China, India and the Confrontation Neither Side Wants

Underlying forces are pushing the two sides into a self-perpetuating cycle of zero-sum competition.

|April 27, 2018

By Phillip Orchard

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is flying to Wuhan for a weekend of soul searching with Chinese President Xi Jinping along the banks of the Yangtze. The last-minute trip is Modi’s second of three to China scheduled to take place within the span of a year. It’s also just the latest bit of high-level outreach from New Delhi to Beijing, which makes sense: Neither leader has a shortage of grievances to air with the other – and both have ample interest in preventing tit-for-tat confrontation from putting the two emerging powers on a collision course.

Over the past year, Indian and Chinese jostling for position in South Asia has picked up considerably. In July and August, Chinese and Indian forces engaged in a standoff over the disputed Doklam border region in the high Himalayas. Since then, China has continued cozying up to pro-Beijing governments in South Asian countries firmly within India’s traditional sphere of influence, from Sri Lanka to Nepal

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China, India and the Confrontation Neither Side Wants

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China, India and the Confrontation Neither Side Wants