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Whether and how India and China manage their futures as rising powers will critically shape international relations in the twenty-first century. These two countries demonstrate sharp contrasts in terms of their political systems, economic models, and social structures, despite their common aspirations for greater stature on the world stage. They have also maintained a very complex relationship that is weighed down by history but also offers promising opportunities in an era of globalization. While the implications for the rise of China have been widely debated, scant scholarly attention has been devoted to the rise of India or to how these two Asian great powers perceive each other’s ascendancy. This article examines the key factors influencing India-China relations, including territorial disputes, mutual threat perception and alignment patterns, and economic partnership and competition. It categorizes Indian elites’ perspectives on the rise of China in three paradigms: geopolitical, geoeconomic, and geocivilizational. It ends with a discussion of the possible scenarios of future India-China relations.


Copyright © 2011, Lynne Rienner Publishers. This article first appeared in Asian Perspective: 35:3 (2011), 437-469.

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Asian Perspective

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