Un nouvel axe Inde-Chine ?

Le rapprochement entre l’Inde et la Chine s’opposerait-il à la puissance des Etats-Unis ? Le Premier ministre chinois Wen Jiabao vient de faire une visite de quatre jours en Inde, au cours de laquelle onze accords ont été signés, et notamment un pacte de coopération stratégique pour cinq ans. Wen Jiabao a en outre annoncé que la Chine appuyerait les efforts de l’Inde pour obtenir un siège permanent au sein d’un Conseil de sécurité élargi, et s’opposerait à l’entrée du Japon, dont la candidature est soutenue par les Etats-Unis.

Avec plus du tiers de la population mondiale et deux des taux de croissance économique les plus élevés de la planète, une alliance entre la Chine et l’Inde pèserait lourd en politique internationale. Ces deux pays sont encore en développement – et une grande partie de leur population demeure très démunie – mais ils ont des ressources considérables dans le domaine des technologies de l’information, à des fins civiles et militaires. Comme l’a déclaré le Premier ministre indien Manmohan Singh pendant la visite de son homologue chinois : ensemble, l’Inde et la Chine peuvent remodeler la scène internationale.

Le rapprochement récent entre ces deux pays marque un changement fondamental par rapport à l’hostilité qui empoisonnait leurs relations depuis un conflit datant de 1962 sur une frontière dans l’Himalaya. Quand je me suis rendu pour la première fois en Inde en tant que représentant du gouvernement américain à la fin des années 70, j’ai été frappé par le fait que mes hôtes voulaient absolument obtenir un statut comparable à celui de la Chine. En 1998, quand l’Inde a effectué des essais nucléaires, le ministre de la Défense a fait allusion à la Chine, puis le Premier ministre de l’époque Atal Bihari Vajpayee a qualifié la Chine d’ennemi numéro un.

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