India should drop philosophy of enmity with neighbours: Chinese Global Times

India should drop philosophy of enmity with neighbours: Chinese Global Times
BEIJING - The China-India Doklam standoff that began on June 18 and ended on August 28 was precipitated by increasingly strained bilateral ties in recent years. The standoff led to introspection into ways of developing Beijing-New Delhi relations, which should be viewed in terms of history and the future.

China and India developed independently of each other in history. Historically China had been less associated with India than with Central Asia or Europe in terms of politics and security. The wars between the Han people and the Huns, the Turks and the Mongolians in ancient times affected Central Asia and even Europe but had limited influence on China's southern neighbor. 

The border disputes between China and India derive mainly from British India 's unilateral claims to the natural border. The controversy over South Tibet was sparked before the People's Republic of China was established in 1949. The then Chinese government sent Luo Jialun, the first Ambassador of the Republic of China to India , to hold talks with the Indian government over the dispute. A panacea is not readily available because disputed areas along the China-India border have roots in history.

Peace is paramount for the growth of China-India relations, despite the border war in 1962 and standoffs that came close to military clashes in 1987 and 2017. The two countries have reached a consensus that military approach is not the best option for tackling territorial disputes and goes against mutual interests.

However, a failure to address sensitive issues may lead to military clashes or even wars. Both China and India didn't intend to resolve territorial disputes through military means, but border clashes still occurred in 1962, partly due to the two states laying less emphasis on the significance of self-control and strategic dialogues. 

In fact, military conflict often stems from over-confidence that there is little likelihood of a war. Prior to the two World Wars, the two sides miscalculated that the other would surrender without a fight, but the results were different. During the Cold War, both the US and the Soviet Union were always prepared for military strikes, but an actual war wasn't triggered.

We should also understand China-India ties from the theoretical perspective, at least the theories of geopolitics, liberal institutionalism and globalization, as many Chinese and Indian public figures are prone to swing between extreme idealism and pessimism because of their lack of knowledge of international relations. 

Geopolitical theory has a long history in both China and India . India 's Mandala doctrine stresses "Your neighbor is your natural enemy and the neighbor's neighbor is your friend." The strategic rapport between India and Japan is the latest example. 

China also has its own version of geopolitical theory, namely, keeping friendly relations with distant states and staying alert of those nearby. China-India ties are intertwined in strategic competition due to geographic factor and national strength. 

However, geopolitical theory fails to fully explain international relations as the world is rapidly changing. This gives rise to liberal institutionalism and globalization theories to better understand China-India ties. Liberal institutionalism highlights how global mechanism restrains and regulates member states involved. In other words, China and India should be restricted by the global system and international law in their diplomacy.

The globalization theory underlines economic interdependence among countries and shows how the globalized community promotes political and security cooperation. China and India have their own demands from each other and share more interests in the long run. This lays the foundation for maintaining peace and cooperation.

We should look into the future of China-India ties. Some thorny issues impeding bilateral ties in recent years have been partly attributed to the two countries' urgent need to grab strategic space. As the two are on the rise and begin to exhibit ambitions to become great powers, they have ignored the complexities and uncertainties of national development and change in the global landscape. 

China and India need to appropriately handle their domestic and foreign affairs and work to exercise restraint right now. They should understand that coordination and competition will coexist for a long time. That is to say, no plan is at hand to fix problems facing the two states once and for all.

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