China and India, two powers seeking hegemony in Asia?
China and India have a history of a rivalry that could be called profound. Indeed they have shared a number of conflicts, such as the invasion of Tibet by China in 1950, or the Sino-Indian War of 1962, remaining perhaps the most prominent Indian side. Over China and India share more than 3300 km of common borders, remain at odds over the precise delimitation of these after the conflict in 1962. The Indian nuclear tests of May 1998 were strongly criticized on the Chinese side, and claimed as a measure of protection vis-à-vis the growing Chinese threat on the Indian side. The Indian claim on its "legitimate" accession to the Security Council of the UN which was recently revived still raises a clear objection in the Chinese leadership. Still, the twenty-first century, a new era of cooperation beyond this old rivalry seems to have emerged, at least on the surface. In fact, diplomatic relations between the two countries are steadily increasing since the visit to China by the Indian President Narayanan in May 2000. They claim to have inter alia resulted in the signing of an agreement providing for the peaceful settlement of their border dispute. In addition, India and China are experiencing an expansion in terms of their bilateral trade. Almost nonexistent in the early 90s (USD 250 million), this trade would soar to nearly USD 10 billion by 2010 according to the agreements concluded between the two nations Despite these advances in terms of cooperation, which is modest on the diplomatic aspect, but relatively important if one focuses on the economic aspect, it appears that the two powers are increasingly concerned for their safety. The military powers of China and India, respectively the first and third largest world armies in terms of numbers, are booming as much as the economic development permits. This militarization of the region could potentially, in the relatively near future, result in serious consequences for stability in Asia. This situation is building in the background of military power on both sides of the Himalayas. It occurs only through the security concern of the two giants, and is translated into an underlying struggle for hegemony in Asia?