#03 event report: Mutual Suspicions: The China-India-Pakistan Triangle

November 8, 2010, Bridge Café (Wudaokou)

Speakers: Christopher K. Colley, Instructor, Renmin University, School of International Studies and 
Prof. Dr. CHENG Xiaohe 成晓河, Associate Professor, Renmin University, School of International Studies


China and India fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962 over roughly 125,000 square km of contested land. There are many reasons for the war, but perhaps the biggest three were:
1. India’s view that China was illegally building a road on Indian territory in order to better secure Tibet.
2. China’s view that India’s “Forward Policy” was eroding China’s claim in the disputed areas.
3. The failure of both sides to find a diplomatic solution. It should be noted that during this period China was willing to compromise and only take 26 percent of the contested land and that this offer was rejected by India.

The border issue has yet to be resolved and considering the new found confidence in both New Delhi and Beijing it may become even harder for future leaders to find a solution. Trade between the two is nearly 60 billion USD per year with China
importing mainly raw materials from India and India importing mostly textiles and machinery from China. There are areas of cooperation between the two especially in the area of energy exploration.

The United States could play a wild card role in this “Protracted Contest”. As China continues to rise and America sees it influence decline, America may look to India to counter balance China. There are risks involved for all parties if this is the case. India may not be interested in becoming Washington’s paw and China may see this as further proof of American Hegemony”.