Occasional PapersPublished on May 18, 2015 PDF Download
ballistic missiles,Defense,Doctrine,North Korea,Nuclear,PLA,SLBM,Submarines

The Dance of the Elephant and the Dragon: The Promise and Perils of Sino-Indian Relations

Why is it that despite sharing significant commonalities, India and China remain trapped in a relationship that projects them as inevitable rivals? This paper examines the promise of these bilateral relations and attempts to sound the death knell to the old narrative.

India and China, two of the world’s oldest civilisations, have had little historically relevant interactions with one other. Separated by the world’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas, neither of these two nations has ever displayed expansionist tendencies vis-à-vis each other.

Both nations have a history of colonialism at the hands of Western powers and are excessively protective of their sovereignty and territorial integrity. They share a common desire to strengthen their nations by enhancing their economic affluence, pursuant to which both are invested, albeit to varying degrees, in the current global economic order and reliant on lengthy sea lines of communication to ferry their goods and resources.

In contemporary times the principal security threats to both India and China emanate in entirely different theatres located in the exact opposite direction of each other. Why then is it that despite significant commonalities, relations between the two nations have been predominantly characterised by a narrative that projects both of them as inevitable strategic rivals?

This is the question that is explored in this paper; it attempts to provide answers even as it highlights
common grounds which, if pursued, can sound the death knell of such a narrative.

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