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Chinese Threat in India's Expert Discourse
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal

Chinese Threat in India's Expert Discourse

DOI: 10.20542/afij-2019-1-33-44
© 2019  A. Kupriyanov
Received 10.10.2019.
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
Acknowledgements. The article was prepared at IMEMO within the project of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research No 19-011-31625 “The Main Trends and Risks of Global Political Development: Methodology and Methods of Forecasting Studies”.

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. 


About author:

Alexey V. KUPRIYANOV, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Senior Researcher. Sector of International Organizations and Global Political Governance, Department of International Political Problems.

For citation:

Kupriyanov A. Chinese Threat in India's Expert Discourse. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2019, no 1, pp. 33-44.

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