By Patial RC
The Ukraine-Russia War has provided vast opportunities to China. Russia is being overshadowed by China in all spheres. Besides, China’s BRI strategy is linked to Asian and Central Asian security and economic issues. Beijing uses its enlarged economic presence to seek country influence with Russia having to keep quite under the present circumstances. Ukraine war has seen a serious fall out by creating a critical security dilemma to Central Asian Republics which have so far been tied to Russia for security and economic linkages.
At the 17th G20 Summit held in Bali, Indonesia on 15th November President Xi Jinping spoke under the title “Working Together to Meet the Challenges of Our Times and Build a Better Future”. He said that it is imperative that all countries advocate Peace and development. All countries should replace division with unity, confrontation with cooperation, and exclusion with inclusiveness. “No one should engage in creating closed and exclusive clubs.”
President Xi Jinping Preaches But Practices
China hosted the first meeting of the Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation on November 21 but kept India out of it. The meeting was organised by China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and was held in a hybrid manner under the theme of “Shared Development: “Blue Economy.”
Biggest Diplomatic Initiative in the Arab world. China’s President Xi Jinping landed in Saudi Arabia on December 8 for a three-day-long state visit. Chinese media claimed the visit was the country’s “Biggest Diplomatic Initiative in the Arab world.” Xi Jinping signed a comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement with Saudi Arabia and signed 34 agreements in the areas of information technology, genetics, mining, hydrogen energy and manufacturing. The Chinese delegation also agreed to set up an electric vehicle plant in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi leadership is also looking forward to moving away from the US after the frigid interaction between Joe Biden and the Crown Prince in July 2022. Despite being a US ally in the Middle East, the Kingdom’s growing proximity with China is a change in the US-Saudi relationship.
PLA attacks Indian Army in Arunachal. On December 9, 300 Chinese soldiers attacked Indian Army in Arunachal. This face-off has led to minor injuries personnel from both sides. Both sides immediately disengaged from the area. After the incident, area commanders of both armies held a flag meeting to discuss the issue in accordance with structured mechanisms to restore peace and tranquility. There have been face-offs in the Yangtse area in the past. A major one being in October 2021. The Chinese had then attempted to gain access to the 17,000-foot-high peak that provides a commanding view of both sides of the LAC. India is in firm control of the top and its access routes.
China is well aware that India is currently alone especially after the Ukraine war, where the Indian government chose to walk the fine independent diplomatic line in the nation’s interest rather than follow the US-led West. So, the West will have its own grudges with India, even as Russia may refuse to side with a “friend” (India) against its “brother” (China), and Pakistan is raring to open the second front against India! In the given scenario, clever Xi may be tempted to believe that a military action in the Himalayas would be a safer, more productive bet then to attempt Taiwan where the response from the US, Japan and Australia will be near immediate.
A new Taiwan-based study has concluded that Pakistan is the country most influenced by China out of 82 countries ranked as per varying degrees of dependence on China. Pakistan is followed by Cambodia and Singapore, while Central Asian nations Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan also figure in the top 10. The index focuses on nine domains to assess China’s sway around the world — academia, domestic politics, economy, foreign policy, military cooperation, law enforcement, media, society and technology.
Pakistan’s heavy reliance on China for financial support is no secret, according to an IMF report, about 30 per cent of Pakistan’s foreign debt is owed to China. The CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), has witnessed infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars being funded and built by Chinese companies over the past decade. China has been ‘rewarding’ it’s close ally by repeatedly blocking India-US proposals at the United Nations to proscribe Pakistan-based terrorists.
Pakistan factor puts a spanner in India’s goals. Russia, China, and Central Asian states recognise Pakistan’s role in counter-terrorism, which makes India’s positions at odds with that of others. So far, no country in Central Asia has taken a tough stance on Pakistan and the Taliban to have implications for India. For economic reasons, they are closer to Beijing.
China’s Blue Economy Inroads into the IOR to prevent India’s Influence. China’s strategy is to prevent India’s rise as an economic competitor and counter India’s strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA), which has a membership of 23 countries have taken strong roots. China is making new inroads into the Indian neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean nations through economic aid and infrastructural development.
China has gradually enhanced its foothold in the Indian peninsula, gradually expanding its footprint in South East Asia and Central Asia there by strangulated India. Beijing wants to keep New Delhi occupied on the western border through Pakistan so that it can have its way along the Himalaya LAC. India need to be wary of China’s aggressive designs along the Himalayas.