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Articles on India after 2009
India vs China: a story of waking-up giants
Articles on India before 2009

  • (april 2009) India vs China: a story of waking-up giants. The single most important act of the Condi Rice era may have been the nuclear pact between India and the USA. It not only changed decades of hostility dating to the years when India was allied with the Soviet Union and the USA was allied with Pakistan, but it also greatly undermined China's supremacy in Asia. India has as many people as China and its economy is growing as fast as China's (and India's GDP figures are way more reliable than China's figures). India has never signed a peace treaty with China over the bitter war they fought in 1962 over a territory that is currently administered by India (nor has India ever recognized the portion of Kashmir that Pakistan ceded to China in return for military help). The world is very familiar with China's claims on Taiwan, but China has a no less stubborn and aggressive attitude towards an entire state of India that it claims its own. India has also been annoyed by China's constant presence in its sphere of influence: India, after all, does not mess with China's neighbors. The USA-India alliance has propelled India to a higher status within Asia, while at the same time reducing China's status within the continent.
    The threat to China's interests is even more direct than a vague geopolitical competition. The majority of China's trade with Africa and the Middle East (where China gets most of its natural resources and has invested massively in mining and drilling) travels through the Indian Ocean, that is mainly controlled by the navies of the USA and India. When China decided to fund a highway through Burma/Myanmar, it was meant as a shortcut to avoid going through Western-controlled areas such as Singapore and the Philippines. After the USA-India agreement, China decided to fund a highway through Pakistan that will connect Kunming (China) with the Indian Ocean bypassing not only Singapore but even the whole of India. And China had already embarked in building the port of Gawdar for Pakistan. China has studied history: Japan before World War II depended on natural resources that were controlled by the Western powers along routes controlled by Western powers. The Western powers were in a position to blackmail Japan. To this day many Japanese analysts claim that Japan was "forced" to invade Indonesia (oil) and other regions to counterbalance the Western control of Asian natural resources and routes. Today China may find itself in a similar position: a booming economy that needs to import resources along routes controlled by rival powers. When the government of Sri Lanka decided to double its efforts against the Tamil Tigers, only China and Pakistan offered weapons: Sri Lanka is a Western-leaning democracy, but it has long resented India's tacit support for the Tamil Tigers, and China probably viewed this as a chance to create a wedge in India's domination of the Indian seas.
    In november 2008 Chinese president Hu Jintao visited Latin America to increase trade with that continent. Maybe China has realized that, ironically, it's the Americas that constitute a safer source of natural resources because no country controls the Pacific Ocean the way the USA and Indian navy control the Indian Ocean.
    Now the USA has another wild card to play: Japan. Japan has been demilitarized since the end of World War II and its public opinion has little appetite for an army. However, should Japan rearm, it would represent a colossal challenge for China. As China flexes its muscles, it has to keep smiling at its neighbors for fear that Japan may eventually decide to "defend" itself. An arms race in that part of the world would probably not be in China's interests because it would tighten the triple alliance of India, Japan and China. India and Japan are Asia's oldest democracies (and for a long time were the only democracies outside the West). In 2004 India became the largest recipient of Japanese aid...
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • Articles on India before 2009
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