By Mukul Sanwal
In 2050 Asia will have amassed, as it has throughout civilization, more than half of the global GDP. The continent will have plenty of room for both India and China, despite any differences on rules of new multilateralism.
The challenge for India, with the potential to overtake both the United States and Japan to become the second largest economy, is to secure longer term economic interests while taking advantage of global trends to limit military expenditures while pushing infrastructure, human capital and technology development. India must now see itself as part of the emerging global economic triumvirate rather than a large military power.
In the 21st century, countries will gain influence because of economic power rather than military might, creating demand for fresh strategic thinking on the roles of emerging powers, including India, and how they should be accommodated in rule-making in an era where military-based notions of ‘balance of power’ are no longer relevant to the globalized world.
当地时间2017 年11 月15 日，德国波恩，中国气候变化事务特别代表、中国代表团团长解振华，巴西环境部部长何塞·萨尼·菲略，南非环境事务部部长艾德纳·莫莱瓦, 印度环境森林与气候变化部部长哈什·瓦尔丹，共同出席发布会，就发展中国家的贡献、中国应对气候变化的努力和成效、2020 年前承诺和行动等问题，回答了中外记者提问。
China is filling part of the vacuum left by a retreating United States with the strategic thinking behind its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), stressing investment in infrastructure to build a common market, including with India, for adequate returns as it is rapidly aging. Japan, with an even more rapidly aging population, is also seeking cooperation within this initiative. India’s young population needs investment and technology to leapfrog development and recreate old networks with South-East Asia and Africa, which complement the BRI. New opportunities are also emerging with recent signals from Beijing of its willingness to discuss India’s concerns with the BRI.
How should India shape its response to China’s efforts to establish multilateral institutions to compete with existing ones and set new rules? The underlying issue is that India and China have been questioning the legitimacy of the current order, in whose creation they played no part and have nurtured a sense of injustice in the rules that were developed. India joined China in 2009 to organize the BRICS group of emerging economies and found a development bank and contingency reserve fund. In 2015 China launched the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, in which India is the second largest shareholder. In multilateral finance, India is working with China to set the new rules.
India and China are cooperating closely in climate negotiations as Western powers attempt to renege on their commitments and in issues involving the World Trade Organization, with increasing success. The declining influence of the West in existing global institutions is exemplified by Britain withdrawing its candidate for the International Court of Justice due to greater support in the United Nations General Assembly for India’s candidate.
That is why Japan’s earlier initiative to include India in the United States-led military alliance with Japan and Australia, as the United States shifts its emphasis from providing a security umbrella to urging its allies to increase their arms bought from the United States, was rightly rejected by India due to perceptions of a concerted attempt to militarily contain China. Japan and China have also reached a broad accord on setting up a communication mechanism to prevent accidental clashes in disputed waters in the East China Sea and airspace above, and Japan is enthusiastic about participating in the China-led BRI. India and Japan have also established an ‘Act East forum’ for economic cooperation.
Of greater strategic significance to India will be its response to the emerging integrated Asia, and the shift towards the ‘Asian Century’, as the United States withdraws from multilateral trade agreements. Asian countries are increasingly looking inwards, and not to the West, for ideas, investment and economic cooperation. The Indiacatalyzed International Solar Alliance is one example.
As global GDP shifts to Asia, by as early as the 2030s, Asia will revert to its historical equilibrium of an integrated continent that existed before the arrival of Europeans and later, the United States. New security and trade arrangements such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership exclude the United States yet involve both China and India, reinforcing the Asian identity and the collective shift away from reliance on U.S.-led financial institutions and markets. China and Japan have also agreed to improve bilateral relations, which have long been strained by historical issues and the territorial dispute.
In a multipolar world, China cannot shape the new order on its own just as India should not expect countries in Asia to choose between itself and China. Indians should recognize China’s BRI Initiative as a boon to economic growth and not a threat to their security. India will also need to carefully consider the issues it contests with China and India’s focus should be on strong resolutions against international terrorism on multilateral platforms. A sound strategy for India is not to reject initiatives promoted by China like the BRI and others that will inevitably follow, but to work with China to jointly set the agenda and rules, as the country is doing with financial institutions. One of India’s key strengths throughout civilization has been in the realm of ideas that have shaped the global order.
President Xi has signaled readiness to work with India under the guidance of “the five principles for peaceful coexistence”, or ‘Panchsheel’, from an agreement in 1954. It meets Prime Minister Modi’s concerns that the two sides increase mutual trust and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in border areas as a precondition for deeper cooperation.
2016 年6 月20 日，西藏迎来当年首批印度入境朝圣官方香客。中国边防官兵热情为香客办理入境手续，主动为有高原反应的香客提供医疗服务，确保香客安全、开心、顺利入境朝圣。
India’s Ministry of External Affairs describes ‘Panchsheel’ as a set of principles to conduct international relations. The five principles are: mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual nonaggression, mutual noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, equal and mutual benefit working relationship and peaceful co-existence. These principles were first outlined in the Agreement on Trade and Intercourse Between the Tibet region of China and India signed on April 29, 1954 and later incorporated into the Ten Principles of International Peace and Cooperation enunciated in the Declaration issued by the April 1955 Bandung Conference of 29 Afro-Asian countries.
Panchsheel, according to the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is based on its “firm roots in the cultural traditions of its originators, two of the world’s most ancient civilizations… an alternative to the adversarial constructs that dominated the cold war era”. The power of the principles remains dormant if the security establishments manning the border do not trust each other.
It would be a pity if mistrust of China, a scar left by colonialism, prevents resolution that could be cemented with a formal Non- Aggression Pact. Supplementing existing cooperation in trade and climate change and construction of new institutions in Asia will pave the way for the giants to become developmental opportunities of each other, jointly setting the new rules for connectivity, trade and security.
While China and India recognize the mutual benefits of investment in infrastructure connectivity and access to their growing markets, the two countries’ differences center on the nature and scope of the new rules for integration in global value chains. This dynamic is playing out in negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which involves 40 percent of world GDP. The RCEP is dominated by China and India and does not include agreements on labor rights, environmental protections or intellectual property rights, rejecting notions of open trade being pushed by the United States and the European Union.
Indian Ocean trade routes and exchange networks have connected the East and West throughout civilization and remain an important conduit for half the world’s container traffic, one third of bulk cargo transports and nearly two-thirds of global maritime oil trade, requiring shifting security priorities for governance of shared oceanic resources.
Maritime issues are now becoming central to security policies of Asian countries, and the Japan-led quadrilateral arrangement should be carefully considered to the extent India shapes the discourse to suit its national interests. India rejected a defense arrangement with Japan that would have seemed adversarial to China and should reject a similar push by the United States.
The United States has long seen its security interests extending into the Western Pacific and is re-defining them in terms of the Indo- Pacific to attract India to balance China. India has its own cooperation framework already in place and the ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’ (IONS), formed by India, includes 35 participating states and territories in the Indian Ocean Region, representing some two billion people. China and Japan are both observer states in IONS, providing a sound basis for India-led Asian maritime cooperation.
The biggest take-away from President Xi’s speech at the 19th Party Congress is recognition that cooperation alone will ensure the ‘Chinese dream’. It is India’s prerogative to push for new multilateralism to base on the ‘Panchsheel Principles”, just as Buddhism spread in the region centuries ago. India can also take conceptual leadership in global governance by stressing equitable sustainable development as the foundation of the new global order. These ideas are more in sync with ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ than the ‘Washington Consensus’ and will inspire a more positive response in Asia while cementing the Asian Century as having two nodes.
Both China and India are now rule-makers, not just subjects, and the Asian Century does not have to be defined by rivalry, as Asia rejects the role of outsiders in shaping the new order, and sharing prosperity and common destiny. As Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi, speaking in Delhi in December, said, “If China and India speak with one voice, the world will listen.”