The following paragraphs touch the study’s principal themes.
To start with, the geopolitical dimension. Here, China’s broad
policy, as may be apparent, was to prevent the possibility of
Indian domination or unification of the South Asian region. To
China, India is a regional hegemonist that presumes to block the
"natural and rightful" expansion of China’s
relations with its neighbours. Tibet, Garver is persuaded,
offers "the only effective mechanism" New Delhi has
against Beijing for China’s vulnerability in Tibet is to India
what India’s vulnerability vis-a-vis Pakistan is to China.
dispute is difficult to solve. But "if" a peaceful
negotiated settlement is the objective, the solution must come
"from the very highest level"— in a meeting between
the top leaders, without their border specialists and soldiers
and strategists, who "must reach an agreement and impose
it" on their respective countries. A tall order, indeed.
underlines that India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN
Security Council to raise its international status has been
successfully blocked by Beijing. And yet the latter has
"greater opposition" to Japan’s claim for the
"greater challenge" it poses.
Nepal plays a
pivotal role in Sino-India relations. While India’s
"overwhelming presence" is a constant of Nepalese
politics, China’s "unique handicap" lies in shipping
material over Tibet where the costs are "prohibitively
high." As in the case of Sikkim and Bhutan, it is
"difficult to understand" China’s position. While it
has taken for itself the largest buffer, the vast area of Tibet
— destroying its culture in the process and over persistent
Indian protests — India’s objective of a much smaller
buffer, in Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, which does not seek to
alter the traditional culture of these states, faces stiff
Garver offers a
perceptive analysis of what he calls the Sino-Pakistan
"entente cordiale," heavily underscoring the fact that
New Delhi has been "compelled" to acquiesce in a
steady increase in Pakistan’s military capabilities made
possible by Beijing’s "large-scale, sustained, and
comprehensive" assistance. Nor has India succeeded in
weakening the "core" of the entente for the
"mutual trust, familiarity and parallel interests"
which constitute the core remain unchanged by Sino-Indian
rapprochement and are a "major constraint" on India’s
freedom to act.
conclusion the study has drawn, merits consideration:
"unless" India is able to alter its "lacklustre
development record" and works out a "skilled and
confident" programme in the South Asian region, it is
doomed to assume a role "as a junior partner to an emerging
Chinese superpower." High time we got our act together.
credentials are unimpeachable. Starting as a graduate student in
the late 1970s, Garver learnt Chinese language and did his
dissertation work in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Later, in the 1980s
and 1990s, he had brief stints in China, Pakistan and, on more
than one occasion, in India. He interacted with hordes of
scholars, researchers and officials in these countries. The end
result: an in-depth, well-nigh definitive study on Sino-Indian
relations of which he could be legitimately proud.