Counter-Terrorism in South Asia: China’s Win-Win Triangle

China’s position on terrorism occurring outside its borders is based on its own specific and national concerns about the unrest in Xinjiang and legitimating its responses rather than acceptance of any international standard or norm of understanding or dealing with terrorism. The Chinese statements on the 16 December 2014 Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan/Pakistani Taliban attack on a Pakistan Army-run school in Peshawar that resulted in the death of 145 people, including 132 children,[1] is a case in point. The Chinese reactions to the attack offers further evidence that Beijing has decided to buy into and support Pakistan’s dual approach on terrorism – countering those who fight against Pakistan on the one hand and supporting those who fight Pakistan’s enemies, namely, the US and India, on the other. This in turn should throw up questions for India about the wisdom of its annual counter-terrorism exercises with China. Read more

Advertisements

Of Perceptions and Policies

Book Review: Shishir Gupta, The Himalayan Face-Off: Chinese Assertion and the Indian Riposte (Gurgaon: Hachette India, 2014).

Shishir Gupta says clearly at the beginning that the ‘book is not about China but its policies and mindset towards India as perceived by the top Indian leadership, political parties and the public’ (p. xi). Within this framework he tries to give an organized picture of the ebb and flow of Sino-Indian relations during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime. While the coverage ends sometime in 2013 well before the UPA regime ended its tenure, the change of regime in New Delhi does not materially alter the nature of relations with China and Gupta by highlighting in his title, the fact that there has been an ‘Indian Riposte’ to ‘Chinese Assertion’ deserves full credit for standing out from the crowd and differing with general public perception of the UPA government’s tenure as being one of inaction and incompetence when it came to China policy. Whatever the UPA’s sins of omission or commission in its domestic politics or in its foreign policy in general, on China policy at least, a combination of focused political and military leadership and competent bureaucratic support ensured that the new NDA regime will find little to change except to provide greater direction, resources and speed and perhaps, with the backing of majority in Parliament, bolder engagement or even, out-of-the-box solutions to resolving ‘The Himalayan Face-off’. Read more

China’s Relationships in South Asia: Increasing in Sophistication

South Asia impacts China’s security in several ways. Besides the boundary dispute with India and Bhutan, Nepal and India are destinations for Tibetan refugees while Afghanistan and Pakistan are sources of extremist influences in Xinjiang. Nepal is also politically unstable which creates opportunities for Beijing – which has traditionally played second fiddle to New Delhi – to parlay its influence. Pakistan – where China’s influence has been historically strong – however, is at the other end of the spectrum. Domestic instability has reduced the scope of what China might achieve in and through Pakistan and military-to-military cooperation remains the strongest leg on which the relationship stands, even as economic opportunities for Chinese companies have grown. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have swung between India and China but are increasingly now able to carefully balance their interests between the two. Read more

China in South Asia: Influence and Feedback

Presentation made at the British High Commission, New Delhi, 22 August 2013.

Outline

A. Developing countries, Duo

–          ideological connect

  • non-Western
    • genuine Marxist feeling in the unity of the Third World
    • minus the Maoist “you’re either with us or against us”
  • coalition building

–          common national interests

  • anti-Western / non-Western
  • international organizations
  • trade
  • energy security

B. China Solo Read more

China and Pakistan: Towards Increasing Dissonance?

Presentation titled, “Sino-Pak Partnership: Changing Strategically” at International Workshop on Recent Security Challenges in the Asia Pacific and India-China Relations, Institute of Chinese Communist Studies, Taipei, Taiwan, 31 July 2013.

A. an important objective of the Sino-Pak relationship is to keep India off-balance.

a. Sino-Pak military cooperation is the primary method                                 i.      this involves the Chinese sale of conventional weapons  as well as earlier transfers of nuclear weapons

ii.      today, there is also transfer of civilian nuclear technology that can no doubt be put to dual use by Pakistan

iii.      cooperation with the Chinese military further strengthens the Pak military and helps to undermine still further the Pak civilian government’s attempts at putting down deep roots.

iv.      however, could there also be Chinese concerns about Pakistani military capabilities, if not Pakistani reliability in general, given the Abbottabad attack on Osama bin Laden’s hide-out by US special forces?

b. Sino-Pak political cooperation is secondary  Read more

China-Pakistan Relations after Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden’s death and the circumstances of his killing continue to provoke plenty of comment and analyses as to what it means for the future of US-Pakistan relations. By contrast, there has been considerably less attention paid to the implications for Sino-Pakistani relations. This paper argues that the killing of bin Laden, while increasing frictions in the US-Pak relationship, does not necessarily also mean a warming of Sino-Pak ties. The latter relationship is, in fact, bound up in a number of issues over and beyond the US-Pak equation. These include Chinese concerns over ethnic separatism in its Xinjiang province and the post-US drawdown stability of Afghanistan, the Sino-Indian equation, the Sino-US relationship and Chinese economic interests in Pakistan.

Read the full article here: Jabin T. Jacob, “The Future of China-Pakistan Relations after Osama bin Laden,” Associate Paper, Future Directions International (Perth), 8 August 2011.

Sino-Pak Nuclear Deal: American Perfidy?

If the US’ changing the rules of the nuclear world order for facilitating a civilian nuclear deal with India was a case of global hegemony in action, then China’s recent success in getting the Americans to acquiesce to a Sino-Pak civilian nuclear deal is the equivalent of a successful insurgent action.

The fact that the deal comes at a time when the world is still reeling from the radiation leak at the Fukushima plant in Japan following the massive earthquake there earlier this month, is deeply ironical. It is also a sign perhaps of how commercial nuclear energy development is driven, in some parts of the world at least, by concerns more important than issues of safety both of the reactor itself and of the population living in proximity to it or of threats from non-state actors. Read more

Charting India’s China Policy for the Next Decade

Original Article: Jabin T. Jacob, “Alternative Strategies towards China: Charting India’s Course for the Next Decade,” IPCS Issue Brief, No. 162, February 2011.

Summary: Sino-Indian bilateral ties at the start of the 21st century saw the two sides putting behind them the contretemps that followed India’s 1998 nuclear tests and rapid growth of their economic interactions. It soon began to be claimed that economic imperatives would be the new driver in their relationship, one that many held also would be the defining relationship of the new century. However, neither the sentiment nor the expression that it engendered, namely, ‘Chindia,’ retains much salience now at the beginning of a new decade.

What should India’s China policy for the next decade look like? How can India maximize its strengths in diplomatic and other arenas vis-à-vis China in a manner that can push forward the positive aspects of the bilateral relationship while at the same time reduce chances for actual physical conflict of even a limited nature?

Read more