Prospects for Sino-Indian Trans-border Economic Linkages

International Studies, 30 June 2005

The political thrust given to integrating southwestern China with the extended regional eco-nomy marks the latest shift in the country's regional development policy. China's develop-mental priorities have swung from a focus on inland development during the Mao years to Deng's coast-led strategy and most recently back again to the inland provinces under the Western development programme. Noteworthy in this context are the imperatives driving China's sub-regional initiatives in the region, particularly the Kunming Initiative, which seeks to strengthen regional economic cooperation between the contiguous regions of India's Northeast, China's Southwest, Myanmar and Bangladesh. There is clearly a strong case for fully exploring potential for trans-border linkages in trade, tourism and transport within this quadrant. Further, China's southern thrust coincides with India's own domestic impera-tive of strengthening the external orientation of the Northeast. These developments present opportunities as also challenges to India while it is willing to engage China bilaterally but not sub-regionally.