While economic diplomacy is the mainstay, China’s maritime presence in the Middle East is also growing and together these support a clear and strong political message on China’s domestic and foreign policy interests that countries in the region are reluctant to contest.
The political, social and security implications do not look pretty for countries participating in the BRI. New Delhi might, however, consider if absolute opposition to the BRI is ultimately doing either its relationship with China or its own global image any long-term good.
General elections due next year in India are an opportunity for political parties to turn greater attention towards foreign policy issues and elevate the level of discussion on China in the popular domain.
When complaints are raised against BRI, Beijing is quick to publicly offer to renegotiate terms. India, meanwhile, is known in South Asia more for its big brotherly attitude and the lack of synergy and capacity to implement its promises.
How Indian and Indonesian leaders promote and support true federalism, equality in inter-ethnic relations, religious freedoms and civil and political rights as well as manage class differences and conflict at home will have consequences for China
India can expect LAC incursions by China to continue, even pick up pace, and to display a qualitatively different nature in the coming months and years.
While India had good reasons to boycott China’s showcase event in Beijing, it might nevertheless have missed an opportunity to convey its concerns in a more forceful and public manner.
China is turning into a serious challenger to India in Bangladesh in the economic and military domains and is growing in strength in the political dimension, too.
India needs to give Ladakh greater agency in order to ensure that this region can function as its pivot to Central Asia and to challenge Chinese domination there.