Relations between China and India have thawed since the beginning of this century, and there has been a lot of talk about common interests, especially on the Indian side. Holslag analyzes the forces that are drawing the two nations closer, such as growing trade and investment ties, "road diplomacy" (tacit cooperation on opening up transportation routes in places such as Myanmar and Nepal), and shared concerns over the unstable buffer states of Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. But he also points out that the relationship remains dominated by long-standing conflicts of interest over borders, Tibet, naval power in the Indian Ocean, influence in Southeast Asia, and the nuclear balance. The public's image in each country of the other is negative, making strategic cooperation harder. Even if a much-discussed bilateral free-trade agreement were signed and the border issues settled, the two powers, Holslag argues, would continue to be opponents-a rivalry that could work to the United States' advantage in the region.
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