Gwadar, in China-Pakistan relations

Saurav Sarkar, Research Assistant, Institute of Chinese Studies

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa went to China on September 16 on a three day visit to discuss issues of bilateral and regional significance. Prior to this visit, the Imran Khan government sent mixed signals on the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The visit was a gesture on the part of Pakistan to try and contain the fallout of the statements reportedly made by senior officials in the Pakistani government. President Xi in his meeting with General Bajwa pledged China’s continued support to Pakistan as a ‘strategic partner’ and said that opponents of CPEC and BRI will ‘never succeed.’ General Bajwa reciprocated by saying that Pakistan is committed to thwart any plan by other parties to sabotage CPEC.

Despite minor resentments the core basis of the CPEC in particular, and China-Pakistan relations in general, would continue to persevere. Even the risks associated with Chinese nationals in Pakistan such as terrorist attacks and kidnapping are something that China seems willing to put up with. CPEC in China-Pakistan ties is a product of the relationship and not the relationship.

CPEC – more than just economics

China and Pakistan have continued to expand their security ties ever since the opening of the Karakoram Highway in 1963-64. CPEC also utilises this highway in traversing from Gilgit-Baltistan to Xinjiang. The southern tip of CPEC lay at Gwadar, a deep water port  in Baluchistan province, which is significantly closer to Iran than to Karachi in Pakistan.

The port’s strategic value cannot be stated enough. It is good for submarine operations due to its unique bathymetries and it also provides Continue reading “Gwadar, in China-Pakistan relations”

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Explaining China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Ashok K. Kantha, Director, ICS and former Indian ambassador to China

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, launched in late 2013, is the signature project of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Now re-designated as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it is one of the most ambitious programmes ever rolled out by any government. The Belt and Road Forum being held in Beijing on May 14-15 showcases its achievements to 28 foreign heads of state and government, as also delegations from other countries. No official participation from India has been announced so far. Backed by huge resources, BRI has acquired overarching importance in foreign policy and domestic domains of China. As it has Xi’s personal imprimatur, a wide range of ongoing projects and activities have been folded into the grand narrative of the BRI, with its contours still evolving. Continue reading “Explaining China’s Belt and Road Initiative”

China’s SAARC Bid and Implications for India

Gauri Agarwal, Research Intern, Institute of Chinese Studies 

Pakistan’s support to China for full membership to SAARC and India’s refusal to entertain the bid is a case of the use of geopolitics to pursue selfish aims. Whether China will be accepted or not remains to be seen, but what China brings to the table needs a careful cost-benefit analysis.

SAARC’s Shortcomings

The importance of SAARC as a regional organization is recognised by all leaders. But there is a frank acknowledgement that the organization has failed to live up to the hope and aspiration of one-fifth of humanity. Continue reading “China’s SAARC Bid and Implications for India”

The 8th BRICS Summit: India Hosts, China Gains

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

The 8th BRICS Summit in Goa in October this year, India came close on the heels of the G-20 Summit at Hangzhou in China and appears more or less to have had the same agenda except that it was smaller in size and therefore brought into sharper focus the contradictions within. The BRICS grouping remains an unbalanced one. China is in a league of its own in the BRICS – both in economic terms as well as increasingly in the political sphere. India is the only other member that has a strong economy – the other three economies are in various stages of stress. However, the grouping is also about taking political positions and here once again, China’s dominant weight has seen statements taking on anti-Western tilt. Continue reading “The 8th BRICS Summit: India Hosts, China Gains”

BRICS: Cooperation or Cynicism?

Aravind Yelery, PhD, Assistant Director & Associate Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

नुकत्याच संपलेल्या 8 व्या ब्रिक्स बैठकीत सहभागी विकसनशील देशांनी ‘गोवा जाहीरनामा’ स्वीकारला. या बैठकी दरम्यान आणि नजीकच्या काळात प्रादेशिक आणि जागतिक राजकारणात नवीन राग-रंग उजळून समोर आले. दहशतवादाचा मुद्दा, दुटप्पी धोरण आणि गुंतागुंतीच्या आर्थिक बाबींवर ब्रिक्स सारख्या महत्वाच्या संघटनेची नक्की भूमिका काय हे मात्र ठळकपणे अधोरेखित झाले नाही. सर्वात महत्वाचे म्हणजे चीन सारख्या देशाचे जागतिक स्तरावरील राजनय कसे ठिसूळ आणि दुटप्पी झाले आहे हे दिसून येते. Continue reading “BRICS: Cooperation or Cynicism?”

India’s Place in Chinese Foreign Policy: South Asia Bound

Jabin T. Jacob, Assistant Director and Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

Originally published as ‘Boxing It In: China’s Approach to India’, The Quint, 13 August 2016.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to New Delhi in mid-August was ostensibly in preparation for the G-20 summit in Hangzhou in September for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China and the BRICS Summit  in Goa for which Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit India in October. However, high-level meetings no longer impact matters significantly as they used to. Nor even do they help maintain matters on even keel if the incursions during Li Keqiang’s and Xi’s visits to India in 2013 and 2014 respectively or China’s objection to India’s NSG entry despite Modi’s personal intervention with Xi are anything to go by.

Continue reading “India’s Place in Chinese Foreign Policy: South Asia Bound”