China Seminar | 12 April 2013

The View from Across the Himalaya: The Trajectory of India’s Relationship with China

Ned Bertz Ned Bertz

India has an obsession with China. Its leaders and residents endlessly compare their country with the giant neighbor to the north. China – Asia’s dragon – is less concerned with whether India’s development is better symbolized by a lumbering elephant or a slumbering – but awakening – tiger. The United States has announced a ‘Pivot to Asia,’ a thinly disguised attempt to contain the rise of these emerging powers. The rest of the globe places its bets as to whether it will be India or China that reigns supreme in the era of a post-American world. Collectively containing more than a third of the world’s population, it is not hyperbole to argue that India and China will have a massive influence on the course of the twenty-first century. This talk will suggest, however, that some of the frequent comparisons made between the Asian rivals might be rather misplaced, an idea that is revealed by a historical perspective on their relationship across the Himalaya.

Dr. Ned Bertz is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Hawai‘i. He has been invited to give public talks in Honolulu and around the United States, in addition to international lectures in Australia, Canada, China, England, India, Kenya, and Scotland. His research focuses on themes of race, nationalism, and diaspora as they intersect in cultural exchanges across the Indian Ocean. He has spent over two years researching in India, and more than five years around different shores of the Indian Ocean. Professor Bertz is on the Executive Council of UHM’s Center for South Asia Studies, and will be teaching in Delhi for fall semester 2013.