Sino-Indian Relations in the 21st Century: Economic and Security Implications and Responses

Posted on Monday 18th August 2014

This conference hosted by the University of Birmingham took place on Thursday 10 July 2014. The conference brought together leading scholars from China, India and the UK to address the following questions: what are the key drivers of Sino-Indian relations, particularly their economic and security relations? What are the cooperative and competitive elements in their economic and security strategies towards their Asian neighbours and beyond? What kind of regional and extra-regional responses are provoked by the increasing capabilities and expanding ambitions and activities of these rising powers?

While a great deal of attention has been focused on the security competition between China, America and Japan, the rivalry between India and China has received less academic treatment in the West. Relations between India and China have been lukewarm even at the best of times ever since China absorbed Tibet (1949-1950). Their simultaneous rise in the 21st Century has been characterised by rhetorical bonhomie, booming, albeit unequal, economic exchanges and occasional cooperation in global multilateral fora on the one hand. On the other hand, economic, strategic and diplomatic rivalry is a defining feature of their relationship.

Relations between Beijing and New Delhi remain constrained by their protracted border dispute, reciprocal fears of developments on the Tibetan plateau, arms race and military build-ups, rivalry in regional and global institutions, economic competition for resources and markets as well as diplomatic struggles. These give rise to mutual fears of strategic encirclement, which are played out in their relations with the countries in their shared neighbourhood and beyond. The future of India-China relations will be as consequential to everyone as US-China or China-Japan relations.

About the Speakers

Madhu Bhalla is Professor of China Studies in the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi, India.

William A. Callahan is Professor of International Relations in the Department of International Relations, London School of Economics.

Julie Gilson is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Politics in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham.

Srikanth Kondapalli is Professor of Chinese Studies in the Centre for East Asian Studies, Department of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Adam Quinn is Senior Lecturer of International Politics in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham.

Du Youkang is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Diplomacy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Tsering Topgyal is Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham.