China rise: which outcomes?
Arrábida Monastery, 21, 22 June
Changing cross-Himalayan dynamics: China's rise reflected in India's foreign policy
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Having over immemorial times played the role of a buffer and separator between two distinct regional spaces and civilizations, the Himalayan mountain chain is currently witnessing a new engagement across its peaks. This paper seeks to identify these new points of contacts and explore how China’s rise, especially in Asia, is impacting upon India and its foreign policy.
Following a brief historical interlude, it will first underline the booming relations between both countries in a variety of areas, from more regular bilateral official visits, booming bilateral trade, greater diplomatic coordination in international institutional fora and increasing civil society exchanges. In this sense, both countries are moving from coexistence to cohabitation, and therefore China has become less of a taboo and more of a stable, more global (extra-regional) and insurmountable reference on India’s strategic horizon.
This perceptional change will, then, be used as a guiding element for a more thorough identification and analysis of specific regional and sector-wise dimensions in which India’s foreign policy is beginning to respond to China’s rise: the new policy towards the regional complex of South Asia, the race for sources of energy and for privileged partnerships and strategic axis in the Southern hemisphere, as well as the revival of Nehru’s Look East policy and, perhaps most importantly, a timid strategic shift towards the United States and an embryonic concert of democracies.
Finally, taking India’s responsiveness to China’s global tilt into account, it becomes necessary to evaluate to what extent these changing cross-Himalayan dynamics will affect the stability of the international system, in general, and that of the Asian security complex, in particular. As a prospective conclusion, inviting further debate, it will be argued that New Delhi will gradually assume more assertive positions towards China’s rise, unless its perennial and basilar quest for great power status is duly accommodated, i.e. by making it comfortable with a second-rank position, under the shadow of China’s rise.