Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Divergence, Similarity and Symmetry in Sino-Indian Threat Perceptions

Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Divergence, Similarity and Symmetry in Sino-Indian Threat Perceptions

Article excerpt

China and India remain locked in a stagnant embrace when it comes to the most intractable of security dilemmas: the Sino-Indian border issue. A closer look at Chinese and Indian strategic, scientific and academic experts" security perceptions vis-a-vis one another reveals that there is much more to the Sino-Indian security dynamic than meets the eye. Chinese and Indian strategic analysts hold divergent interests when evaluating each other's military modernization, the former preoccupied with India's naval development and the latter with China's army. Technical analysts in each country share a similar level of interest in the other's aviation and aerospace programs. Scholars exhibit a strong, if not symmetrical, level of focus on the other country's nuclear strategy and status. Using this tripartite discourse as a baseline, this essay provides both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of each group's perceptions to better understand Sino-Indian security relations and to propose measures within each arena to enhance mutual understanding. It shows that the Sino-Indian security dilemma cannot be simply viewed through the prism of the border anymore.

**********

Chinese and Indian interlocutors have spent countless hours debating the border issue in the years following the Sino-Indian border conflict of 1962. The latest set of border talks between India's National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and China's State Councilor Dai Bingguo in November 2010 represented the fourteenth in a series, followed in rapid succession by Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India. (1)

Yet, both meetings resulted in tepid pronouncements of "steady progress" when it came to the border, which markedly contrast with the tit-for-tat politics of late. (2) Despite years of confidence building measures (CBMs) and agreements, China and India are currently locked in a stagnant embrace when it comes to this most intractable of security dilemmas.

There is no question that the border issue assumes both a looming and lingering presence in Sino-Indian relations. However, when analysts are divided into three groups--namely strategic, technical and academic--it becomes apparent that there is much more to the Sino-Indian security dynamic than meets the eye.

Chinese and Indian strategic analysts maintain a divergent approach, the former preoccupied with India's navy and the latter with China's army. Technical analysts in each country share a similar level of interest in the other country's aviation and aerospace programs. Experts with a more scholarly bent exhibit a strong, if not symmetrical, level of focus on the other country's nuclear strategy and status.

Using this tripartite discourse as a baseline, this essay provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of each of these groups' views to gain a better sense of the level and nature of future Sino-Indian interaction. This approach mitigates some of the generalizations and abstractions that hamper improved communication. It demonstrates that the Sino-Indian security dilemma cannot be simply viewed through the prism of the border anymore.

METHODOLOGY

The primary sources for this essay consist of Chinese and Indian journals and interviews that fall into three categories: strategic, technical and academic. While these groups may never be neatly defined or separated, they serve as the guiding framework for perceptual evaluation. Two comparable journals from China and India within each of the three categories were selected--six in total. These journals were then surveyed from January 1991 through December 2009. (3)

These materials were used to statistically account for the number of times Chinese and Indian analysts made reference to the military-related systems and training of the other (e.g., India's Su-30MKI procurement from Russia, China's M-9/M-11 cooperation with Pakistan), as well as the various concepts relating to security intentions (e. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.