It is a cliché in geopolitics that neighbouring countries cannot be friends. Relations between India and China over millennia have been far too complex to fit into any super cliché. Perceptions have swung wildly from centuries of high regard for each other’s culture, and cordial maritime trade, to the recent disdain fuelled by jingoism on both sides. Border disputes over the years have exacerbated the fault lines. Moreover, India and China often find themselves on different sides of global alliances, accentuating suspicions. Finally, in recent decades, china’s economy has leapfrogged far ahead of India, leading to feelings of resentment in India and derision in china.
This is the so-called Asian century. India and China need to find common ground if they are to lead the world rather than remain embroiled in conflict. Can we go back to history, when relations were not as fraught, and find inspiration to achieve a joint destiny?
Our speaker is a scholar of India's foreign policy and has just published India versus china: why they are not friends (2021). He will provide a perspective on how we arrived here and ideas on how India and China can together build a future that reflects their combined stature.