Lessons from the U.S.-China Summit for India-China Relations

Lessons from the U.S.-China Summit for India-China Relations


The recent summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco has raised expectations for stabilizing their strained relationship, especially amid ongoing concerns.

  • Taking place on the sidelines of APEC, the meeting produced tangible outcomes, emphasizing concrete agreements and an attempt to establish a more stable foundation for their interactions.
  • This development holds significant lessons for India, particularly in the context of the persistent India-China border tensions.


GS-02 (International relations)



Mains Question:

Analyze the lessons that India can draw from the recent developments between US and China to manage its own relations with China amid the backdrop of border tensions. (150 words)

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

  • It was established in the year 1989.
  • It consists a total of 21 members of which India is NOT a member.
  • Member Nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States.
  • India had requested membership in APEC, but it was denied as India does not border the Pacific Ocean, which all current members do. However, India was invited to be an observer for the first time in November 2011.

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Main Highlights
  • Challenges
  • Divergent Views on the Nature of Relations
  • Lessons for India-China Relations
  • Way Forward

Main Highlights:

  • The outcomes of the summit, including concrete agreements and efforts to restart military-to-military dialogues, indicate a tangible shift toward stabilizing the U.S.-China relationship.
  • The establishment of a “floor” in their relationship echoes the Bali consensus from 2022, creating a groundwork for more predictable interactions.


  • The article underscores potential disruptive events such as Taiwan’s upcoming elections and the U.S. entering election mode in 2024, which could test the newfound stability.
  • The differing perspectives on Taiwan, with China cautioning against interference and the U.S. opposing changes in the status quo, present ongoing challenges.

Divergent Views on the Nature of Relations:

  • A fundamental disagreement exists regarding whether the U.S. and China are adversaries or partners.
  • President Xi criticizes the competitive framing, emphasizing the need to avoid misinformed policy-making, while President Biden acknowledges competition but aims for responsible management.
  • The divergence in their views raises questions about the long-term sustainability of the stabilizing efforts.

Lessons for India-China Relations:

  • The summit underscores the importance of high-level engagement and open channels, emphasizing the role of dialogue in preventing competition from escalating into conflict.
  • Drawing parallels, the article suggests that India, amid the prolonged India-China border crisis, can benefit from the lessons learned by the U.S. and China in managing their relationship.

Way Forward:

  • While acknowledging the progress in stabilizing the U.S.-China relationship, it is crucial for both nations to address the underlying differences in their perspectives.
  • For India, the focus should be on sustaining dialogue with China and utilizing diplomatic channels to prevent the border tensions from escalating.
  • Emphasizing the importance of constructive engagement and understanding each other’s concerns will be pivotal in building a more predictable and stable relationship.