India and China share a relationship, which has continued since time immemorial. Our two nations were even connected by the Silk Road. Lately, however, the media has presented this relationship as quite rocky. What we Indians must understand is that quite like India, even Chinese history was imperialistic and tyrannical in nature. The Indians have been quite wary of the Red Dragon’s rise, economic and military in nature.
Probably the first major conflict was the Sino-Indian war of 1962 under Nehru. It was on the backdrop of Nehru’s Panchsheel agreement, to ensure safety from border disputes. However, Nehru’s approach towards boundary demarcation was quite nonchalant and India’s support for Tibet’s independence cost us dearly. After a comprehensive defeat, the slogan of “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” was lost forever. Quite a few border skirmishes followed and continue even today. China is widely perceived as Asia’a big bully as, by the power of its might, it deters other countries to explore oil in the South China Sea (international waters). Even China and Japan have major disputes mostly due to bad blood. Owing to all this, India has seriously considered increasing its military might and army deployment on the LAC (Line of Actual Control). However, our indigenous weapons development is negligible and our economy is subdued due to vast trade imbalances with China. India doesn’t possess enough militaristic superiority to argue its position in terms of Aksai Chin. China, however, openly claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet. For India, it is important that status-quo is maintained. We cannot sustain an arms race with China and nor should we engage in one. Why?
Most people in China are not even aware about a Sino-Indian conflict or about tense border relations. Even popular Chinese dailies have spoken against a possible Indo-China conflict. An Indo-China conflict is highly unlikely as it may have the potential to start a World War and due to a significant military arsenal of both countries. However, what concerns Indians the most is the friendly relations of China and Pakistan. It is of course a worry that if Pakistan finds a trade and military ally in China, it would ring bells in India. China has recently helped Pakistan build infrastructure around 10km from the LoC. Also, China has a good influence on our neighbours like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India must therefore tread carefully. But by creating a monster out of China, we are depriving ourselves an economic opportunity. Transfer of technology from China and greater trade relations are to India’s advantage as China has been a contender for the top spot in world politics for quite some time, currently acquired by the US which is on a shaky ground. We would do ourselves a favour by engaging in trade with China.