India and China: Perceptions of Strategic Culture and its role in the NSG membership issue

Kajari Kamal, PhD student, University of Hyderabad.

The debate on whether to include India as a member in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or not, has brought the India-China-Pakistan dynamics in the limelight again. China’s resistance to India’s membership is seen by the Indians as clearly strategic, targeted at constraining the rise of India as a global power. While some observers of India-China relations believe that factors such as border disputes, power asymmetry, mutual distrust, and most recently, nuclear proliferation issues, are obstacles in the normalization of bilateral relations, some others strongly believe that there lies a fundamental clash of interests, rooted at a strategic culture level, which manifests in China’s determination to play a key role in world affairs, as it has done as a great power and a great civilization, in the past. In a dyadic relationship, the importance of the perception of each other’s strategic culture cannot be overemphasized. Andrew Scobell argues that China’s foreign policy and its tendency to use military force are influenced not only by elite understanding of China’s own strategic tradition but also by their understanding of the strategic cultures of other states.

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Understanding Recent US-China Dynamics in a Theoretical Context

Kajari Kamal, PhD student, University of Hyderabad.

The Pentagon recently submitted its 2016 Annual  Report to the US Congress on ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China’[1], hitting hard at China’s military growth and drawing attention to China’s efforts to enhance its reach and power, especially evident in the territorial and maritime sovereignty claims in the South and East China Seas. China retaliated by condemning the report and calling it a deliberate distortion that has severely “damaged mutual trust.” This geopolitical cut and thrust witnessed in the last few days was a rather enigmatic sideshow to the larger strategic contest that has been playing out ever since the Obama administration’s famous strategic “pivot” from the Middle East to East Asia, was announced.

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