Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

[op-ed snap] Xi, Trump, Asian disorder


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Effects of relationship between the US and China, on India.



  1. The article talks about the upcoming Asian visit of Donald Trump, his China’s visit and its possible effects on India’s foreign policy

The US and China relationship

  1. They need each other is not in doubt
  2. What is importat, though, is the terms of a new economic and political settlement between the two

What should India do?

  1. should stay the course on managing its problems with China
  2. And deepening ties with the US and key Asian actors, Japan, Korea, the ASEAN, and further afield, with Australia

Trump’s Asian Tour

  1. On his extended Asian tour, Trump is participating in two major regional summits
    (1) the forum for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Vietnam and
    (2) the East Asia Summit in the Philippines. In the current tour
  2. Trump has also had bilateral visits to Japan and South Korea
  3. What America wants from Asian Countries: America’s demands for “fair” rather than “free trade” with Asia
  4. And the problem of accommodating China’s rise without abandoning its long-standing allies and friends in the region

Three broad objectives that the president was intended to pursue in Asia

  1. One was to get greater reciprocity in the commercial engagement with Asia
  2. The second was to strengthen US alliances and partnerships in the region
  3. A third was to get a better fix on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme

China’s trade Strategy with the US

  1. Beijing resorted to the familiar trick of wrapping a package of commercial deals with American companies amounting to $250 billion
  2. While the big number grabs the headlines, sceptics point to the fact that many of these “deals” are MoUs rather than commercial contracts
  3. Many of them will take a long time
  4. And this does nothing to resolve Trump’s political problem with America’s massive trade deficit

Talk on Political relationship between the US and China

  1. On the question of political relations, Trump and Xi had nice things to say about the need for greater cooperation and engagement
  2. But there was no apparent breakthrough on the question of North Korea that was at the top of Trump’s agenda

India’s PM upcoming visit to the Philippines to join the East Asia Summit

  1. Three things stand out infront of India:
    (1) America and China will continue to jockey for political primacy in Asia
    (2) the tension between Washington’s traditional commitment to economic globalisation and Trump’s “America First” policies is unlikely to be resolved any time soon
    (3) and most countries in the region are beginning to diversify their security partnerships

The way forward

  1.  The rise of China and the turbulence in American domestic politics have created great disorder under the heavens
  2. But they have also opened up much room for creative Indian diplomacy in Asia
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments