Speaking on CGTN, Carnegie India’s C. Raja Mohan emphasized the importance of achieving a cooperative relationship between India and China, as India rises on the global stage. Mohan spoke about the uncertainties accompanying the new Trump administration and the U.S. leader’s willingness to discard past administrations’ positions on key issues. He argued that India’s strategy, drawing from its desire to maintain good relationships with both the United States and China, is to maximize gains and avoid any pitfalls that might emerge as a result of collusion or confrontation between the two great powers. Despite concerns emerging as a result of Trump’s mantra of ‘Buy American, Hire American,’ Mohan pointed out that the success of the administration does depend on international cooperation.
On the flip side, managing the Sino-Indian relationship is complicated by the former’s ties with Pakistan, Mohan said. With territorial sovereignty being a sensitive issue for India, the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ passing through the disputed territory of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir makes it difficult for India to extend its support for the project, despite India agreeing with its core objective of developing infrastructure and connectivity. Mohan added that whether these projects are purely civilian, or have strategic and security implications, further complicates the situation. He said that what is needed are greater consultations and dialogue, to help India understand Chinese intentions. From a broader strategic perspective, he argued that the Pacific Ocean is large enough for India, China, and the United States to co-exist, but cautioned against the possible coming disruptions of power relations as a result of the fourth industrial revolution.