there are.....more fundamental reasons behind the recent chill in Sino-Indian relations. Apparently, the strategic consequences of India's economic resurgence coupled with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's offer in March 2005 to "help make India a major world power in the 21st century" have greatly bothered the Chinese. This offer, and the long-term India-U.S. defense cooperation framework and the July 2005 U.S.-India nuclear energy deal that followed soon after, have been compared by Chinese strategic analysts to "the strategic tilt" toward China executed by former U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1971 to contain the common Soviet threat. Claiming that these developments have "destabilizing" and "negative implications" for their country's future, China's India-watchers have started warning their government that Beijing "should not take India lightly any longer."
Chinese leaders were led to believe that China's growing economic and military might would eventually enable Beijing to re-establish the Sino-centric hierarchy of Asia's past as the U.S. saps its energies in fighting small wars in the Islamic world, Japan shrinks economically and demographically while India remains subdued by virtue of Beijing's "special relationships" with its South Asian neighbors. However, a number of "negative developments," from Beijing's perspective, since early 2005 -- the Indian and Japanese bids for permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council, the formation of the East Asia Summit that includes India, Australia and New Zealand, the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, India's ability to sustain a high economic growth rate of eight to nine percent and the strategic implications of India's "Look East" policy -- have apparently upset Chinese calculations.
Therefore, after a hiatus of a few years, Chinese media commentaries have resumed their criticism of Washington's "hegemonic ideas" and for drawing "India in as a tool for its global strategic pattern." Some Chinese analysts express serious reservations about U.S. efforts to draw "India in as a tool for its global strategic pattern," arguing that "India's DNA doesn't allow itself to become an ally subordinate to the U.S., like Japan or Britain." Nonetheless, most see India as a "future strategic competitor" that would be an active member of an anti-China grouping due to the structural power shifts in the international system and advocate putting together a comprehensive "contain India" strategy based on both economic tools (aid, trade, infrastructural development) and enhanced military cooperation with "pro-China" countries.
The Chinese still have a "Middle Kingdom" mentality which regards the rest of the world as stage props for its own expansion into the pre-eminent world power. And these props can be obstacles to that expansion:
The Chinese are concerned that the U.S.-India nuclear deal and related agreements would bring about a major shift in the power balance in South Asia that is currently tilted in China's favor. The recent strengthening of China's strategic presence in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and overtures to the Maldives should, therefore, be seen against this backdrop. Despite protestations to the contrary from India and the United States that New Delhi is unwilling and unlikely to play the role of a closely aligned U.S. surrogate such as Japan or Britain, China's Asia strategy is based upon the premise that maritime powers such as the U.S., Japan, Australia, and India would eventually form an informal quadrilateral alliance to countervail continental China.
But despite these Risk Game geopolitics, the major issue between China and India is Tibet. Tibet is still resisting being Sinicized and Hu, the president, was hand-picked by Deng largely on the merits of Hu's performance in crushing the Tibetan revolt in the '80s.
The PINR briefs are occasional reminders that the world does not revolve around inside-the-DC-Beltway geopolitics, and that the US may be being distracted from some paramount issues by its concentration on the Middle East.