In This Review

Protracted Contest: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth Century
Protracted Contest: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth Century
By John W. Garver
University of Washington Press, 2001, 450 pp

India and China have long had a contested relationship. This thoughtful account dissects that connection from the early days of India's independence, when its prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, extended a helping hand to Mao, through the border conflicts, and on to the complexities after the Cold War. Garver shows how India grossly overestimated the value of its initial help to China, to the point that Nehru felt he could ignore the territorial trade-offs that might have resolved border problems. India never fully recovered from the shock of the Chinese victory in the 1962 border clash; its diplomatic fortunes then steadily sank as it lost status within the developing world for its timid status quo positions and its increasing reliance on Moscow. In contrast, Beijing was seen as both a champion of radical change and a truly independent power. Garver documents how the Chinese outmaneuvered the Indians in South Asia by forging ties with Pakistan, Burma, and the Himalayan states. Now, the contest will be resolved only if India accepts Chinese hegemony in South Asia or if China pulls back to leave the subcontinent for India to dominate. Garver suspects that the former is more likely.