On the one hand, booming bilateral trade, increasing people-to-people contact and a sustained exchange of high-level visits indicate a maturing of ties. India-China trade for the first six months of the year was worth US$29 billion, a 69% rise over the figure for the same time period in 2007.
This year Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Beijing and the leaders of the two countries have also had ample opportunities to meet on the sidelines of multilateral forums. In addition, the second in a series of joint military exercises is currently being planned, a development that is rich in symbolism – alluding to a new phase in cross-border ties between armies that fought a war in 1962.
On the other hand, the past two years have seen resurgent suspicions and areas of tension emerge in the cross-Himalayan diplomatic dance in which the neighboring countries are engaged.
In India, the sincerity of China’s intentions have been called into question following a series of alleged incursions across the eastern sector of the border by Chinese troops and a perceived hardening of Beijing’s stance on Arunachal Pradesh.