India and China's Rapprochement Extends Only Skin Deep

Apr 27, 2018 | 04:34 GMT

In this photo, a map shows the positions of China and India on the globe.

Because of other pressing priorities, India and China are backing off confrontation with each other, for now.

(KENT WEAKLEY/Shutterstock)


  • The world's two most populous countries will continue their attempts to reset their diplomatic ties after last year's Doklam standoff, as India's prime minister focuses on upcoming elections and China's president presents a unified Sino-Indian front in the face of U.S. protectionism.
  • As part of the reset, the two countries will work to reduce the level of tension from extreme to manageable.
  • India and China's actions will lower the likelihood of a Sino-Indian confrontation in the short term, but the structural factors in the relationship suggest that the rivalry will intensify in the long run.

"The Chinese dragon and Indian elephant must not fight each other but dance with each other." The words -- uttered last month by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi -- point to an attempt by the world's two most populous countries to reduce their high tensions in the Himalayas less than a year after they nearly came to blows in the Doklam standoff. Amid the prospects of a "reset" in ties, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay Chinese President Xi Jinping an informal, two-day visit starting April 27 in Wuhan. During the meeting, which marks the latest in a series of high-level exchanges between Indian and Chinese officials, the leaders aim to lay the groundwork for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit scheduled for June in Qingdao. From a broader perspective, however, the irreconcilable differences in the strategic objectives of the nuclear rivals suggest that their emerging bonhomie won't mask...

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