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No.7 - Sino-Indian Relations in the New Era: Current Status, Development Trend and Policy Recommendations

CIIS Time: Aug 24, 2015 Writer: Lan Jianxue Editor: Wang Qiang


Since the beginning of the 21st century, Sino-Indian relations have entered a new era of all-round development. Internal and external factors bearing on Sino-Indian relations have become increasingly complex and diverse. With the end of the Cold War setup and the emergence of economic globalization, pragmatism together with strength-based diplomacy and the notion of “national interest first” have increasingly become the guidelines of India’s foreign strategies and policies. In contrast, the influence of nonalignment and idealism on India’s foreign policy has been on the decline.

While China and India are striding forward side by side and adjusting their respective diplomatic orientations, the relationship between them has expanded both in intension and extension. And cooperation and competition are both on the rise between the two countries. The bilateral relationship has evolved into “an ever-strengthening developmental partnership amid running-in”.

In the new historical period, the strategic importance of Sino-Indian relations has grown rapidly, and a return to pragmatism and rationalism is evident in the bilateral relations. Currently, “seeking common ground” and “dissolving differences” are advancing side by side, and new ways of thinking and new initiatives on Sino-Indian relations are being proposed one after another. Moreover, new developments have occurred on the Sino-Indian border dispute, and the bilateral relationship is developing toward “dynamic engagement” with a gradual shift of policy focus to “low politics” issues.

To build up a healthy, stable and sustainable Sino-Indian relationship, the two countries need to accurately define their core national interests, link up their development strategies, and actively explore the construction of “a new model of Sino-Indian relations”. They also need to build up a multi-pillared and institutionalized network of cooperation, and effectively cultivate an objective and balanced environment of public opinion.


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