India’s Geostrategy and China: Mackinder versus Mahan?

Zorawar Daulet Singh is an author and foreign affairs analyst and a Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. His recent books include India China Relations: The Border Issue and Beyond and Chasing the Dragon: Will India Catch up with China? Previously he was a Fellow at the Centre for Policy Alternatives in New Delhi. Zorawar holds a PhD in international relations from King’s College London, a M.A. in international relations from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University and a B.Sc. from the University of London where he majored in economics and finance.
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  • July 2013

    Two recent events exemplify India’s geopolitical dilemma. In early April 2013, it was reported that Chinese submarines had been conducting forays in the Indian Ocean that were apparently picked up by US Navy sonar.1 A few weeks later, there was a Chinese intrusion in the western sector where a platoon of Chinese troops entered the Depsang Valley area of eastern Ladakh.2 While the status quo ante was peacefully attained, the Ladakh incident is a vivid reminder of the abiding implications of an unresolved Himalayan dispute. Collectively, what both these events also evoke is a deeper contestation in India’s geostrategy vis-à-vis China. India’s geostrategy is being contested by Mackinder and Mahanian images, and some of India’s strategic ambivalence can be traced to the lack of a welldefined geopolitical image to ground this debate.

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