The relationship between India and China has been an uneasy one—from border disputes to the increase of Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean to the battle for resources in Africa.
Yet, foreign minister S.M. Krishna would do well to discuss free trade talks with his Chinese counterparts during his visit to Beijing this week. Trade between the two rising Asian powers has been growing at explosive rates, though both the composition of trade—India ships raw materials while China sends finished products—and the growing Indian trade deficit are causes for worry. China’s currency policy also hurts Indian exports to the developed markets.
Our bonds with China will have to be nuanced, with a clear understanding that our interests collide in some areas and are aligned in others. Economic links between emerging Asia’s two biggest and dynamic economies are bound to get stronger.
A trade agreement that reduces tariffs and minimizes non-tariff barriers is a logical step.