Fifty years after the Sino-Indian conflict, will the “Asian Century” see a new confrontation?

International relations Conflict of laws Defence Asia

This paper argues that the India-China great power rivalry is shaping up to be the story of the first part of the twenty-first century.

Key points:

  • The fiftieth anniversary of the 1962 war comes at a time when India, now a rising power, is enhancing its hard power through military acquisitions and soft power through increased diplomatic initiatives. Naval diplomacy is being employed.
  • For India, the anniversary provides an opportune time to review the legacy of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cold War Non-Alignment policy in favour of a judicious use of realpolitik.
  • Both India and China might further spread their “Spheres of Influence” in the Indo-Pacific region with the US willing to support New Delhi as part of its own forward policy in the region.
  • As the two powers become more economically interlinked, war is increasingly likely to be viewed as a secondary or last resort option by decision-makers in both New Delhi and Beijing.
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