New concerns, more cooperation? How non-traditional security issues affect Sino-Indian relations

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Author: Sebastian Biba
Date: Sept. 2016
From: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs(Vol. 45, Issue 3)
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd. (UK)
Document Type: Report
Length: 8,948 words
Lexile Measure: 1510L

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China and India are not just the world's two most populous countries--since the turn of the millennium, they have also become two juggernauts driving much of the economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Many believe the two countries are poised to become two of the leading players in the international arena in the future, possibly even doing away with Western predominance. However, while the two neighbours share multiple identities as great civilisations, developing countries, emerging economies, rising powers, and independent poles in a multipolar world, China and India have not been on particularly good terms with each other during most of the period since India's independence from the British Empire in 1947 and the foundation of the People's Republic of China two years later. In fact, after a brief phase of "purported friendship and ideological congruence around anti-imperialist foreign policy objectives" (Malone and Mukherjee 2010: 138) in the early 1950s, the relationship deteriorated sharply, resulting in a short border war in 1962. Ever since then, bilateral relations have been marked by uncertainty and occasional antagonism. During the Cold War, India aligned itself more closely with the Soviet Union, which itself had split from China within the international communist movement. Meanwhile, China developed ever-closer ties with Pakistan, the other half of the former British Raj, against which India has fought several wars. A rapprochement between China and India beginning during the Deng Xiaoping era from 1978 remained uneasy, due, for instance, to further border skirmishes in the 1980s and Indian nuclear tests in 1998. Today, and certainly as a result of past experience, the two countries still face unresolved territorial disputes, suspicions over each other's military build-up and strategic intent, and growing rivalries with regard to regional influence and great-power relations. These difficulties are the most well-known aspect of Sino-Indian relations; they are rooted in so-called "traditional security" (TS) problems, consisting primarily of interstate military threats.

However, there is another aspect of the Sino-Indian security relationship, one that is less known but not necessarily less important, and that revolves around the notion of "non-traditional security" (NTS). In contrast to TS concerns, NTS problems are no longer military in nature and comprise a set of very diverse issue areas ranging, for example, from water and climate change to energy and finance to piracy and terrorism. This volume of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs explores some of those NTS issues that have more recently become increasingly significant in and for Sino-Indian relations. The overarching question driving the entire volume is rather straightforward: Do the rather new NTS issues echo the overall relatively grim picture and maybe even aggravate the tensions prevalent in the TS context of Sino-Indian relations, or do they instead open up avenues for enhanced cooperation between the two sides--cooperation which might even help alleviate some of the protracted TS problems and thus improve overall relations? In pursuing this question, this volume goes beyond purely bilateral dynamics. Much of the potential for conflict or cooperation between China and India in...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A486643164