Strategic and Economic Balancing Act Awaits Modi in China ; Both Countries' Leaders Hope to Expand Business and Cultural Relations

By Ellen Barry; Chris Buckley | International New York Times, May 14, 2015 | Go to article overview

Strategic and Economic Balancing Act Awaits Modi in China ; Both Countries' Leaders Hope to Expand Business and Cultural Relations


Ellen Barry; Chris Buckley, International New York Times


The verbal sniping leading up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China is a reminder of the thicket of territorial and historical tensions dividing China and India.

The days before Narendra Modi left for his first visit to China as India's prime minister brought pinprick reminders of the geopolitical rifts dividing the two countries, even while they court each other for an economic charge.

A Chinese tabloid ran a commentary scorning Mr. Modi for visiting Arunachal Pradesh, a border area to which China also lays claim, prompting a news media uproar in India. In New Delhi, a top Indian official noted that the government has lodged two formal complaints about China's plan to build a highway, pipeline infrastructure in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a border area also claimed by India.

The verbal sniping has brought a reminder of the thicket of territorial, and historical tensions dividing Mr. Modi and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping. Indian and Chinese officials have promoted Mr. Modi's three-day visit as essentially a business trip filled out with displays of good will and cultural affinity.

But China presents a particularly nettlesome test of Mr. Modi's priorities.

He has promised economic reinvigoration at home and firmer assertion of India's security interests. But those goals can be especially difficult to juggle while dealing with the country's biggest and most powerful neighbor, which under Mr. Xi has also taken a tougher line on territorial disputes. Eight months ago, Mr. Modi's first meeting as prime minister with Mr. Xi was overshadowed by a border confrontation.

"There are two Modis on China," Tanvi Madan, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of the institution's India Project, said in a telephone interview. "There is the business- minded leader who wants to do business with China, almost like the C.E.O. in him. And there is Modi, the chief security officer."

In China, Mr. Modi would "downplay the strains about things like the border incidents," Ms. Madan said. "But I think he will also find subtle ways of also making clear that India is not going to be a pushover."

Increased bilateral trade and investment could profit both of Asia's giants. China is grappling with a slowdown in growth and would like greater access to Indian markets to make up for faltering demand at home and in other export markets. India could use Chinese investment to build power plants, railways and other infrastructure, and to breathe life into its manufacturing sector.

"Prime Minister Modi really has put emphasis on the lack of infrastructure internally," Jabin T. Jacob, a fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, said in an interview. He said Mr. Modi's "government has shown a far more open attitude, simply because they are influenced by business lobbies and simple facts on the ground: that it is Chinese capacity that can deliver."

Yet the economic courtship comes while China has been extending its political and military reach in South Asia, and when Mr. Modi's administration is also being wooed by other nations, notably Japan and the United States, as a counterbalance to China. Prominent supporters of Mr. Modi say he can pursue both sets of priorities -- the economic and the strategic -- with equal vigor.

Mr. Modi "needs everyone on his side," said Ashok Malik, a columnist for The Times of India and other Indian newspapers. "He needs a window of relative strategic calm in his backyard to build the Indian economy. He cannot have the Chinese coming down his throat. For that, he needs to keep the Chinese happy. And he needs to keep the Chinese a little worried."

For Mr. Xi, steadier ties with India are a building block in his broader strategy of defusing territorial and geopolitical tensions by dispensing investment and trade opportunities, extending Chinese influence and diluting Washington's sway. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Strategic and Economic Balancing Act Awaits Modi in China ; Both Countries' Leaders Hope to Expand Business and Cultural Relations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.