Economic Competition: India’s rapidly growing economy presents a significant challenge to China’s economic dominance in Asia. As India’s economy expands, it becomes a formidable competitor in terms of attracting investments, trade, and influence in the region. China is wary of losing economic ground to India.
Economic Interdependence: China and India are major trading partners. China benefits from India’s economic growth as it provides a large market for Chinese goods and services. A conflict involving military capabilities could disrupt this economic interdependence, harming China’s interests.
Global Image: China is sensitive to its global image and seeks to portray itself as a responsible global power. Engaging in military conflicts or appearing confrontational could damage China’s reputation on the world stage. Focusing on economic cooperation allows China to maintain a more positive image.
Regional Stability: China recognizes that a militarily strong India could potentially destabilize the region, leading to conflicts and security challenges. By promoting economic ties and cooperation, China aims to maintain stability in the region, which is essential for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other economic interests.
Soft Power Diplomacy:China has been using economic investments and partnerships as a form of “soft power” diplomacy in many countries, including India’s neighboring countries. This approach, often referred to as “debt-trap diplomacy,” can be more effective in achieving China’s goals than military aggression.
Practicality: Engaging in military conflicts, especially with a nuclear-armed neighbor like India, carries significant risks and uncertainties. It is a more practical approach for China to focus on economic growth and cooperation, which can yield more predictable and stable outcomes.
Recent events, such as the Doklam standoff in 2017 and the Galwan Valley clash in 2020, have highlighted the risks associated with military confrontations. China’s emphasis on India’s economic growth reflects a strategic choice to prioritize stability, economic interests, and global image over military competition.