China’s and India’s search for international status through the UN system: competition and complementarity


As rising powers, China and India both perceive the United Nations as a primary venue for status seeking, and both express pride in narrating the ways in which they have supported the UN Charter and the maintenance of international peace and security. Given the competitive dynamic between these two countries, we might expect this competition to extend to their activities in global governance. In this article, Profs Sullivan de Estrada and Foot develop and apply the concepts of ‘status domain’ and ‘status good characteristics’ to examine the extent to which Sino-Indian status competition is exacerbated or mitigated in three status-bearing areas: UN peacekeeping operations, Security Council membership, and Security Council behaviour. They find that status competition between the two countries, at least within the UN, is not always the dominant outcome. International organizations that allow for separate status domains, and also for the expression of a shared global vision, can mitigate status competition between states.

Prof Kate Sullivan de Estrada is Associate Professor in the International Relations of South AsiaProfessor Rosemary Foot is Senior Research Fellow in International Relations, DPIR, Emeritus Fellow St Antony's College