This briefing is the third instalment from our Fellows program and discusses India's is increasing economic dependence upon China, and how this dependence limits India’s ability to act as a ‘balancer’ against China.
Countries like Japan, Australia and the United States hope that India will play a central role in balancing – and perhaps challenging – China’s role in the Indo-Pacific. This hope rests on assumptions about India’s ambitions to be a great power, the expansion and extension of its economic interests, and perceptions of its rivalry with China.
- India’s contested relationship with China is complicated by the shape of their bilateral economic relations
- India is increasingly economically dependent upon China, due to structural weaknesses, in several key sectors
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing – often considered an Indian success story – depends on imported precursors from China, which has been declared a national security concern
- Chinese firms have also taken large positions in the Indian telecommunications market, raising questions of data security and critical infrastructure
- This economic dependence limits India’s ability to act as a ‘balancer’ against China, as some external observers hope.