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Wed Feb 14, 2018, 03:29 AM

India and Chinas dangerous tug-of-war for the top of the world

NEW DELHI — If you were to draw the world’s economic center of gravity on a map, it would fall right on the border between Europe and Asia. But it is far from stationary. For 40 years, it has been following a long arc from the middle of the Atlantic, the sea world of yesterday, to the Himalayas, the land world of tomorrow. And if you thought the history of Western modernity was an extravaganza of technology and brute power, just wait for Asian modernity — technological on a vaster scale and directed by two fully modernized giants, India and China.

I recently sat down with Vijay Chauthaiwale, one of the brains behind Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new foreign policy. He now leads the foreign affairs department of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. I wanted to know what the real dangers would be of a potential clash between China and India.



There is a grand bargain to be struck between an expanding China and a retreating United States. The former will slowly move into the areas abandoned by the latter and we may well reach a kind of balance between the two. But what happens when China and India move into the same space, with all the hurried moves of rising powers?

Chauthaiwale sees himself as the grown-up in the room, trying to balance the voices of “Internet Hindus,” who are calling for a tougher Chinese policy, and the traditional Nehruvian elites, for whom India must always give way in foreign policy. Patience is a smart policy, as India’s position will only grow stronger, he told me. But China is also fast becoming the biggest question for Indian foreign policy, he agreed. The two countries seem to be entering a new Cold War, which includes an ongoing clash over the Maldives as well as a persistent dispute over a remote location in the Himalayas. This week China’s state-run Global Times threatened India with a military response should it intervene in the Maldives. The earlier confrontation in Doklam provides clues to how this should be interpreted.

SOURCE: https://www.politico.eu/blogs/the-coming-wars/2018/02/coming-wars-blog-india-and-china-asia-foreign-policy/

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