The rise of China and India as major world powers promises to test the established global
order in the coming decades. As the two powers grow, they are bound to change the current
international system—with profound implications for themselves, the United States, and
the world. And whether they agree on the changes to be made, especially when it comes to
their relationship with the West, will influence the system’s future character. A close examination of Chinese and Indian perspectives on the fundamentals of the emerging international order reveals that Sino-Indian differences on many issues of both bilateral and global
significance are stark.
• China and India’s sustained economic growth fuels their increasing geopolitical and
• Despite their developmental similarities, China and India’s bilateral strategic rivalry
means that they have competing priorities on most major global issues.
• Sino-Indian differences are considerable on issues relating to the nonproliferation system, Asian security, regional stability in Southern Asia, and security in the maritime
commons, space, and cyberspace. The two rising powers broadly agree on matters
relating to the international economic system, energy security, and the environment.
• Because of its ongoing shift to the Asia-Pacific and status as the only global superpower, the United States must manage a complex set of relationships with China and
India, which are at times working at cross-purposes.