What lies across the Himalayas? (2)

Both India and China value their ties with the United States more than with each other.

Containment strategies will begin to yield diminishing returns

For the foreseeable future, both India and China would avoid entangling alliances to maximize their options. India will neither join the United States to contain China nor align with Beijing (or Moscow) against Washington. Both India and China value their ties with the United States more than with each other. New Delhi also sees some degree of US-China competition in its interest because it makes India the object of courtship by both the United States and China. Better Sino-Indian atmospherics can in no way challenge US predominance. The future of the Asian security environment depends a great deal on how the United States manages the rise of China and how China, in turn, manages the rise of India.

The five-decades-long history of China’s India policy, however, does not give one much cause for optimism. Improvement in China-India relations over the long term will also depend upon Beijing’s assessment of India’s evolving political cohesion, economic growth, and military potential. In fact, China’s behavior towards India is not much different from that of the U.S. behavior toward China for the simple reason that China is a status-quoist power with respect to India while the United States is a status-quoist power with regards to China.

The existence of two economically powerful nations could create new tensions, as they both strive to stamp their authority on the same region. It is possible that economically prosperous and militarily confident China and India might come to terms with each other eventually as their mutual containment policies start yielding diminishing returns. [Mohan Malik/APCSS]

And they have their own Achilles’ heels

As it is, China’s excessive authoritarianism and obsession with state power and control, along with its controlled media, stifles settlement of contentious issues. Left to simmer unabated, these unresolved problems invite reactions that include widespread economic failure, rioting and other expressions of civil discord that have become increasingly common.

Beijing has awakened a sleeping dragon and harnessed it to boost China’s economy. Unless the political aspirations of this fire-breathing beast are fulfilled, it threatens to rise up and consume the Communist Party leadership to end its grip on power.

As for India, the tendency of its economy to lag behind is not due to its vibrant democracy. Instead, India suffers from too little economic liberalism and too many government interventions based upon misguided socialist precepts. And curing these ills is not as difficult as making up for the democratic and judicial deficits that China suffers from.[Chris Lingle/Japan Times]

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