#India & China, #2017/2016, #February 2017

An assertive China presents Prime Minister Modi with his most intractable foreign policy challenge, but there are indications that Beijing may be getting a little edgy.

China considered itself to be a rival of the US. In its world view, India was a regional player, at best the first among equals in South Asia.

David vs Goliath

In absolute terms, there is some merit in this argument. China’s $11.4-trillion economy, the world’s second largest, is five times India’s, which is world’s sixth largest, with a GDP of $2.3 trillion in 2016.

Last year, China’s per capita income, at $8,260, was five times the comparable figure of $1,718 for India. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of goods, its biggest trading nation and its military budget, at $131 billion is more than three times larger than India’s annual defence spending of $40 billion.

#2017/2016, #Yearend 2016, #World View

The underlying mood may be tetchy, but overall India-China relations covered some important ground in 2016.

In 2016, particularly following the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) plenary in Seoul in June, India-China relations became decidedly testy. Several reasons were attributed to this and it is possible all of them had a bearing on the outcome. Critics of the Indian government’s attempt to gain acceptance as a full member of the NSG blamed that motivation. They argued the bid was premature and grossly underestimated the Chinese ability to veto India’s entry, or Beijing’s ability to stand up to a request from Washington DC.