India and China Between Confrontation and Collaboration

Schmidt, J. D. (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


This contribution explores the comparative political economic relations between India and China in a critical framework focusing on bilateral, regional and strategic foreign policy ties. It discusses the intertwined geo-political and geo-economic foreign policy alignments at the global level, where both countries oppose Western dominance in climate change policy, world trade policies and to a certain extent in security and energy security matters. However, disagreement persists on unresolved problems in terms of attracting FDI while access to energy shows an asymmetric pattern of cooperation, conflict and competition. When it comes to the regional Asian setting, the policy convergence increasingly being pursued with the other BRICS countries is also embedded in a complex theatre of mixed relations and competition for influence, security and energy resources. While India may enjoy a dominant position in South Asia – albeit with varying success – China has a more complicated relationship with its Northeast Asian and Southeast Asian neighbours. Both countries have mixed relationships with Central Asia or what India regards as West Asia since Iran and Afghanistan belongs to what Delhi perceives as its interest sphere.
The energy security dimension has climbed up foreign policy agendas and is one of the most important issues in today’s global polity. This is illuminated in the last section of this contribution where the focus lies on cooperation, competition and conflict over energy between India and China. There is probably today agreement in academia and among observers that ”any study on energy can no longer be limited solely to a discussion of supply and demand in the energy world market, but must also seek to examine international energy security from geopolitical and geo-economics perspectives”. The final part of this contribution attempts to give an overview of how energy security has evolved and what are the political, economic, and also security related factors that improve or impede international energy cooperation and strategies between India and China. As a conclusion to the paper, a discussion of possible perspectives is provided by pointing to the diplomatic rifts and problems between the two countries as a way to illuminate the delicate way forward towards a more peaceful and stable long-term relationship.
Period6 Apr 2018
Event titlePower of Rules and Rule of Power: ISA's 59th Annual Convention
Event typeConference
Conference number59
LocationSan Francisco, United States, California
Degree of RecognitionInternational