Cooperation or Competition? China and India in Central Asia
It would be premature to describe China and India as having close, direct bilateral contacts in Central Asia. The region does not yet figure prominently in their relationship. But it is clear that the two nations will have increasingly frequent contacts there in the future and that Central Asia will be moving higher up the agendas of both countries’ policymakers. There is a common but unhelpful tendency in discussions of the Sino-Indian relationship in Central Asia to see it as competitive. China and India could indeed be competitors in Central Asia, but they could also be cooperative partners. To define their relationship in Central Asia solely as one between competitors and to look at it and plan for it from the angle of competition alone would be one-sided and unidimensional. The reverse is also true: if we define their relations as purely cooperative, seeking to understand them only from the perspective of cooperation, then that too would be neither objective nor realistic. Although China and India’s common, or similar, interests in Central Asia provide a basis for possible cooperation between the two nations in the region, there also exist factors that drive them to compete with each other. The key to this issue lies in the policy choices made by the two nations, and the way ahead will be determined by whether they choose to cooperate or to compete.
KeywordsMilitary Base Energy Cooperation Security Interest Bilateral Cooperation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.M. Singh Roy, “India’s Interest in Central Asia”, Strategic Analysis, vol. 24, no. 12 (2001).Google Scholar
- 3.R. Sikri, “Behind Oil and Gas: India’s Interests in Central Asia”, June 29, 2007, <http://opinionasia.com/IndiasInterestsinCentralAsia> (accessed February 26, 2010).Google Scholar
- 4.A. Patnaik, “Central Asia’s Security: The Asian Dimension” in R.R. Sharma (ed.), India and Emerging Asia (New Delhi: Sage, 2005), p. 221.Google Scholar
- 5.P. Frost, “Great Decision Analysis: India in Central Asia”, FPA Features, May 29, 2008. <http://www.fpa.org/topics_info2414/topics_info_show.htm?doc_id=687617> (accessed February 27, 2010).Google Scholar
- 6.T. Firdous, “India and Central Asia: Vanishing Distances”, <http://www.centralasia-southcaucasus.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=46> (accessed February 27, 2010).Google Scholar
- 9.G. Sachdeva, “India’s Attitude towards China’s Growing Influence in Central Asia”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 3 (2006), p. 34.Google Scholar
- 11.E. Wishnick, Russia, China and the United States in Central Asia: Prospects for Great Power Competition in the Shadow of the Georgian Crisis (Strategic Studies Institute, February 2009), p. 27.Google Scholar
- 12.M. Hanif, Indian Involvement in Afghanistan: Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block to Regional Hegemony? (Hamburg, GIGA working papers, April 2009), p. 22.Google Scholar