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Borders Foreign Policy War and Conflict

Sino-Indian Military CBMs: Efficacy and Influences

Abstract

India and China have yet to resolve their long-standing boundary dispute. But in recent years they have built a carefully crafted architecture of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) to prevent possibilities of any adverse developments along the disputed border. What is the state of current CBMs as perceived by leading experts from India and China? How have these held up to the pressures of recent years? Where do national perceptions merge or contend? What additional measures might be needed to strengthen those CBMs that already exist?

Mil CBMs-Banerjee-Jacob

Published as co-author with Dipankar Banerjee, ‘Sino-Indian Military CBMs: Efficacy and Influences’, in Dipankar Banerjee and Jabin T. Jacob, Military Confidence-Building and India-China Relations: Fighting Distrust (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2013), pp. 1-11.

Categories
Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

China’s ‘Forward Policy’ on Kashmir

Presentation: Jabin T. Jacob, “Interpreting China’s ‘Forward Policy’ on Kashmir,” Conference on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir: Internal Dynamics and Externalities, Department of Strategic and Regional Studies, University of Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, 28 March 2011.

Summary: While Pakistan remains a vital cog of China’s South Asia policy it is important to note that the superlative is not applicable in Sino-Pak relations; rather, a range of factors influence Chinese policy including India, the United States and now the progress and consequences of the American drawdown in Afghanistan. Kashmir is but one factor in the larger Chinese calculus.

Further, as important as China’s geopolitical interests in the region are, it has other wider interests globally on which India, more than Pakistan, is an important actor. Thus, whether on climate change or global trade negotiations and in a variety of multilateral organizations ranging from the Kunming Initiative to the Russia-India-China trilateral and the BRICS grouping, India is a key player that China has to engage with. Against such a backdrop, China tries both to prevent India from truly rising to challenge China as well as to ensure that it can work together with India when necessary. Given Indian sensitivities over Kashmir, China’s Kashmir policy forms a useful leverage with India. But there is a fine balance that China needs to achieve which will be increasingly difficult as India grows more powerful on the world stage and if Pakistan continues to remain unstable. China will therefore, have to make some important choices in this regard, in the future.

Meanwhile, India too can contribute to modifying China’s Kashmir policy in its interests. On the positive side of things, showing greater interest in border trade across the LAC with both Tibet and Xinjiang and through them with the rest of China is one way. But most measures will have to be non-Kashmir-specific in nature including greater openness of the Indian economy as a whole to Chinese investments and trade with China. In the more negative set of actions are of course, classic geopolitical games such as balancing with the US or a host of China’s smaller, neighbours fearful of its rise.

What methods China or India will adopt, however, remain to be seen.

Categories
Borders Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

Five-Party Talks to Guarantee Borders in South Asia

Threats of imminent conflict between India and Pakistan, following the Mumbai attacks of late November 2008, dissipated eventually, given both the sobering reality of nuclear weapons on either side and of India’s failure to temper Pakistan with Operation Parakram following the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. Against a backdrop of confused doctrines such as Cold Start and armed forces that are simply not materially or organizationally equipped for quick reaction, India is left with the usual options of engaging in rhetoric and diplomacy, both departments where Pakistan can more than match India. However, Pakistan’s capability in this latter respect comes from being the smaller power that has only to react to the bigger power, namely India, without having to come up with any initiatives of its own. It follows, therefore, that the way out can only come from India thinking out-of-the-box and coming up with an initiative that will force the other players in the region out of their zones of comfort and force them to walk the talk. What can this new initiative be?

Five-Party Talks – Explaining the Rationale