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

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 '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 New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    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 Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    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 Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.