India – China Relations

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China–India relations, also called Sino-Indian relations or Indo-China relations, refers to the bilateral relationship between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of India. Relationship began in 1950 when India was among the first countries to end formal ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and recognize the PRC as the legitimate government of Mainland China.

China and India are the two most populous countries and fastest growing major economies in the world. The resultant growth in China and India’s international diplomatic and economic influence has also increased the significance of their bilateral relationship. China and India are two of the world’s oldest civilizations and have co-existed in peace for millennia.

The Silk Road not only served as a major trade route between India and China, but is also credited for facilitating the spread of Buddhism from India to East Asia. During the 19th century, China’s growing opium trade with the British Raj triggered the First and Second Opium Wars. During World War II, India and China played a crucial role in halting the progress of Imperial Japan.

Relations between contemporary China and India have been characterized by border disputes, resulting in three major military conflicts — the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Chola incident in 1967, and the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish. In 2008, China emerged as India’s largest trading partner and the two countries have also attempted to extend their strategic and military relations.

In June 2012, China stated its position that “Sino-Indian ties” could be the most “important bilateral partnership of the century”. That month Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China and Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India set a goal to increase bilateral trade between the two countries to US$100 billion by 2015.

During the BRICS summit in Sanya, Hainan, China the two countries agreed to restore defence co-operation and China had hinted that it may reverse its policy of administering stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir. This practice was later stopped, and as a result, defense ties were resumed between the two nations and joint military drills were expected.

BRICS summit in New Delhi, India, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Indian Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that “it is China’s unswerving policy to develop Sino-Indian friendship, deepen strategic cooperation and seek common development” and “China hopes to see a peaceful, prosperous and continually developing India and is committed to building more dynamic China-India relationship”.

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