Why China should be seen as a partner by India?

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Synopsis: India should acknowledge the rise of superpower China and prepare to complement its role in reviving the rule-based global order. It should start looking at China as a partner, instead of a rival.


  • Recently, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that both India and China remained committed to a multipolar world. They should also recognize that a “multipolar Asia” was one of its essential constituents.
  • India should also come out of the developing country’s mindset and make more clear choices. 
  • India’s major concerns are related to China and the new US administration looks at China as a ‘strategic competitor’ rather than a ‘strategic rival’.
  • On the security issues, India should not compromise on its strategic autonomy for the US or any other country. It should look for the options of cooperation with China also.
  • In this context, we will discuss how coping with china in the areas where India too has interest could become a win-win situation for both the Asian giants.

How effectively India utilizes its principle of Strategic autonomy?

India pursues its strategic autonomy more effectively than ever in the historical past. For example,

  • India has a “special and privileged strategic partnership” with Russia and a “comprehensive global strategic partnership” with the US.
  • However, India has been cautious in the relationship with the U.S.-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. 
  • India’s strategic autonomy is also reflected in India’s participation. It is involved in both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by china against western interests and in the US-led Quad, against China.

Why China should be seen as a partner, competitor rather than as rival?

  1. Firstly, in the financial sphere, China will soon become the world’s largest economy. For the first time, the Fortune Global 500 list contains more companies based in China, including Hong Kong, in comparison to the U.S.
  2. Secondly, Also, there is a possibility that the Chinese renminbi becomes a global reserve currency or e-yuan becomes the currency of digital payment. For example, the BRI countries are using the renminbi in financial transactions with China.
  3. Third, despite US sanctions, the EU created its own cross-border clearing mechanism for trade with China. All these developments signify the rise of China over the U.S.
  4. Fourth, Apart from this, China is now the second-biggest financial contributor to the UN. Also, it has published more high-impact research papers than the U.S.
  5. Fifth, it has also enhanced its ‘soft power’ similar to the levels achieved by the U.S.
  6. Also, China’s engagement with Eurasian landmass has made sure that the ASEAN countries will not easily move out of the BRI infrastructure, digital, finance and trade linkages.

What needs to be done?

  1. Similar to the EU, India needs to see china as a partner, competitor, and economic rival depending on the areas of interest.
  2. In this context, India needs to push the Quad members for assisting the infrastructure development of the BRI. However, it should be in line with the strategic concerns of the region.
  3. India and other Quad members can contribute to the development of scientific, technological capacity, and digital economy of BRI countries. It is more fruitful compared to developing an alternative development model.
  4. Similarly, India needs to take steps to reform the global governance to accommodate multiple views of different stakeholders. For example, with respect to digital data, India has recently expressed that there must be reciprocity in data sharing.
  5. Moreover, ASEAN countries are willing that India rejoin RCEP to balance China. Other countries are also admitting the bigger role that India can play in the near future.

Thus, as mentioned above also, India should also act as an emerging superpower. The Asian giants, India and China can have complementary roles, share prosperity and at the same time be independent of each other and of the West.

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