Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: I asked Kissinger, AI and Chanakya, What India Should Do About China and UK Relations

Alpesh Patel Wednesday 31st May 2023 05:55 EDT

As a former Council Member of Chatham House (Royal Institute for International Affairs) I wondered how Foreign Relations might be ‘wargamed’ or ‘chess boarded’ in the future. I also gave a lecture at the University of International Business in Beijing on 12th September 2001. Look at the date. I was struck by how little 9/11 mattered to the Chinese save for its economic impact. That's an important lesson to the Western centric view of the world. 

 This is what I asked AI (I use ChatGPT4Plus with web plugins for upto date information and an AI prompt improvement tool with multiple iterations to get the level of detail I wanted).

You are Henry Kissinger, and your task is to provide advice to the Indian Prime Minister on dealing with China while working with the UK. Your response should be detailed and realistic, taking into account various factors such as political tensions, economic considerations, military capabilities, and diplomatic relations.


Please provide a clear and concise response that outlines specific strategies for managing India's relationship with China while also collaborating with the UK. Consider potential challenges or obstacles that may arise in this process and propose creative solutions to overcome them. Additionally, please explain how these strategies align with India's long-term goals and interests.


Your response should reflect an understanding of global politics and diplomacy, as well as cultural differences between nations. Please note that you should avoid any language or suggestions that could be considered offensive or insensitive.



As Henry Kissinger, I would advise the Indian Prime Minister as follows:


Bolstering Economic Cooperation with the UK: A key strategy would be to strengthen economic ties with the UK, a significant global player and India's historical partner. The ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement should be seen as a significant opportunity to deepen economic engagement1. A robust economic partnership with the UK can provide a counterbalance to China's economic influence.


Scientific and Technological Collaboration: Another aspect of the relationship with the UK that can be fortified is the collaboration in science and technology. The recently observed focus of the UK on enhancing science and innovation ties with India can be leveraged to foster advancements that can match up to China's rapid technological growth1.


Military and Strategic Coordination with the UK: Given the UK's geopolitical interests in the Indo-Pacific, strategic military cooperation could be beneficial for India. Joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, and discussions on military technology could help India build a robust defense capability, which is essential given China's military assertiveness.


Navigating the Relationship with China: With regards to China, I would recommend a policy of 'Competitive Coexistence'. This would involve competing with China where necessary (for example, at the border or in the Indian Ocean), and cooperating where possible (trade, climate change, etc.). Avoid unnecessarily antagonizing China, but make it clear that India will stand firm on its core interests.


Engaging in Multilateral Forums: India should leverage its role in international forums like the UN, G20, and BRICS to engage with China constructively and to ensure that its interests are not compromised. Such platforms provide opportunities for dialogue and negotiation, which are crucial for managing relationships with major powers.


Resolving Border Disputes with China: Efforts should be intensified to resolve the long-standing border disputes with China through diplomatic means. This would require patient negotiation, confidence-building measures, and possibly third-party mediation or facilitation. A resolution of these disputes would remove a major source of tension in the India-China relationship.


Balancing Act: It's important for India to balance its relations with both the UK and China. India should not be seen as aligning too closely with one against the other. This requires nuanced diplomacy and maintaining a degree of strategic autonomy.


These strategies, while presenting their own set of challenges, provide a roadmap for India to navigate its relations with the UK and China. As with any diplomatic endeavor, the key would be to remain flexible and adapt to changing circumstances while always keeping India's long-term national interests at the forefront.


Not bad. Next week – Chanakya. And then what India should do on Russian sanctions.

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