Q) The growing importance and emphasis of unity in Asia, demands progressive relationships among countries especially India and China and where both the countries need to come together for a multilateral, rules-based world order. Discuss.

Why this Question?

Issue of current importance.

Key demand of the Question 

Discuss the need of cooperation between India and China for a rules-based world order.


Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.


Start with a context of the question.


In the first part, discuss the need for cooperation between India and China.

In the next part, write about ways to achieve this cooperation. 


Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

The world is undergoing a political, economic and social transformation. It is marked by the rise and dominance of Asian economy, politics and culture. The growing importance and emphasis of unity in Asia demands progressive relationships among countries especially India and China. Both countries represent 40% of the world and are the centres of growth in Asia. Thus, the relationship between two countries is paramount to the realization of the Asian century and a rule based global order.

Need of cooperation between India and China for a rules-based world order:

  1. Ensuring multilateral trading system: It is important to defend the rules-based multilateral trading system. The World Trade Organisation (WTO), is under assault from the world’s largest economy, the US through unilateral measures. The US has stalled appointments of members in the appellate body of WTO’s dispute. India and China need to work together to work against unilateralism.
  2. Success of global organisations: China and India can strengthen coordination in global institutions to protect their national interests. Global Organisations like Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, United Nations, etc. are centres for geo-economics and geo-politics. These platforms should be used by both nations to cooperate with each other and work together.
  3. Pressure groups: The existing international mechanism has failed to address the current challenges like trade disputes, refugee crisis. It is mainly because the dominant power of the current world system has lost the capacity to maintain the stability of the world order. India and China should collaborate in terms of looking into each other’s sensitivities. It would be more beneficial when they cooperate to emerge as a pressure group in the world.
  4. Regional integration:  China and India can play pivotal roles in regional and global affairs in the 21st century. It is important that two nations should jointly defend economic rules-based order and multilateralism. This would lead to Asian integration which is a common responsibility of China and India. It is important to deal with issues of common concern such as border disputes in a healthy and strategic way.
  5. Economic significance: Asia is experiencing robust economic performance over the three decades, spearheaded by India and China. Robust growth can’t be realised without economic development of the two countries and moving millions of people in the region out of poverty. Both nations must enhance bilateral relations in a positive way leading to a path of development.

Suggestions to enhance Cooperation

  1. Experts group: There must be establishment of bilateral groups with experts from both countries who would work out a plan for further cooperation. The aim should be to go beyond zero-sum thinking and employ a co-operative attitude to resolve their differences and address common regional challenges.
  2. Boundary dispute resolution: India-China border and other territorial disputes, along with the issue of Tibet, restrict the establishment of political trust. Two nations must work together for promotion of greater coordination to resolve boundary disputes among two nations.
  3. Multi-Sector Co-operation: The development of economic co-operation is the main pillar of India-China relations. Despite the development that has occurred so far, there are still many constraints in bilateral relations. There is a huge opportunity to expand the size of both markets and deepen the economic interdependence. Correction of bilateral trade is important to ensure mutual economic development.
  4. Strategic Partners: China and India should become strategic partners in the true sense, rather than viewing each other as hostile competitors. To achieve the goal of co-operation based on common interests, China and India should first adjust their view of each other. Both nations should view each other as real strategic partners.
  5. Shedding cold war mentality: The key to achieving this partnership is to abolish both the cold war mentality. India and China should not see South Asia or East Asia as being solely under their respective spheres of influence. China should understand that India is an important player in Asia.

Although the constraints exist, there is still a positive future, as the two countries share many common interests. For example, their economic structures are complementary. China is a manufacturing power and India is a major worldwide player in the service industry. Both countries can share their experiences and support each other in approaching these. Without harmony among two nations, both nations and the world cannot progress much.