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Modi Rising
China and Japan Bid for India's Affections

In anticipation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in later in September, China’s Foreign Minister has announced that Beijing has no plans to “contain” India’s rise, militarily or otherwise. Reuters reports on the emerging power dynamics in the world’s fastest growing and most populous continent:

From economic parity in 1980, China’s growth has outstripped India’s fourfold and Beijing has sought to recycle some of its vast export surpluses into foreign investment in resources and infrastructure in South Asia to feed its industrial machine.

That rising economic presence in the Indian Ocean region has stoked concerns in New Delhi that China is creating a “string of pearls” that surrounds India and threatens its security, including Chinese investments in ports and other key projects in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. […]

Asian great-power diplomacy has stirred to life since the rise to power of Indian nationalist Narendra Modi, who announced his intent to play an active role on the world stage by inviting regional leaders to his inauguration in May.

China and India have made a particular effort to reach out to each other since Modi’s election, and this will be Xi’s first trip to the country as head of state.

The Chinese announcement is likely to be seen as a gesture of goodwill, since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a swipe at China’s regionally disruptive, “expansionist” tendencies when he met with Shinzo Abe, his Japanese counterpart, for high level talks only a few weeks earlier. Abe committed to putting a substantial sum of money into the development of Indian infrastructure, and Xi is expected to offer an even more lucrative investment during his visit.

If Beijing and New Delhi’s relationship does grow friendlier, it would be a break from their history of border disputes and rivalry. Furthermore, if Modi can balance that relationship with the warm ties he has with Japan, he’ll have the two strongest Asian powers competing to keep his friendship. For the moment, Modi is looking pretty smart.

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  • Dan

    Maybe India should worry more about basic sanitation than playing an active role on the world stage.

    • GodisanAmerican

      Drive from Delhi Airport onto famous GT Road, a major highway. Temples, Temples everywhere but not a toilet to piss in. (It’s getting better. Still Temples to toilets ratio is like 100-1)

  • B-Sabre

    This is a situation where, strangely enough, Japan’s behaviour in WW2 may be more of a benefit than a hinderance as far as India is concerned. The Japanese created the Indian National Army to help them during the war, and the history of the INA (and resulting Red Fort Trials for collaboration that happened after the war) was a major driver for Indian independence. Also, most of India was never occupied by the Japanese, so their historical experience with them lacks the sort of oppression and atrocities that most of Asia associates with Imperial Japan. A notable exception is the Andaman and Nicobar islands, which were occupied by the Japanese, and did suffer some atrocities.

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