Jul 5, 2023, 5:09pm EDT
securitySouth Asia

What analysts are saying about growing tensions between India and China

Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

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The News

In remarks that were seen as targeting China, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that some neighboring countries were using “cross-border terrorism as an instrument” to carry out their policies.

His address at the opening of the 23rd Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) — which includes member states like China, Pakistan, and Russia — were seen as the latest example of growing divisions between the two most populous countries in the world.  

Analysts said his comments also raised questions about New Delhi’s role in the Indo-Pacific, and whether the country is pursuing a serious partnership with the U.S.

We’ve rounded up experts’ interpretations of what this means.

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  • With the world’s second-largest military, “India is uniquely positioned to counterbalance China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific,” writes Arzan Tarapore, a South Asia research scholar at Stanford –– but the country would not rush to Washington’s side in the event of a security crisis with Beijing, unless its own interests were on the line. —- Foreign Affairs
  • As a nuclear weapon state, a significant economy, “and, above all, democracy,” India must stand up to China while fostering its relationship with the U.S., Arun Prakash, a retired Indian naval chief writes. “Not only should we expect the US to adopt a ‘transactional’ approach and strike deals that buttress its interests, but we must reciprocate by seeking to advance our own national interests at every step.” — The Indian Express
  • India expert Pratap Bhanu Mehta said that the U.S. will increasingly need India “as its own hegemony erodes.” “The new axis of autocracies includes not only China, Russia, and Iran, but also Saudi Arabia and even Turkey.” — Project Syndicate