Modern international relations have entered a period of global change unprecedented in the postwar history. The processes unleashed by the changed role of China and India are making an important contribution to the burgeoning “Eurasian phenomenon,” or the surge in international trade and expectations for the traditionally peripheral landlocked regions of Central Eurasia.
The rise of China and India as world political powers during the last decade and a half has truly changed the world. But for the time being they are playing different roles. China has joined the competition for global leadership and resources. According to many scholars, it is even the driving force of this competition (Russia, unlike China, has been the catalyst of a military and diplomatic exacerbation but not of a global shift). China is certainly one of the few key players in global politics, whose accumulated might enables it to project influence all over the world, including in Asia, Eurasia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Simultaneously Chinese geostrategy is based on Russia’s military might, given the countries’ close and trusting relationship.
India, for its part, is predominantly a regional power. Though active internationally, it does not put forward a global agenda and concepts. However, there are grounds to believe that Indian foreign policy will gradually seek to transcend its traditional boundaries. The first such sign is its infatuation with the Indo-Pacific Region concept (IPR) as an alternative to the APR. But India, Japan and the US have different visions of the IPR idea, which is already a source of concern for China. The concept is being actively promoted by the United States and Japan, which hope to use it as a blueprint for a global arc of containment against China. India needs the IPR as a tool to strengthen its own global standing and, down the line, to legitimize its likely presence outside of its traditional zone of interests in the Indian Ocean.