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One year on: Shifting western perceptions of China and India

Article by Dr Chris Ogden

February 24, 2023

One year on: Shifting western perceptions of China and India

The war in Ukraine has had a revealing impact concerning how the West perceives Asia’s two behemoths, China and India, as well as the evolving strategic expectations that the US, the UK and others now have towards these two returning great powers.


Towards Beijing, Western insecurities have come to the fore. Not only of an emergent Moscow-Beijing axis that could herald the coming of a Second Cold War, but also a concern that if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not effectively counteracted, China will then feel emboldened to attack Taiwan. Taken together, these concerns flow into a larger fear that the existing liberal international order is about to be eclipsed by an authoritarian alternative. As a result, international criticism has risen vis-à-vis any actions by China. 


Concerning New Delhi, Western assumptions that India would be naturally aligned with the world’s democracies have been deeply challenged. Moscow’s military action has instead revealed India’s long standing strategic partnership with Russia, as shown by the former’s unwillingness to criticise the latter’s actions in Ukraine. Such a stance has forced Western governments and analysts to reassess their understanding of India’s position in international affairs. And no longer can they strategically take New Delhi for granted.

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