China’s Major-country Diplomacy and Sino-indian Relations
As China moves closer to the center stage and makes greater contributions to mankind, it will encounter mounting challenges amid rising pessimistic attitudes of the West. China and India, as two countries with geographic and cultural affinity and enormous common interests, need to carefully manage the third party factor for the sound development of bilateral relations.
The new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics sees China moving closer to the center stage and making greater contributions to mankind. However, China is now facing some challenges, including how to cope with the “Thucydides Trap,” “Kindleberger Trap,” and the Cold War Trap. Many scholars suggest that pessimistic trends are on the rise in the relations between China and other major countries. To prevent the situation from further deteriorating, we should take efforts to strengthen mutual understanding and minimize misperceptions on both sides. As important neighbors, China and India have enormous common interests and similar responsibility in enhancing global governance, but they are facing complex challenges and barriers arising both in bilateral relations and from their respective relations with third parties. In this circumstance, China and India should take steps to maintain a friendly and cooperative relationship. In the new era, the innovation of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics has ushered in new historic opportunities for the expansion of China-india friendly cooperative relations.
Major-country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics
China’s diplomacy since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is one of a major country with distinctive characteristics. To understand this, we should pay special attention to Xi Jinping’s report
delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress.1 The important document elaborates systematically the features and principles of China’s foreign policy in the new era, clarifies the goals and visions of China on its relations with the world, and thus provides a comprehensive analysis of China’s diplomacy from different angles.
China’s world outlook
At the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping summarized China’s world views by arguing that “the world is undergoing major developments, transformation, and adjustment, but peace and development remain the call of our day.” “Our world is full of both hope and challenges.” On the one hand, the “trends of global multi-polarity, economic globalization, IT application, and cultural diversity are surging forward; changes in the global governance system and the international order are speeding up; countries are becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent; relative international forces are becoming more balanced; and peace and development remain irreversible trends.” On the other hand, however, “as a world we face growing uncertainties and destabilizing factors. Global economic growth lacks energy; the gap between rich and poor continues to widen; hotspot issues arise often in some regions; and unconventional security threats like terrorism, cyber-insecurity, major infectious diseases, and climate change continue to spread. As human beings we have many common challenges to face.”
Against this background, Xi warned that “no country can address alone the many challenges facing mankind; no country can afford to retreat into selfisolation.” At the same time, he expressed a relatively positive attitude towards the prospects of the world by calling that “we should not give up on our dreams because the reality around us is too complicated; we should not stop pursuing our ideals because they seem out of our reach.”
Xi’s summary of China’s world outlook in the report comprehensively reflects the mainstream views of China on the world situation. From the academic point of views, Xi’s evaluation of both opportunities and challenges facing the current world is well-balanced, with a question consciousness and an optimistic tone.
China’s strategic vision and role in the world
China’s strategic vision is concerned mainly with the goals and a twostep approach of its development by 2050, which would of course influence China’s role in the world. In Xi Jinping’s words, “this is our strategic vision for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era: Finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, move on to basically realizing modernization, and then turn to making China a great modern socialist country in every dimension.” The first goal, building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, is relatively familiarized by the international society and therefore needs little further analysis. What is fresh in China’s strategic vision about its future development is mainly reflected in the goals after 2020. Xi said: “Based on a comprehensive analysis of the international and domestic environments and the conditions for China’s development, we have drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century.”
“In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, we will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized. The vision is that by the end of this stage, the following goals will have been met: China’s economic and technological strength has increased significantly. China has become a global leader in innovation…” “In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, we will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. By the end of this stage, the following goals will have been met: New heights are reached in every dimension of
material, political, cultural and ethical, social, and ecological advancement. Modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance is achieved. China has become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence. Common prosperity for everyone is basically achieved. The Chinese people enjoy happier, safer, and healthier lives. The Chinese nation will become a proud and active member of the community of nations.”
Framework of China’s diplomacy
There are two central pillars in terms of the framework of China’s diplomacy. The first one is “to build a community with a shared future for mankind, to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.” The second one is to “forge a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation.”
The basic approach of China’s diplomacy is to develop global partnerships and expand the convergence of interests with other countries. With this approach, “China will promote coordination and cooperation with other major countries and work to build a framework for major country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. China will deepen relations with its neighbors in accordance with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership with its neighbors. China will, guided by the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith, work to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries.”
Xi Jinping Thought: guiding spirit of China’s diplomacy
For international audience to understand the significance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era for China’s diplomacy, special attention must be paid to the following points:
First, the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the basic background against which China’s diplomacy takes shape, which means that
China “has achieved a tremendous transformation: it has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong; it has come to embrace the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation.”
Second, as an extension of domestic politics, China’s foreign policy should reflect the change of principal contradiction facing Chinese society. “As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.”
Third, China’s diplomacy should demonstrate the confidence in socialism with Chinese characteristics. “It means that scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China, and that the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now flying high and proud for all to see. It means that the path, the theory, the system, and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing, blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind.”
In short, the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics sees China moving closer to the center stage and making greater contributions to mankind. In Xi words, “Chinese socialism’s entrance into a new era is, in the history of the development of the People’s Republic of China and the history of the development of the Chinese nation, of tremendous importance. In the history of the development of international socialism and the history of the development of human society, it is of tremendous importance.”
Barriers and Challenges Facing China
Based on the briefing on China’s diplomacy made above, combining the reactions of the outside world and especially responses from other major countries, China will confront challenges when developing friendly cooperative
relations with other major countries in the future.
The first challenge China now encounters is how to cope with a paradox between two related traps. First pointed out by Professor of Harvard University Joseph S. Nye, the paradox was referred to as a problem facing the United States. Nye argued in an article before Donald Trump formally took office: “As US President-elect Donald Trump prepares his administration’s policy toward China, he should be wary of two major traps that history has set for him.” One is the “Thucydides Trap,” which is the warning by the ancient Greek historian that cataclysmic war can erupt if an established power (like the US) becomes too fearful of a rising power (like China). “But Trump also has to worry about the ‘Kindleberger Trap’.” “Charles Kindleberger, an intellectual architect of the Marshall Plan who later taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argued that the disastrous decade of the 1930s was caused when the US replaced Britain as the largest global power but failed to take on Britain’s role in providing global public goods. The result was the collapse of the global system into depression, genocide, and world war.” The most interesting point of Nye’s argument lies with a dilemma the US may face when it tries to cope with the two traps. On the one hand, the Thucydides Trap for the US comes mainly from “a China that seems too strong rather than too weak.” On the other hand, the Kindleberger Trap may emerge because of “a China that seems too weak rather than too strong” to help provide global public goods. President Trump is therefore facing a paradox, because he “must worry about a China that is simultaneously too weak and too strong. To achieve his objectives, he must avoid the Kindleberger Trap as well as the Thucydides Trap. But, above all, he must avoid the miscalculations, misperceptions, and rash judgments that plague human history.”2
Unfortunately, the paradox seems more or less applies to China as well. In a period when the Trump administration pursues the “America First” agenda and prepares to reduce the US contribution to providing international public goods, the pressure of the Kindleberger Trap on China grows inevitably. If China refuses
or hesitates to take more responsibilities in providing global public goods, it is almost certain to hear stronger criticism that China continues to free ride rather than contribute to the existing international order. If China does the opposite, that is to take more international responsibilities which fit in with China’s rapidly growing national strength, as it has done, it is also unavoidable to hear the accusation that China is in search of regional and even global hegemony. Reading the words about China in the US National Security Strategy delivered in December 2017 helps understand how serious the dilemma facing China may become. This document, referred to by Trump as “an America First National Security Strategy,” argues that the increasing competitions in the world “require the United States to rethink the policies of the past two decades—policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners,” about which the Strategy concludes: “For the most part, this premise turned out to be false.” According to the Strategy, the US faces “three main sets of challengers—the revisionist powers of China and Russia, the rogue states of Iran and North Korea, and transnational threat organizations, particularly jihadist terrorist groups.” It points out in particular that “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair.”3 Under such a circumstance, China has to do more in order to overcome the Kindleberger Trap. At the same time, China is supposed to do less in order to reduce the danger of the Thucydides Trap. That is the dilemma when China simultaneously faces the two traps: it has to strike a balance between the needs of doing more and the pressure of doing less in providing international public goods.
In addition to the challenges resulting from the abovementioned two traps, China also faces a third trap, the Cold War Trap, under current international circumstances. The Cold War Trap is concerned with both the Thucydides Trap and the potential conflicts in terms of ideological difference
between China and the West. As correctly pointed out by Nye, with respect to the so-called Thucydides Trap between China and the US, “there is nothing inevitable” because the effects of the trap are often exaggerated. In other words, it is possible for the two powers to avoid open conflicts if only because both sides know very clearly that costs of such conflicts are too high to afford. However, in spite of this kind of possible positive prospects in evading open military conflicts, China and the United States will still face the danger of being involved in a cold war trap if both sides fail to address two sets of issues: one is to raise mutual strategic confidence, and the other is to curb mutual contradictions in the ideological field. Past and current experiences suggest that neither of them is easy to substantiate. For both political and strategic reasons, mutual trust and mutual confidence are always something insufficient in Sino-us relations in the past decades. With regard to the ideological factor, the negative reactions of the US and some major European countries to China after the 19th CPC National Congress cast a strong shadow in this respect. The text of the US National Security Strategy also reveals the situation. Although the Strategy is said to be one “of principled realism that is guided by outcomes, not ideology,” the claim is misleading if one thinks that the “America First” Strategy places values and ideology on the back burner. On the contrary, this document clearly lists the ideological factor as one of the four vital national interests that the US “must protect in this competitive world.” The Trump administration makes a systematic and quite coherent explanation about this stand by saying that “we will advance American influence because a world that supports American interests and reflects our values makes America more secure and prosperous. We will compete and lead in multilateral organizations so that American interests and principles are protected. America’s commitment to liberty, democracy, and the rule of law serves as an inspiration for those living under tyranny.” Based on this analysis, this document takes a rather harsh attitude towards China when talking about bilateral discrepancies not only in the economic and security fields but also in the ideological realm. For instance, the document asserts that “China and Russia want to shape a world antithetical to US values and interests,” and that “these are fundamentally political
contests between those who favor repressive systems and those who favor free societies.” European countries such as Germany and France also made some negative comments on China over the international order, approaches to global governance, among other issues.
Misunderstanding and Misjudgment of the West to China
The negative attitudes of Western countries in general and of the US in particular suggest that pessimistic trends are on the rise in relations between China and major Western powers. This situation is of course not good for promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the world. Therefore, all parties concerned should make joint efforts to prevent these trends from further developing, although it is not easy to stop let alone reverse the trends. At least for China, this situation is obviously disappointing and more or less out of expectation. The gap between China’s expectations and the West’s response suggests that something must have gone wrong with mutual perceptions between China and the West. It also implies that none of those negative trends is inevitable. To prevent the situation from further deteriorating, there should be efforts to strengthen mutual understanding and minimize misperceptions on both sides. Misunderstandings emerge on different issues for different reasons. So we should study the cases one by one in order to reduce the misunderstandings.
With respect to China’s goals concerning its role in the world, serious misunderstandings arise for complicated reasons. China’s message, sent by Xi Jinping in his report at the 19th CPC National Congress, is very clear: “No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.” But as we already demonstrated, such a plain, polite, and benign message gets many bitter criticisms and responses in the West. Steve Bannon, the former senior adviser of President Trump, even on several occasions accused China of seeking world hegemony. Blaming this kind of accusation for making deliberate distortions of China’s image is easy but makes little sense in reducing mutual misunderstandings. Objectively speaking, what
drives the West to look at China’s international role with such a negative tone seems to have something to do with the following elements. First of all, the two stage goals of China’s development set up at the 19th CPC National Congress may take some people in the West with shock, if only because, when these goals substantiate, the sheer size of the Chinese economy would be amazing, very likely to surpass that of the US by a considerable margin. Second, China’s behavior of firmly defending its sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests in recent years, such as rejecting the ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague in 2016 against its territorial claims in the South China Sea, may also add to the doubt of some people who are skeptical about China’s peaceful foreign policy. China’s construction under the Belt and Road Initiative could be a third factor for those who have raised troublesome questions about the initiative. And finally, Xi Jinping’s rhetoric of increasing China’s confidence in socialism with Chinese characteristics would also likely reinforce the fear of the West about China’s ambition in the world when the Chinese leader said that “it will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”
If the abovementioned factors can explain the West’s negative attitude over China’s role in the world, then it can be argued that the West as a whole and the US in particular have actually overreacted to China’s new strategy formulated at the 19th CPC National Congress. The Western overreaction is largely because Western countries have in varying degrees misunderstood the meanings of some key messages of China. The goals of China’s development in 2035 and 2050, albeit looking very ambitious and likely taking China to the place of the biggest economy in the world, are in essence a plan for China’s own domestic development rather than for external expansion or world hegemony. This kind of plan is inevitably concerned with approaches to participation in international cooperation and competition, but it is mainly an inward rather than outward-looking plan, let alone an agenda of seeking world hegemony. Even by the time when China takes on the position of the US as the largest economy in the world, according to estimates of most authoritative international institutions, the gap between the US and China in many fields
in terms of development quality would remain significant and would continue to exist for a quite long period of time. This is why Xi Jinping emphasized at the CPC Congress: “We must recognize that the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society does not change our assessment of the present stage of socialism in China. The basic dimension of the Chinese context—that our country is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism—has not changed. China’s international status as the world’s largest developing country has not changed. The whole Party must be completely clear about this fundamental dimension of our national context, and must base our work on this most important reality—the primary stage of socialism.” In other words, even after China reaches the goals set up at the 19th CPC Congress, China’s comprehensive power would be very likely still behind that of the United States. Bearing in mind those constraints and limitations, China does not have the will or capability to seek world hegemony in the foreseeable future. Nor should the world be over-sensitive to Xi Jinping’s reference to China’s position moving from the periphery to the center in international arena. It is no more than a plain description of what has actually happened for the purpose of enhancing self-confidence of the Chinese people. Xi’s remarks here actually reveal a rather careful or refrained attitude of the Chinese leader when he chose the phrase of “closer to center stage” instead of “on the center stage” in reference to the change of China’s international role. China’s behavior of defending its sovereignty and core national interests is the legitimate rights of any sovereign state and should not be demonized as an evidence of searching for world hegemony.
The fact that the US National Security Strategy labels China as a “revisionist power” reflects another kind of misunderstanding of the West about China’s role in the existing international order. The label of “revisionist” is very misleading for it creates a misperception as if China has the motivation of overthrowing the existing international system and replacing it with a new world order. The actual stand of China is just the contrary. China has reiterated on many international occasions that it benefits from the existing system and thus wants to play a constructive role as an active participant, builder,
and contributor. As Xi Jinping said at the CPC Congress, “The dream of the Chinese people is closely connected with the dreams of the peoples of other countries; the Chinese Dream can be realized only in a peaceful international environment and under a stable international order.” Joseph S. Nye is correct when he points out that “Chinese behavior has sought not to overthrow the liberal world order from which it benefits, but to increase its influence within it.” Xi Jinping’s remarks at the CPC Congress provide further evidence to prove this when he said that “We should stick together through thick and thin, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced so that its benefits are shared by all”; “China supports the United Nations in playing an active role in international affairs, and supports the efforts of other developing countries to increase their representation and strengthen their voice in international affairs. China will continue to play its part as a major and responsible country, take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, and keep contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to global governance.” China, the West, and the US in particular share a lot in common in preventing the existing international order from collapsing for they all benefit enormously from the system. Xi Jinping’s keynote speech in the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos demonstrates that, in stark contrast to the negative attitude of the Trump administration toward global governance, China now is even more concerned than the US about keeping the momentum of globalization, and more ready to make contributions to providing international public goods to improve global governance. Generally speaking, China is more interested than the US under Trump in maintaining stability of the existing international order and, when it appears necessary and possible, in doing something to improve it. To enhance their influence, China and Western countries of course may face competition in many areas. Most of the competitions would be benign in nature as long as they can be managed within the existing order. Even in the face of competitions that require more complicated approach to handle, the common interest of China and the West in preserving the existing international system would propel both sides to find new ways to manage their differences.
The third kind of misunderstanding of the West on China seems to be concerned with the Chinese path or Chinese model of development. Magnificent achievements of the Chinese reform and opening up policy in the last four decades significantly raise the confidence of China in its own road, theory, system, and culture, as revealed by Xi’s remarks at the 19th CPC National Congress. On the basis this new confidence, Xi Jinping declared that “the Communist Party of China strives for both the wellbeing of the Chinese people and human progress. To make new and greater contributions for mankind is our party’s abiding mission.” Xi’s high-profile speech on the international significance of China’s experience makes some observers in the West, such as Steve Bannon, assume that China wants to challenge the Western model and values in terms of development. Based on this assumption, some seem to regard China as another Soviet Union. However, this kind of assumptions about China is largely false mainly for two reasons. On the one hand, the growing confidence in the Chinese experience is not equal to rejection of foreign good experience. While Chinese and Western experience differ in some aspects of development, they share a lot in common. Especially in terms of market philosophy, the two kinds of experience are basically complimentary rather than competitive. In fact, the Chinese experience is a combination of both original Chinese ingredients and many foreign elements that prove to fit in China’s reality. In this sense, Chinese experience is inclusive rather than exclusive to foreign, including Western, experience. On the other hand, China’s attitude towards the international significance of the Chinese experience is fundamentally different from that of the former Soviet Union or the West. China is only intended to offer its successful experience as a sample for other developing countries to enrich their options and references. It is up to other countries to judge whether the Chinese experience has value or not. China has made it very clear that it respects the sovereignty and rights of other countries to choose their own path of development. China has no intention to impose its experience or its values onto other countries. Therefore, even if the Chinese experience does pose competition to Western experience in the international arena, it can be argued that this kind of competition would be
in nature beneficial rather than harmful for all members of the international community.
China-india Relations in a Changing World
Given the context that the Western major countries have misunderstanding and misjudgment against China, and China’s relations with these countries are facing multiple traps, the relationship between China and India can hardly develop without any impact from the former’s relations with Western major countries. The sound development of China-india relations in this perspective is particularly important for China. In effect, striving for a good China-india relationship meets the fundamental interests of the two countries, and has historical and realistic foundations.
China-india relations have some unique features: as neighboring countries, carrying a profound and long-lasting historical heritage; sharing enormous common interests and similar responsibility in enhancing global governance and regional cooperation and having great potentials of strengthening mutual strategic coordination; facing complex challenges and barriers arising both in bilateral relations and from their respective relations with third parties. In this circumstance, maintaining a peaceful, stable, friendly and cooperative relationship is an important mission for both sides.
China and India enjoy geographic and cultural affinity. Bilateral cultural exchanges have lasted for nearly two thousand years. This provides an important base for supporting the development of Sino-indian relations, especially from China’s point of views. Unlike India, which had repeatedly experienced massive intrusions of advanced external civilizations such as the Greek, Islamic and Western civilizations in different stages of history, China has a different history in terms of its relations with the external world and therefore attaches special importance to relations with India. Located in the Far East part of the Eurasian Continent and isolated by natural geographical barriers on the West and East, China in its long course of history encountered mainly with the threats of nomadic natives from the North, but faced little challenges from other advanced
external civilizations until the 19th century. The only exception is relations with India. Cultural exchanges between the two ancient civilizations began almost two thousand years ago and maintained a peaceful way. Bilateral cultural exchange culminated in the Tang Dynasty when the influence of Buddhism reached a new high in China and started to be integrated even more intensively with localized Chinese culture. In modern times, China and India had similar experience of suffering the invasions of imperialism. Therefore, in part for this reason, both countries have been also similarly very sensitive to maintaining independence when formulating their foreign policies. The best manifestation is the well-known Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence jointly worked out by China and India in the 1950s. Largely because of the cultural affinity and similar experience in modern times, most Chinese keep a benign impression about Indian culture and the Indian people.
Today, China and India share even more similarities. Both are big emerging economies with great potentials and worldwide influence. Both have found a path which not only fits the situation of their own countries but also may have the value as a reference for other developing countries to study or compare. Both are members of some important international and regional platforms, such as the G20, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In an increasingly multi-polarizing world, China and India have even more similar interests and important responsibilities to share, including maintaining regional and international peace and stability, providing more international public goods to strengthen global governance, reforming the existing international order to make it beneficial to more countries, especially those least developed countries, etc. China and India of course also have contradictions to deal with. For instance, territory disputes remain between the two sides, and India holds a skeptic view over China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In spite of this, however, China still regards India mainly as a strategic partner rather than competitor. From China’s point of view, the problems between the two countries are manageable and should not prevent both sides from pursing cooperation with each other in various areas.
With respect to the third party factor which may also influence the
development of Sino-indian relations, recent situation is getting more complex. For instance, in the latest US National Security Strategy, the Trump administration criticized China for having “geopolitical aspirations” that “endanger the free flow of trade, threaten the sovereignty of other nations, and undermine regional stability,” on the one hand. On the other hand, the same document lauded India’s “emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defense partner” and underscored Washington’s commitment to increasing “quadrilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia, and India.” There are reports that, in the recent quadrilateral meeting, leaders from the above four countries have discussed some alternative plans to China’s Belt and Road. These examples show the complexity of the influence of third parties on China-india relations. On the one hand, some potential negative effects are obvious. As pointed out by Kashish Parpiani, for example, many observers deem the US National Security Strategy of Manichaean rendering –– of China and India as binaries –– “as the writing on the wall recognizing India’s emerging role as a ‘balancer’ to China.” “In reality, the US has long construed India and China in Manichaean terms –– praising the former’s ‘emergence’ to cultivate it as a balancer whilst condemning the latter’s ‘aspirations’ in order to contain it.”4 On the other hand, the ultimate influence of third party factors on Sino-indian relations is up to how China and India react to them. With respect to the so-called alternative plan discussed in the quadrilateral meeting, for instance, there are many uncertainties with the situation. If it can really provide some kind of alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, this kind of plan would provide more choices for promoting regional and international cooperation. In this case, it can be argued that China should welcome it rather than reject it, for those two kinds of initiatives may be complementary rather than competitive. If it takes a similarly rational attitude towards initiatives made by China and by Western countries, India has nothing to lose but a lot to gain in cooperation with both China and the West.