The 21st century witnessed the emergence of a complex triangular relationship between China, India, and the United States, characterized by shifting dynamics and evolving alliances.

Initially, each nation maintained cooperative stances, but over time, this triangular relationship has undergone significant transformations, impacting global geopolitics.


Changing Pattern: Factors and Perspectives

US-China Relationship: Historical Shifting Alliances
Historical perspective: Early 19th century American missionaries’ presence in China generated empathy.
World War II: US support for Chinese nationalists against Japanese occupation.
Cold War dynamics: Initial isolation of communist China followed by collaboration against the Soviet Union.
Turn of the 21st century: US oscillation between perceiving China as a potential threat and as a responsible global stakeholder.

India-China Relationship: Complex Trajectory
Early diplomatic relations: India’s pioneering non-socialist bloc country recognition of PRC in 1950.
Border dispute resolution: 2005 agreement on political criteria, facilitating increased bilateral trade.
Multilateral coordination: Joint efforts in BRICS, RIC, SCO, WTO, climate change negotiations, etc.

India’s multipolarity aspirations and challenges in China’s dominance-seeking initiatives.

India-US Relationship: Shifting from Turbulence to Transformation
Historical turbulence: Varied phases in the bilateral relationship over 75 years.
Indo-US strategic partnership: Strengthening ties in the Indo-Pacific, economic collaboration, and global strategic alliance.
Emergence of the Quad: Evolving from humanitarian cooperation to a strategic counterbalance against Chinese influence.
India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Alliance: A contrast to the growing rivalry in other relationships.


Charting a Balanced Trajectory for India in the Triangular Complex

The evolving dynamics of the China-India-US triangular relationship underscores the intricate interplay of historical legacies, economic interests, and geopolitical ambitions.

In navigating this intricate landscape, India should adopt a pragmatic approach, forging strategic partnerships that align with its national interests while reciprocating in kind.

As the world order continues to evolve, India must remain vigilant, leveraging its relationships with China and the US to secure its position on the global stage and foster a more stable international environment.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish August 12, 2023