Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

India-China Relationship Since 1988 – Ensuring Economics trumps Politics
by Pal, Deep, M.A., The George Washington University, 2014, 66; 1586663
Abstract (Summary)

The Sino-Indian relationship marked by mutual mistrust for the last six decades has seen definitive changes since the late 1980s. Though considerable issues remain unresolved, the two have begun establishing mechanisms to establish a certain level of trust that began with the visit of Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to Beijing in 1988. The paper analyzes recent literature on this relationship and finds them predicting two outcomes primarily - either one where India admits Chinese supremacy and kowtows to it, or one that foresees increased clashes between the two. Neither outcome takes into account the complex association that the two nations are building guided by a series of frameworks, mechanisms and agreements. This paper posits that in the evolutionary arc of interstate relations, Sino-Indian relations have not reached a point where only one of the two options - cooperation and competition, will be chosen. This paper argues that economic interests of the two rising powers is behind the present behavior where the two are courting each other but at the same time, preparing for the other's rise. Both countries consider their economic identity to be primary and do not want to be distracted from the key national goal of economic development. They are particularly careful that their disagreements with each other do not come in the way of this goal. The paper analyzes the various frameworks and suggests that they are created with this end in consideration. Both India and China aim to continue collaboration in economic matters bilaterally or in international issues of mutual interest even when they don't see eye to eye on disputes left over from history. It is likely that competition will at times get the better of cooperation, driven by factors like strategic influence in the neighborhood, finding newer providers of energy as well as markets for their goods and services. But periodic flare-ups notwithstanding, in the absence of serious provocations, the two countries will avoid clashes that can escalate. The paper also analyzes certain black-swan events that might disturb the balancing act. Incidents like the death of the Dalai Lama creating a vacuum within the Tibetan leadership is one such scenario; a terrorist attack on India planned and executed form Pakistan like the one in Mumbai in 2008 is another. However, the presence of multiple bilateral platforms will continue to automatically insulate alternate channels of communication even in these situations. In conclusion, the paper suggests that as they grow, India and China will continue to engage each other at several levels, competing and cooperation, deterring and reassuring each other at once.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ollapally, Deepa, Sutter, Robert
School: The George Washington University
Department: International Affairs
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian History, Asian Studies, International Relations, South Asian Studies
Keywords: Agreement, Arunachal Pradesh, Border, China, India, Tibet
Publication Number: 1586663
ISBN: 978-1-321-68757-6
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