each other beyond narrow border issues, nor do they speak a common geopolitical language,” said Brown. “For two countries that pride themselves on being ancient civilizations … these days China and India look like fumbling, nervous youngsters meeting on a first date.”

    The interesting question, according to Brown, is how the world is going to respond to their warming relationship – and whether it’s going to last.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    July 25, 2014 10:50 AM
    Ever since the PRC invaded & occupied Tibet, the border with India has been tense and relations w/ China (at least since 1962) have been fraught w/ problems. China's "peaceful rise" will bring it in conflict w/ rising India (as well as other Asian neighbors). India and Tibet have never had a conflict. A free & independent Tibet will stabilize the border w/ India and improve relations between the two Asian giants.
    In Response

    by: Lt.Col.(Retd) JC JOSHI from: BANGALORE
    July 31, 2014 12:56 AM
    Thank you.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.