On June 18, 2017, an Indian patrol disrupted construction of a Chinese road along the disputed border of Sikkim, a remote state in northeast India, reigniting a border conflict between China and India. This incident rapidly evolved into a standoff, with the apparent threat of militarized escalation between the two countries. The tension dissipated without consensus on the substantive issues, but under an interim diplomatic arrangement whereby India withdrew troops and China halted its road building, thus ending a seventy-one-day impasse.
Clearly, in a dynamic Indo-Pacific security environment, Sino-Indian ties have grown more problematic. In an era where geopolitics has returned as a driver of security relationships, a re-merging India and a re-emerging China are in some sense strategic competitors. In this report, authors Bharath Gopalaswamy and Robert Manning examine this increasingly contentious relationship, and recommend opportunities to establish a strategic partnership that will shape the entire region, and the world, in the years to come.