Global Ambitions and Decline- Emergence of the Interregional Asian Triangle and the Relegation of the US as a Hegemonic Power. The Reorientation of Europe
6. The India-China relationship 37
6. The India-China relationship 6.1. Conflict-ridden geopolitical stability or conflict-avoiding strategic partnership? If in the past the Chinese leadership, for instance, responded symmetrically to India’s fears of being contained within the geo-strategic confines of South Asia, then this would mean that each power already felt threatened by its counterpole. With tactical balance a constant focus, the strategic communities in both countries would persistently search for improvements to shift the borderline between power-restricted and power-enabled freedom in a direction that is in their own favor. For a short time, the possibility of an increasingly conflict-ridden geopolitical stability between China and India appeared to be a certainty. There were some signs that indicated it could even assume a military form. Both countervailing powers did not hesitate to form partnerships with friends: India with the United States and China with Russia.15 However, China’s strategic community did not perceive India’s apprehensions as being of any relevance for their bilateral relationship; in fact it even understood India’s ambition to become an acknowledged global player of the kind China already is. The Chinese leadership invited India to enter into a strategic partnership involving friendly competition with respect to each other’s positions, to expand bilateral trade, strike compromises in their conflicts, and initiate an interregional Asian policy that relegates the other powers (Pakistan included) to the sidelines. Such thinking was widely prevalent, even on the Indian side of the conflict, with signals accordingly being sent across the border to China. The difference between a conflict-ridden geopolitical stability...
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