Across the Himalayas
This chapter introduces the reader to different India–China modes of interactions in South Asia and the Bay of Bengal region. Except for Pakistan, these smaller countries have traditionally been placed under India’s exclusive sphere of influence, but this is rapidly changing as China expands its political, economic, and security presence in the region. Refuting the widely popular, simplistic, and linear reading of Sino-Indian relations in this region—allegedly from a dynamic of friendship and cooperation, in the 1950s, to today’s inevitable competition and future conflict—this chapter explores a more diverse range of interactions. With reference to both historical and contemporary case studies in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Myanmar, this chapter examines four modes of Sino-Indian interaction in South Asia: cooperation, coexistence, competition, and conflict. This offers a more nuanced, and broader perspective on how India–China relations have played out across India’s neighborhood until today, and how they are likely to evolve in the future.