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

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    First Human Head Transplant Planned for 2017

    Italian neurosurgeon, assisted by team of 100 medical staff, to perform 36-hour surgery on Russian man with debilitating muscle-wasting disease

    Biden Urges Global Focus on Cancer as a 'Constant Emergency'

    At Vatican conference on regenerative medicine, Vice president notes that cancer kills more than 3,000 people each day in US alone

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora