Guidance

For China-India Ties, the Status Quo Will Do

Oct 11, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Indian students form the Chinese character for the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Chennai on Oct. 10, 2019, ahead of a summit between Xi and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.

Indian students form the Chinese character for the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Chennai on Oct. 10, 2019, ahead of a summit between Xi and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. The two leaders will look to keep their disputes off the front burner.

(ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

For two of Asia's most enduring military rivals, the search for harmony is taking center stage in a relationship rooted in decades of mistrust. Chinese President Xi Jinping was set to arrive in India on Oct. 11 for an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mamallapuram. Xi hosted Modi last year after bilateral ties deteriorated during the 2017 Doklam standoff, in which thousands of Indian and Chinese troops nearly came to blows. For Xi, a preoccupation with U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war as part of Beijing's broader strategic competition with Washington explains why he wants calm with neighbors like New Delhi. And for Modi, a desire to avoid confrontation with China -- the superior military and economic power -- explains why he wishes to sustain high-level dialogue with Xi. Ultimately, however, any dialogue will strive purely to manage tensions, which will only grow in the long run...

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