In this article, I investigate the impact that the rise of regional powers as global players has had on the nature of international conflict, and also the negotiating table. I focus specifically on China and India, and analyze their negotiating behavior in two areas: one multilateral, the other regional. Despite the apparent similarities that one might assume at first glance, the article points to some significant points of difference between these two players. The differences are important from a policy perspective, besides being theoretically interesting. The argument proceeds in five parts. The first section explains the reasoning behind the case selection, with respect to the countries (China and India) as well as issue‐areas (multilateral trade governance, and the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI]). It also outlines the main hypotheses in Section 1. Section 2 investigates the two hypotheses about the negotiation behaviors of China and India in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Section 3 takes on a similar comparison with reference to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Section 4 presents the conclusions of the study, and Section 5 offers policy recommendations.