In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Rajeswari (Raji) Pillai Rajagopalan joins us to unpack the changing relationship between India and China. Dr. Rajagopalan begins by describing India’s view of China, emphasizing India’s continued wish for a stable and normalized relationship with China, despite conflicts that arise. She explains that China’s growing economic power and influence in India’s neighboring countries have heightened India’s insecurity and tension between the two countries. Furthermore, Dr. Rajagopalan discusses the fundamental differences in Chinese and Indian strategic objectives, specifically their goals for power dynamics in Asia. Additionally, she identifies the 2020 Galwan Valley skirmish as a turning point in the India-China relationship, arguing that China’s actions have shown that India can no longer afford to carry out ambivalence in its foreign policy. Lastly, Dr. Rajagopalan cautions India from relying too heavily on Russia for defense capabilities and urges the country to diversify its military capabilities.
Dr. Rajeswari (Raji) Rajagopalan is the Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology (CSST) at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. Dr. Rajagopalan was the Technical Advisor to the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) (July 2018-July 2019). She was also a Non-Resident Indo-Pacific Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre from April-December 2020. As a senior Asia defence writer for The Diplomat, she writes a weekly column on Asian strategic issues.