India-China relations are currently passing through a period of intense stress following recent Chinese intrusions across the line of actual control (LAC) and the border clash on 15th June. However, even before recent incidents caused a sharp downturn, India-China relations were troubled by a host of outstanding issues and concerns. There is currently deep anxiety and anger in India and government is under pressure to review the overall relationship with China. The ICS Conversation will explore whether India-China relations are at a turning point, and what are the options and policy instruments available to deal with China. It will examine whether a modicum of normalcy will be restored to bilateral relations if there is an early resolution of multiple stand-offs along the LAC; and the likely trajectory of the relationship if the present border situation gets protracted. The panelists will also seek to locate India-China relations in the larger geopolitical context of escalating US-China strategic rivalry; China’s wolf warrior diplomacy and its assertive behaviour on issues ranging from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South China Sea to India-China borders; and the increased international backlash to Chinese actions in the Covid era.
About the Panelists
Ambassador (Retd) Gautam Bambawale was a member of the Indian Foreign Service from 1984 to 2018. He was India’s Ambassador to Bhutan, Pakistan and China. Bambawale was stationed in Washington DC in 2004-07 during the Indo-US nuclear deal which transformed ties between the two countries. He has been India’s first Consul General in Guangzhou (China) 2007-09. He was Director of the Indian Cultural Centre, Berlin 1994-98. Ambassador Bambawale worked in the Prime Minister’s Office 2002-04. At the Ministry of External Affairs he was Joint Secretary for East Asia from 2009-2014. Bambawale has dealt with China for 15 years of his 34 year diplomatic career.
Ambassador Bambawale is currently Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Symbiosis International University, Pune.
Prof. Rajesh Rajagopalan is Professor of International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has authored three books: Fighting Like A Guerrilla: The Indian Army and Counterinsurgency and Second Strike: Arguments about Nuclear War in South Asia as also (jointly with Atul Mishra) Nuclear South Asia: Keywords and Concepts. His articles (some jointly authored) have appeared in a number of academic and policy journals such as International Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, Contemporary Security Policy, India Review, Contemporary South Asia, Small Wars and Insurgencies, South Asia, South Asian Survey, and Strategic Analysis as well as in Indian newspapers and media including ThePrint.in, ORFonline, Economic Times, The Hindu, Indian Express, Financial Express, and Hindustan Times.
Tom Miller is a writer focusing on China and India. He is a senior analyst at Hong Kong-based Gavekal Research and a former journalist who has reported from 20 countries on four continents. His most recent book, China’s Asian Dream: Empire Building Along the New Silk Road (2017) was translated into five Asian languages. His first book, China’s Urban Billion: The Story Behind the Biggest Migration in Human History (2012), was translated into Chinese. Tom frequently gives talks at think tanks, conferences, universities and foreign ministries, and is widely quoted in the international media. He studied at the University of Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, and Beijing Language and Culture University. Now resident in the UK after 14 years in China, Tom speaks Chinese at home with his wife, a native Beijinger.