ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Challenge for India

Knowing Contemporary China

India’s China Challenge: A Journey through China’s Rise and What It Means for India by Ananth Krishnan, New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2020; pp 417, 599.

 

The timing of this book could not have been more propitious. Since April 2020, when China “allegedly” occupied about 1,000 square kilometres (sq km) of “contested” territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), several ­Indians seem to have emerged as experts on China. Many of them can be found on India’s television channels. What they have exposed, however, is the abysmal state of knowledge on China in the country (Ghosh 2020; Ghosh and Sen 2021). It is a truism that loses little potency in repetition: compared to the West, Chinese society remains largely opaque to us. Against this background, Ananth Krishnan’s India’s China Challenge: A Journey through China’s Rise and What It Means for India will do much to quench the thirst of Indian readers curious to know more about contemporary China. Krishnan was the long-time China correspondent for the Hindu newspaper and India Today weekly. Based out of Beijing, his decade-long sting in China allowed him to travel to and report from every province in the country. It is these experiences and insights that form the bedrock of India’s China Challenge.

To put the importance of the book in perspective, a recent statement by S Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, may be pertinent. During his keynote address for the 13th All India Conference of China Studies (28 January 2021), he noted: 

For all the differences and disagreements that we may have had on the boundary, the central fact was that border areas still remained fundamentally peaceful. The last loss of life before 2020 was, in fact, as far back as 1975. That is why the events in Eastern Ladakh last year have so profoundly disturbed the relationship. ... [T]hree mutuals—mutual respect, mutual sensitivity, and mutual interests—are its determining factors. ... The India–China relationship is today truly at a crossroads. ... Respecting the three mutuals ... will surely help us make the right decisions. (MEA 2021)

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Updated On : 17th Apr, 2021

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