India Plays Hardball With China

India Plays Hardball With China

After a year of turmoil in Sino-Indian relations, India hosted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last week with a degree of fanfare. Wen's visit came at a time of newfound assertiveness in India's China policy. Having tried to brush significant divergences with Beijing under the carpet for years, New Delhi policymakers have been forced to acknowledge -- if grudgingly so -- that the relationship with China has become increasingly contentious. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested just a few weeks ago that "China would like to have a foothold in South Asia and we have to reflect on this reality. . . . It's important to be prepared." India has also adopted a harder line on Tibet in recent weeks, making it clear that it expects China to reciprocate on Jammu and Kashmir. In the past, India has respected Chinese sensitivities on Tibet and Taiwan.

Ignoring pressures from Beijing, India also decided to take part in the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo. Beijing asked several countries, including India, to boycott the ceremony or risk facing its displeasure, describing the prize as open support for criminal activities in China. India was among the 44 states that did decide to participate, while Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq were among those that did not attend. There were even rumors that Wen might cancel his India trip in response, but they proved unfounded.

India had flagged a number of concerns before the visit. The most significant involve issues impinging on India's sovereignty, such as the Chinese presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Beijing's issuance of stapled visas to Indians entering China from Jammu and Kashmir. India had also expressed its concerns about the upstream dams Beijing is building on shared rivers, like the Brahmaputra, and the trade barriers Indian companies face in China. India is keen on gaining access to Chinese markets, especially in the area of pharmaceuticals, information technology and engineering goods, sectors in which India argues its companies face non-tariff barriers in China.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.