“Chinese Threat” in India's Expert Discourse
The article explores the position of three Indian think tanks (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and India Foundation) on the Chinese threat to India. The author analyzes the articles and notes of the experts of these centers over the past five years devoted to a possible attack by China on India or the competition between these states in South and Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean Region. The article begins with a brief historical account of the reasons for Indian distrust of China, which is widespread among the military and the politicians. Further, the author describes the three Indian think tanks and the specifics of the Indian expert community. He identifies two main reasons why Indians are afraid of China: 1) the possible military aggression from the PRC and 2) losing strategic rivalry in the surrounding areas. Based on the results of the study, the author concludes that only IDSA is seriously concerned with the topic of limited war, while other analytical centers allow a maximum of a small border conflict. None of the analyzed think tanks predicts a large-scale war, much less a nuclear one. At the same time, most of experts perceive the relations between India and China in the discourse of rivalry, using words like "rivalry", "strategic competition" and "confrontation". The Indian expert community believes that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a cover for Chinese expansionist plans, and fears the strengthening of China's positions in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and the Indian Ocean. Further, the author analyzes the influence of these ideas on the formation of political discourse in India and on the process of making strategic foreign policy decisions by the Indian leadership. He comes to the conclusion that this influence is relatively small. After the coming to power of Narendra Modi, the role of analytical centers in the decision-making system significantly decreased, while the analysis of their position remains important as an indicator of the position of the Indian ruling elites.
Alexey V. KUPRIYANOV, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Senior Researcher. Sector of International Organizations and Global Political Governance, Department of International Political Problems.
Kupriyanov A. “Chinese Threat” in India's Expert Discourse. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2019, no 1, pp. 33-44. https://doi.org/10.20542/afij-2019-1-33-44