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Sino-Indian ties have gone into limbo: Analysts

September 11, 2010

September 9, 2010

New Delhi, Sep. 9 (ANI) -- Analysts say the
relationship between India and China has always
been a rocky one with little hope of any
quick-fix solution to their long simmering
tensions, which have flared up, in the recent
past with China's support for India's arch-enemy Pakistan.

Diplomatic ties between both nations have become
increasingly fraught over an unsettled border,
the disputed Kashmir region and the competing
global aspirations of the world's most populous nations.

In rare public criticism of his giant neighbour,
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that China
was seeking to expand its influence in South Asia at India's expense.

Dr. Singh's comments followed repeated diplomatic sparring between the two.

Asian powers in the last two years, reflecting
growing friction over their disputed borders and
roles as emerging global powers despite bilateral
trade that has grown 30-fold since 2000.

China's support for India's arch-enemy Pakistan,
which backs separatists in disputed Kashmir and
also claims the region in full, has not helped to defuse tensions.

Professor Alka Acharya, a Sinologist, said
China's increased closeness with Pakistan in
recent years has definitely irked India.

"The whole relationship seems to have gone in a
limbo. The pace with which we were hoping for
some developments in the border in terms of the
negotiations leading to some kind of compromise
and solution seems to have been stuck," said Alka
Acharya, Professor of Chinese studies in New Delhi.

"The general perception is that Chinese are now
taking a harder position on certain issues on
which they had not taken similar positions
before. China's relationship with Pakistan in
particular is beginning to now affect Indian interests," she added.

While trade has grown 30-fold since 2000, the
tension highlights how economic ties alone may
not be enough to resolve the two countries growing friction.

Distrust between the China and India economic
powerhouses dates back to a 1962 border war.

China defeated India in the 1962 conflict, but
they still spar over their disputed 3,500 km
(2,170 mile) Himalayan border and the presence of
exiled Tibetan separatist leader, the Dalai Lama, in India.

"We have had nearly five to seven years in which
both the countries have actually explored greater
understanding at the global level, at the
regional level and you have a relationship which
is increasing in intensity in level of exchanges.
So I would say that it's really the persistence
of some old issues," said Acharya.

Media reports say China has mounted tension
between the two countries by installing missiles
at its border with India and further denying visa
to an Indian army top commander in restive Kashmir.

Experts say that China has also been trying to
surround Indian Territory by establishing 'string
of pearls', a euphemism for its base camps in
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Indian Ocean.

"I think on the politico-strategic front there
are serious difficulties. There are, there is
significant suspicion and doubts about each
other's ambition, each other's objectives, so I
kind of fail to see a kind of a strategic
dialogue that can take place between India and
China," said Rajeswari Rajagopalan, a senior
fellow at the think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

"However what we need to do is, in order to avoid
certain pitfalls on the border or on other places
maybe tomorrow it can happen in Indian Ocean
region it needn't happen on the border but the
two ships sailing in the Indian Ocean region they
could conflict not on the border but in the
Indian Ocean region given the kind of increasing
activities by China in the region and they could
be potential problems on the sea itself," she added.

The strategy has also raised Indian fears of
encirclement and the worry that Beijing wants to
pin down India within South Asia, crushing its
global aspirations. Some Indian officials,
however, have said some of those fears of
expanded Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean are overblown.

"A situation where we have good economic
relationship, trade with China is continuously
increasing day by day, year by year, but there is
some problem like China's closeness with Pakistan
always affects. It's always a big issue in India.

And may be with respect to Kashmir, their (China)
support in the UN (United Nations) for Pakistan,"
said Mitesh Saini, a student of business studies. (ANI)
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