With the US "return to Asia" and the growing economic gap between China and India, the Sino-Indian relationship is seeing subtle changes these days. Some Indian scholars trumpet an alliance under the US leadership to counterbalance China. For example, Harsh V. Pant, a professor of defense studies at King's College London, argues that India's strategic interests can only be realized by an Asia-Pacific arrangement where the US retains its predominant status, while the Indian Express columnist C. Raja Mohan advocates that India should shift its policy of strategic autonomy and strategically cooperate with the US.
So far, India has strengthened its "Look East" Policy. It has enhanced strategic and security cooperation with countries such as Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam and has taken a high profile in the South China Sea disputes. In December 2011, the first trilateral dialogue between the US, Japan and India was presided over by the US and one of the discussion topics was China's growing military and political global position. It's no wonder many think that India may abandon strategic autonomy in order to ally with the US and contain China.
Within India, there are different opinions on the direction of the Sino-Indian relationship. Optimists believe that the two are likely to form a cooperative partnership, a minority among whom even advocates building an anti-West group to balance global power.
Liu Zongyi is a research fellow of Center for South Asia Studies at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
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