India and China have emerged as two largest developing countries in the world. Both the nations share a vast number of interests especially in the field of domestic development, and economic reform. They are experiencing a period of fast economic growth. However, both the states are also struggling to define their role in the world given their new profound influence on the global economy. Both promote the notion of a multi-polar world in which they may serve as bigger players alongside the United States.
There are various factors within and outside taking place between China and India which still impacts their relations. For instance, border and Tibet issues have emerged as the more prominent issue and recently, the water issue has also surfaced in the bilateral relations between China and India. These bilateral issues will not only impact their present relations but will also casue a negative impact on their future relations as well; it will also affect the process of their rise and the peace and stability in and outside the region.
There are various contentious issues taking place between India and China that can be described below as:
1) Masood Azhar issue: Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, an Islamic militant group which is quite active in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The group has been listed as a terrorist entity in UN as well as in India where it has carried out 2008 Mumbai Attacks and 2016 Pathankot Attack, following which Azhar was taken into protective custody by Pakistan Government. India has tried to get Azhar blacklisted by UN but it has always encountered a roadblock in the form of China.
2) NSG issue: China has also been opposed vociferously India’s entry in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that contains 48 countries in all. In fact China has stated clearly that it is opposed to the entry of any country like India that has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the group. Beijing has stated that signing NPT should be a mandatory obligation for a country to become a part of a group like NSG.
3) Dalai Lama issue: China views that India is treating Dalai Lama in India as government in exile in Dharmsala which is just 200 miles away from China’s border. Further, the presence of more than 1,00,000 Tibetans refugees in India and India’s continued willingness to provide shelter to the Dalai Lama is a continued source of irritation in China-India relations. Also China alleged that the Dalai Lama and his associates are provoking the suicides by publicizing a “self-immolation guide” on the internet and “openly encouraging Tibetans within Chinese border to carry out self-immolations” against the China. China accused the Dalai Lama of being behind a self-immolation protest by a Tibetan exile in India during the visit of Chinese president in March 2012 and Chinese Primer in 21 May 201317. So the presence of Dalai Lama and his anti-China Activities in India have negative implications for India- China relations.
4) Indian Ocean issue: China wants to be a dominant force in Indian Ocean. China has adopted a strategy named String of Pearls whereby it has set up bases all across the area, where India and the US maintain naval bases as well. In fact, a number of India’s bases in the area are surrounded by those of China and India is afraid that this is a major containment strategy by its northeastern neighbours. This is why the government has been spending a significant amount of energy in making sure that this can be prevented from happening. As part of that, it is trying to pull Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, and Bangladesh within India’s sphere of influence.
5) Doklam row: In mid-June, a remote area called the Dolam plateau in the Himalayas where the boundaries of China, India and Bhutan meet made headlines when Indian and Chinese troops began a standoff over a road construction project. China conducted a live-fire exercise in the area, and there have been false reports of deaths. Diplomatic efforts are underway to de-escalate the situation, but still the risk of war has been on everyone’s mind.