No. 55 – October 2015
Author: Francesco Bellomia
The rise of India and China, with their explosive economic development in recent years and the growth in their respective geopolitical ambitions, has increased the importance of bilateral relations between the two countries. The Sino-Indian relationship was characterized during the 20th century by substantial competition, motivated by the overlapping spheres of influence. First, a rivalry materialized in a border dispute (culminating in a brief war in 1962), but also in the battle to increase their very presence in Southern and Central Asia. As we will see, the other countries in the area tried to manage their relationships with the two “awkward neighbors” according to the advantages and respective interests and negotiation power. During the period of this analysis, the status of Tibet represented an important area of conflict and tension. Pakistan certainly played a prominent role as well. Its conflict with India contrasts with its excellent relationship with the Chinese. For this reason, Islamabad represents an important obstacle in the consolidation of Sino-Indian relations. This situation concerns the people of two strong and proud cultures and the friction derived is partly motivated by the perception of intentions on the other side and by reciprocal mistrust. India and China are the two most populous countries in the world and their demographic weight, together with the increasing economic power, allows them the means to define a new arrangement in international relations. If we really entered in the so-called “Asian Century”, the two reference points are India and China. Therefore, the bilateral relationship that Beijing and New Delhi are going to create, could define not only regional balance, but also global.