T. V. Paul (Ed.), The China–India Rivalry in the Globalisation Era

Published date01 April 2020
Date01 April 2020
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 189
T. V. Paul (Ed.), The China–India Rivalry in the Globalisation Era
(Hyderabad, India: Orient Blackswan, 2019), 351 pp. `1,195. ISBN:
9789352875207 (paperback).
DOI: 10.1177/0020881720914482
T. V. Paul’s edited book strives to ride the crest of a wave that has been created by
an undercurrent of comparing and contrasting Asia’s two largest countries. China
and India offer opportunities galore to scholars of international politics especially
area studies to chronicle the contemporary. This book is a laudable attempt at
capturing present realities anchored on ‘globalization’ as a theme knitting 12
chapters in five parts.
The introductory chapter lays out the fundamental differences between the two
countries as being at the core of the dynamics intrinsic to a conflictual undertone.
A limited or managed rivalry prevails with a persistence needing constant
deciphering in strategic and economic terms. It is palpable that the two countries
are evolving in the direction of a limited or managed rivalry. This aspect has been
consistently adhered to in the book. The complications in the bilateral are several
and power asymmetry affects India’s position on many issues. India’s being on
the lower end of the power spectrum comes from several powerful determinants.
The first is its failure or reluctance to settle the outstanding boundary dispute with
China. While China has settled boundary disputes with 12 of its neighbours, the
only unsettled ones are with Bhutan and India. The editor does not mention that
Bhutan’s foreign policy is decided in New Delhi, a worrying feature to Beijing,
where dealing with a constitutional monarchy without a sovereign foreign policy
is an irritant. Second is the boundary dispute being a legacy of the 1962 war
resonating with policymakers in New Delhi, leading to a psychological enmity
prevailing … more in New Delhi!
In Chapter 3, Xiaoyu Pu in a well written essay titled ‘Asymmetrical Competitors:
Status Concerns’ identifies the status dimensions the two countries invoke and
project in their respective foreign policies. He bases his contribution in a theoretical
framework that subscribes to analyse the status in world politics. Maintaining a
spirit of academic sequestering of the bilateral, Zhen Han and Jean Francois
Belanger in ‘Balancing Strategies and the China–India rivalry’ detail the plural
‘rivalries’ in a contemporaneous manner. The authors of this chapter explore theories
of rivalry and balancing strategies. By detailing the ‘hard-balancing’, ‘limited hard-
balancing’ and ‘soft balancing’ a theoretical construct emerges to typify the bilateral
from the narratives largely examining the relationship. The blue water navies of
both the countries are to be watched as unlike land warfare of the past the relatively
open ‘blue-waters’ are a realm where contestations could take place.
Calvin Chen succeeds in capturing the competition for acquisition of resources
by both countries. Largely deficient in oil, with growing economies to lubricate,
China and India are involved in high stakes investments in Central Asia and Africa
regions not known for long-term political stability. China has more resources to
invest in acquiring resource stakes and advance long-term loans on soft terms
while India is short of financial largesse and long-term calculations with strategic

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