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India s Major Power Status and its Impact on the Relations with the Neighbors Pakistan and China

Satish K*

Department of Political Science, Indraraj Arts, Commerce and Science College, Sillod, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, 431112, India

*Corresponding Author:
Satish K
Department of Political Science
Indraraj Arts, Commerce and Science College
Sillod, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
431112, India
Tel: +919420046791
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: January 09, 2016; Accepted date: January 23, 2016; Published date: January 29, 2016

Citation: Satish K (2016) India’s Major Power Status and its Impact on the Relations with the Neighbors Pakistan and China. Arts Social Sci J 7:157. doi:10.4172/2151-6200.1000157

Copyright: © 2016 Satish K. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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With the consideration of India’s rise as a great power and acquisition of major power status at international level, this paper trying to focus on India’s relations with the neighbors who haves the natural impact on its strategy or foreign policy. With the increasing influence and accession of important role in international politics consequently, India, poised a Challenge for the regional dynamics and stable bilateral relations with the neighbors. Although there are rare chances for the change in this fundamental balance, Pakistan is overwhelming and being anxious by the growing military power of India. So the strategic outlook of Pakistan is unchanged towards India. In the case of China it is a matching rival for India haves strong military capabilities as well as nuclear weapons. By the ultimate overview we can see these evenly conventional, diplomatic and nuclear forces are ensuring the relative regional stability.


India’s rise as great power; Strategic problems neighbors Pakistan and China; Relative regional stability

The Problem of Pakistan

By the partition in 1947, India has its Prodigal twin Pakistan placed at its very close geographically. So India has most frequently troubled and problematic political ties with this traditional antagonist Neighbor. India’s rise as a great power or its major power role will have its most immediate impact on the extremely dangerous stalemate exists in between these two neighbors. There are many security concerns for Pakistan itself, as Pakistan was one of the key supporter state of Taliban in Afghanistan but the turn of time taken place while the Pak army is fighting a de facto civil war against these radicals now a day. Most recently the Teharik-e-Talibans did very inhuman and coward attack on Pakistan’s Army public school in Peshawar which caused a massive loss of lives counted 125 children. Even now Pakistan is failed to control the elements supporting to terrorist organizations inside the country, which are also responsible for the periodic terrorist attacks on India. Just after the two days of Peshawar incident The Pakistani court announced the bail for Lakhvi it was complete double standard policy of Pakistan who assumed that the attack on Pakistani lives is sin made by those satins and the same kind of attack takes place in Mumbai, whether is it Jehad?. And an accused person as a mastermind is innocent? These types of several reasons are responsible for the distress in the relationship of these states. Also it leads to the regional crisis.

India and Pakistan were engaged in the wars at regular intervals since 1965, 1971, 1998 due to Pakistan’s support to the extremist ant insurgents in the disputed Indian Territory Jammu and Kashmir. The unrest continues after nuclear tests from both sides in the year of 1998 following the Islamabad’s statement by Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed that, ‘We will not hesitate to use any weapon in our arsenal to defend our territorial integrity’. Major terrorist attack on Jammu and Kashmir in Oct 2001 followed by the attack on Parliament in Dec 2001 threatened the war, though merely resulted in major military manoeuvres by India, code-named Operation Parakram [1]. The lack of military retaliation by India despite grave provocation seems to suggest that India is successfully deterred by Pakistan’s nuclear capability and this in turn only fuels the eagerness of some elements within Pakistan to provoke India. Pakistan has adopted an “asymmetric nuclear escalation posture”, which has deterred Indian conventional military power and thus enabled Pakistan’s ‘aggressive strategy of bleeding India by a “thousand cuts” with little fear of significant retaliation’. If we will try to compare these states, Pakistan is not even one fourth of India while checking the numbers India is more than four time of Pakistan in size and in terms of population it is 8 times greater than Pak [2]. “As Pakistan averages only 300 miles in width, it is susceptible to a central assault that would split the country in two. A number of important Pakistani cities are close to the international border in the Indus River basin. As Pakistan is thus extremely vulnerable to conventional attack by India’s larger military, it defines such an attack as an existential threat to the Pakistani state [3].” Pakistani Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai thus outlined that Pakistan would use its nuclear weapons if: India attacks Pakistan and conquers a large part of its territory; India destroys a large part of Pakistan’s land or air forces; India blockades Pakistan in an effort to strangle it economically; or, India pushes Pakistan into a state of political destabilization. This asymmetric escalation posture is designed for a rapid first use of nuclear weapons against conventional attacks, thus leaving India without the ability to punish terrorist attacks through conventional retaliation [4]. As elements within Pakistan continue to provoke India, this creates an extremely dangerous imbalance reliant on India’s restraint to maintain peace. Vipin Narang notes that, ‘Scholars who study the South Asian nuclear balance have argued that if a limited clash between India and Pakistan were to expand into a full-scale conventional war, escalation to the nuclear level would likely result’. Most of the “war-game” scenarios played out by the US military also foresee any conventional conflict between India and Pakistan escalating to the use of nuclear weapons within the first 12 days. A new analysis in this regard revealed the probable threats for entire globe as if the conflict between India and Pakistan leads to use 100 nuclear bombs to drop on main industrial and crowded cities from both sides would turn in to slaughter of 20 million innocent people by blasts, fire and radiations [5]. Moreover the explosions can produce the massive smoke which would cripple global farms and environment this “nuclear winter” would reduce or eliminate agricultural production over vast areas, simultaneously decreasing crop yields nearly everywhere. Approximately one billion people worldwide today live on marginal food supplies and would be directly threatened with starvation. While some analysts maintain that nuclear weapons would be used in only a measured way, the chaos, fear and interruption of communications that would follow nuclear war’s commencement leads some to doubt that attacks would be limited in any rational manner [6]. ‘Additionally, Pakistan could face a decision to use its entire nuclear arsenal quickly or lose it to Indian forces which seize its military bases. Thus, unrestrained nuclear war in South Asia potentially has cataclysmic regional and global consequences’. Aftermath of Pakistani stand off by operation Parakram in 2001 Indian army announced a new strategy of limited war called Cold Start Doctrine. The aim was quite clear that it would allow to conventional retaliation without posing a threat to nuclear utilization in war or an existential threat to Pakistan. Under this doctrine Indian army would avoid major blow to Pakistan, instead make a mere territorial gains of 70-80 km that could provide the asset for negotiations after the conflict. This doctrine was the counterstrategy against the justification of “regime survival” of Pakistan for the use of Nuclear weapons. . However, Walter Ladwig III foresees that, ‘An operational Cold Start capability could lead Pakistan to lower its nuclear red line, put its nuclear weapons on a higher state of readiness, develop tactical nuclear weapons, or undertake some equally destabilizing course of action’. The support of China for Pakistan to improving its nuclear ability is the problem on one hand and the danger of Pakistani nuclear weapon could fall in the unsafe hands like militant elements, is on another. The joint activities of China and Pakistan against India are counter balanced by the US support to India since 2008, immediately after the 26/11/2008 attack on Mumbai by Pakistani Militants of Lashkar-e- Taiba. India was unable to respond with the conventional military strikes because any attack by India might accentuate the chances of nuclear was because the basic problem was with the unwillingness of the Pakistan to eradicate terrorism from its surface. Some of the extremist elements still not convinced even after the Cruel rebuff from the terrorists by Peshawar Massacre. Unfortunately, there is no easy path to stabilizing reform within Pakistan. Pakistan essentially has a feudal political establishment, run by a civilian aristocracy of wealthy agricultural landowners and industrialists, and the Army. The main problem with the Pakistani polity is that there is no deep rooted ideological base or the foresight of development in terms of international economic share by any political party or government while it is still running on the principles of the religion and medieval era mindsets [7]. Domestically, the Army is the ultimate power-broker between the political parties, and has acted on several occasions to remove the party in power. As successive governments have received bailouts from international financial institutions, neither the civilian political elites nor the Army has felt any real incentive to institute fundamental change. For the time being, the Army is objectively the most stable and responsible force to control the country. The Pakistani military is the only state institution that works effectively, and without it Pakistan would probably have disintegrated long ago. “The dire alternatives are representatives of the rising wave of radical Islam who arose from the madrassas under the patronage of General Zia ul-Haq, and gained their training in the US-backed mujahedeen struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. These elements, and more recent jihadist recruits, are currently involved in Kashmiri terrorist organizations like Jaysh-e-Mohammad, and Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as in the Afghani and Pakistani Taliban which occupy Pakistan’s border provinces. While the Pakistani Army and intelligence services are often unwilling to directly challenge these forces (and, indeed, currently cultivate relations with the Kashmiri groups and the Afghani Taliban).” Both the strategic partners US and Pak have got the returns as side effects by the terrorists attacks on their own country.

On the other side Pakistan is still continuing the support to the separatist groups in Kashmir and violated seize fire at LAC hundreds of times in this running year. Many time Pakistani military fired on the civilian area near borders. Many precious soldiers and military officers of India were killed in these fires. As India is rising as a great power and projecting itself as a major actor in South Asia through the regional forums like SAARC (2014) the insecurity of Pakistan increasing proportionally. The patience of India has also a limit the continuous terrorist activities and seize-fires by Pakistan will lessen its love for peace. Recently, The Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to dialogue with the Pak Authority due to their disrespect to Indian initiatives for the peaceful and friendly relations with the Pakistan. But at the time of Peshawar attack the Indian PM condemn the attacks and said we r the sufferer and having deep pain for those children were killed in attack. Also he announced the Shradhanjali by all schools of India and made call to Pak PM to console. On the humanity ground India is always at the two steps ahead but Pakistan proved itself immature again while sanctioned bail for the mastermind in Mumbai attacks.

Hopefully it would be the beginning of new era that both states will rely on the path of peaceful settlements of disputes and would be dependent on the diplomatic means to gain the mutual interests instead of conflicts, promoting the militants and terrorists. With the rise of India as a great power positive perception of Pakistan would help to improve its bilateral cooperation with India and it would help Pakistan to attain its gradual economic development.

The Challenge of China

On the greater strategic stage, we can underscore very strong implications of India’s rise as a great power in this region specifically when we will study the relationship of these two Asian giants. Besides the significant interdependence between these states, there is a sharp rivalry for the dominance is going on. China is one of the major trading partner of India with more than 60 billion bilateral trade while Indian Raw material and Chinese technology and Manufacturing contributes very large share in International economy. China has very vast and mutual economic gain from India. But, strategically, a strong and influential India helps to create a multi polar world, consistent with Chinese interests, although China increasingly regards India as its main Asian rival. China is thus involved and busy in a complex power game to encircle India by supporting Pakistan, by provoking Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh against India. China has armed Pakistan with nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology, and has built ‘strong military-to-military ties with Burma, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka as part of what Indians see as a strategy to tie India down, Gulliver-like, in its region’ [8]. One of the very serious moves of china in this regard is its “String of Pearls Policy” in Indian Ocean Region [9]. It is organized effort of China to arrest the Indian natural dominance over this region. Comparatively China is ahead of India in the numbers of Warheads and ships but the actual application and practical or operational experience of Indian Navy is far more than the China. So it is not easy for China to constraint Indian naval power and its hegemonic position in IOR. Meanwhile, on the border areas China continues uttering its claim on the vast Indian Territory. Over past years since from the Sino-Indian war in1962, thousands of incidents happened on border areas which soaring the relations between these two states. From last few months increased friction in the border area of Sino- India has led to incursions by Chinese troops and wounding of several Indian border police, and a build-up of military forces on both sides, as Beijing has been uncharacteristically assertive in its claims to sections of India’s Arunachal Pradesh state. In response India moved its 30000 troops and latest warplanes with modern arms in this area. China rejects the McMahon Line that forms the border, and places the traditional Sino-Indian border at the base of the Himalayan foothills. Stratfor’s George Friedman argues that, for China, control of Tibet is of vital strategic importance, providing a barrier against its populous and economically and militarily advancing neighbor. The high mountain passes of Tibet provide virtually impenetrable terrain which is easy to protect militarily. China has a strong suspicion about India that along to its south frontier, in India there is one of the most crowded population areas and if china were to withdraw this population could migrate in to Tibet. Then Tibet could slowly turn in to beachhead for Indian power which would be able to abut Sichuan and Yunnan provinces directly. Thus the Chinese see control over Tibet is the matter of fundamental national security. They also see the 1959 decision by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to give asylum to the Dalai Lama, and the continuing support for the Tibetan government-in-exile, as perpetuating this threat. Thus, ‘Beijing’s price for a border settlement and for normalization of ties with India, appears to be that India dismantle the Tibetan settlement in Dharamshala and request the Dalai Lama take up residence in another country’ [10].

On a broader view China is depending upon the IOR and South China Sea for its energy requirements. Over all 80% of its energy supply travels through main transit zones and neck blocks in IOR like Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Malacca along with most important Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs). Chinese leaders increasingly fear that adversaries could blockade these sea lanes and strategic bottlenecks and are thus moving to an offshore defence policy that will include “distant ocean defence”. China’s actions, however are based on the arguments of self-preservation of energy and economic security, it may impinge upon India’s interests and destabilize relations. Also it raises a challenge for regional balance of power in South Asia. According to a report by US defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, ‘China is building strategic relationships along the sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea in a way that suggests defensive and offensive positioning to protect China’s energy interests’. Jason Blazevic argues that, following “defensive realist” strategies, each nation will attempt to gain power for self-preservation and other nations will see this move as a strategic threat, thus decreasing collective security [11]. China emerged as the biggest military spender in the Asia-Pacific in 2006, and now has the fourth-largest defence expenditure in the world. Its navy is also considered the third-largest in the world behind only the US and Russia, and is superior to the Indian Navy. In this context, India perceives Chinese actions as power maximization, and fears that China’s forward-basing strategy will be used to contain India and rapidly achieve hegemony in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, China and India have adopted nuclear “assured retaliation” postures (what they sometimes refer to as “credible minimum deterrence”), which rely on a small but secure and survivable nuclear force that assures a retaliatory strike against a primary opponent. In many ways, this seems like the most stable aspect of the competition between India and China. Meanwhile, analysts like Stephen Walt expect that China will follow a consistent but non-provocative build-up of its military capabilities and diplomatic alliances over the long-term, aiming to gradually edge the United States out of a hegemonic position. India is likely to mirror this build-up and thus tension, and possible low-level confrontation, may result on the India-China border and in the Indian Ocean region.


India’s rise as a great power in this region and major power status at the international level is quite clear after the recognition and belief of US in India that it could help to maintain the global peace and balance of power. India projected its power beyond its borders especially in IOR which is the central stage of world politics now days. India successfully protected its interests against China’s String of Pearl policy By Look East: and Act East policy Proclaimed by Indian officials. The ascending power score of India lays sure strategic impact on the neighbors, Pakistan and China. For contrasting reasons, however, this impact may not change the fundamental power balance that exists today. Pakistan is already overwhelmed by the military strength of India, and thus its primary defences are the threat of nuclear exchange or state disintegration – neither of which will definitely be undermined by rising Indian power.

In contrast, China and India will have increasingly complex and intertwined relations, but the economic and strategic issues that bind them and the evenly-matched nature of their conventional and nuclear forces are likely to maintain relative peace and strategic stability. India sees itself as an emerging great power in an increasingly multi-power world, and is thus maintaining a strategy of poly-alignment. With the balance of forces developing as they are, that ambition is likely to become a reality. Ultimately the overlapping of interests and undisputed dominance over this region are the uncertain situations which are not possible to arrive in near future.


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