IPCS ISSUE BRIEF
NO 160 DECEMBER 2010
Negotiating a Balance
Major General Dipankar Banerjee (Retd)
Director, IPCS through the Great Silk Routes emanating from China with some branches passing through India and going to the world, enriching both countries. This was an early example of globalized commerce that benefited the entire then known world. The absence of recent contact failed to develop in India an understanding of the “Middle Kingdom”. On its part China has never quite grasped the importance of democracy, pluralism and diversity of India, which with all its imperfections, constitute the quintessence of the Indian state and its nationalism. Instead, our awareness of each other in modern times can be traced to the 19th Century, where it was coloured by colonial influences with their national interests firmly centred in European capitals. This brief interlude in history was the only period when neither India nor China was a leading nation in the world with neither in a position to shape its own destiny. Yet, it may be argued that spared outright conquest, Beijing secured its national interests somewhat better than Delhi. Many of today’s problems originate from that period, even though goodwill between both nations remained intact. Examples from India were Rabindranath Tagore and Dr Kotnis. In his highly controversial first visit to China in 1924 Tagore said at a lecture in Shanghai, “I want to win your heart, now that I am close to you, with the faith that is in me of a great future for you, and for Asia, when your country rises and gives expression to its own spirit -a future in the joy of which we shall all share.” Tagore visited China purely as a poet, yet his words set the tone and trend for India-China relations till the 1950’s. Premier Wen Jiabao hit the
Now that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India in Nov 2010 has ended, it is necessary to reflect on the nature of India-China relations and where it is headed....