08 December 2008

Military Diplomacy: The Future of Sino-Indian Military Relations?

Bhartendu Kumar Singh,Military Diplomacy: The Future of Sino-Indian Military Relations? Jamestown China Brief, Vol. 8, No. 23, 8 December 2008.

Military relations between rising powers are often caught in a conflictual cycle. Yet Sino–Indian military relations is an exception in spite of wariness on both sides of the others strategic intentions. While the two states have been at odds for much of the Cold War following the Sino–Indian border war in 1962, the two sides have fashioned their bilateral relations in a commendable manner during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government. Part of the credit should go to on-going military diplomacy, engineered in stages between the two countries, which have allowed the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Indian Armed Forces to manage disputes and maintain peace along the disputed borders. The simultaneous visit by the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major, to Beijing with the Commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), General Wu Shengli, to New Delhi in the first fortnight of November 2008 reinforced the strength of this initiative in promoting Sino–Indian relations. While many more such initiatives are in the offing, it is open to question if such steps ‘alone’ will help in the settlement of the border dispute, remove the perception of China as a long-term threat among Indian defense planners and engender permanent peace between China and India. …