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VII. Sino-Indian Relations: Security Dilemma, Ideological Polarization, or Cooperation Based on 'Comprehensive Security'?

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Geopolitics in Central Asia are not wholly determined by its giant neighbors China, India, and Russia, but the strategic approaches adopted by these three countries have a major impact on the dynamics of Central Asia. This contribution aims to throw more light on the nature of the strategic and security discourse between China and India as one way to increase our understanding of the context in which Central Asian states operate. Despite globalization, Asian governments tend to cling to static approaches. China in particular emphasizes the role of "large powers" (daguo) in determining the global structure, and regards itself as one of those large powers. Cooperation with other powers demands a minimum level of agreement on common goals for the future global system, but recent emphasis on moral, and thus ideological elements in US global strategies has the potential to reimpose ideological polarization on the global system. Countries in Southeast or Central Asia tend to adopt policies of diversification by strengthening their links with all major global powers, including the United States, hoping to avoid polarization while at the same time staying clear of bandwagoning. This is one of the reasons why the New Great Game cannot simply be described in terms of Great Powers that engage among themselves in maneuvers of bandwagoning and balancing. Sharing concepts such as "comprehensive security" may provide greater leeway for policymakers who do not wish to become prisoners of man-made dilemmas. Nineteenth-century concepts of balance of power seem no shining beacon for policymakers of Eurasia and the United States in the twenty-first century.


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