At Elliott School, Professor talks relations between India, China

Calling China and India emerging post-colonial empires, Westminster University professor Dr. Dibyesh Anand said the two countries threaten global peace and minorities within their borders Monday at the Elliott School.

In an event aimed to answer questions of power and identity, Anand, who teaches international relations in London, said that since China and India have large, diverse populations, the diversity is unbalanced because of concentrations of minorities along the borders. To cope with this unbalance, China and India have established a “majority identity from which the minority can break,” he said.

The images and actions of the majority are considered the norm but the minorities are allowed to retain visible traditions to retain their identity. Anand presented the presence of the Muslim skullcap in India as evidence of these identities.

Despite the tensions, post-colonial informal empires do not view the delicate relationship between their country’s majority and minority as neo-colonial, Anand said. Both China and India were themselves colonized by the West, causing both countries to avoid casting themselves in a colonial role, Anand said.

The central authority in both China and India believe that “any compromise [with the minority]. is a slippery slope,” Anand said,
adding China believes this philosophy justifies its crackdown in Tibet.

Despite such tension, the border remains important to the central post-colonial informal empire. In a time where nations are fighting over border, the land becomes a valuable resource. As a result each country has launched a war of perception on their side of the border, Anand said. Why else, Anand asked, would India be commissioning a
six-lane highway near the Chinese border, despite the lack of heavy traffic?

The Indo-Chinese tensions will continue to escalate by border disputes, which may cause a foreign policy situation for America, Anand said.

America would have to “engage these countries to make any change” on issues of international scope, he said.

This event was hosted by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

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