ISSN 2330-717X

Rise of China and the Stake of South Asian Powers

By

By Dr Sheo Nandan Pandey

China’s rise in the power corridors, both in regional and global perspectives, has evoked a measure of call out for a rethink of the world order in making. True or false, there is deja vu that the country could upbear Asia’s much awaited renaissance from the front. True or false again, there is fear of the unknown that the country could upset the cart unfathomably and turn a disaster. This is while the world of today is far more connected and adventure of any kind could spell disaster equally for the victor and the victim. Nevertheless, null hypothesis in either case is least likely to test positive. The correlation could, at best, stand ground only as ‘chance occurrence’.

China talks of its hexin liyi (core interest) as sacrosanct. The paper grapples with the concomitant issues: Could China’s ‘core interest’ projection hold water in the multipolar world of today? Could China enforce ‘Monroe Doctrine and if so, how do poor cousins of South Asia protect their regional collective and/ or individual? The assumptions include: China is a ‘dominant power’; inward looking and/ or otherwise, it could, as it has done in the past, cross the rubrics and act contrary to its professed policy line, be it hexie shijie (harmonious world) or heping jueqi (peaceful rise); and, last but not the least, couples of Chinese initiatives in South Asia, including the construction of Gwadar Port in Pakistan, Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka, Sonadip deep-sea Port at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, held prospect of turning a launch pad for China’s future multi-dimensional strategic maneuvers in South Asia. In its perspective, the study schematically peeps into: the Quirk of Rise; Interest Articulations; Gullibility of South Asian States; Perspectives of Engagements; and, the Option and Alternatives to Cope with Dominant China.

Quirk of Rise

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is fast winding its ways a dominant power. The journey has been dotted with an array of events, which, in part was scripted and the rest a chance product in the run up. The mile stone is the dawn of Deng Xiaoping epoch. It all took place basically under the sway of myriad of happenings and developments, springing from the resolutions of the Third, Fourth and Fifth plenum of the 11th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, held respectively in Dec. 1978, Sep. 1979 and Feb. 1980. The 12th CPC Central Committee, convened in Sep. 1982 and the Fifth Session of the 5th National People’s Congress (NPC) do as well contributed to the watershed. The operative part of the change factor was strikingly plain and simple. It just meant dumping of ‘ideological barriers’ in deference to the ‘objective needs of the hour’, epitomized by the Cliché, “shishi qiushi” (seeking truth from facts), the system fit having come to called “you zhongguo tese de shicshang jingji” (Socialist Market Economy with Chinese Characteristics).

The trade off has thus far been a mixed box of delight and despair. The rosy side of the picture, in this context, constitutes of all time stunning improvements in the economic parameters. From a post liberation 1978 peak of Rmb 362.4 billion Yuan (US$147.3 billion), the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of the PRC literally leaped to reach Rmb 33,535.3 billion Yuan (US$4.98 trillion) in 2009.[i] In purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, it then worked out to be US$ 8.748 trillion. In the first nine months of 2010, the GDP of PRC reached Rmb 26.87 trillion Yuan (US$4.04 trillion). Not surprising then that Wendy Dobson and his ilk have come to visualize ‘gravity shift’ in international balance of economic power in not too distant a future in favour of Asian continent with the PRC in the front row.[ii] While one could argue at length and dispute prognosis of the kind, the shift from the then stiff doctrinaire to present day limp pragmatic approach to development is irrefutably at the back of transformation of China from ‘simple age old agrarian society’ to ‘fast emerging’ industrial society at meteoric pace. It could, as quite a few think-tanks hold, possibly lead the global economy from front to its third historic ‘super cycle’ phase in the next few decades.[iii]

The dark side is equally pronounced. Thanks to the abounding negative externalities to its skewed development model, the future existence of the PRC as a nation state, leave aside a reckonable force has come to be accepted with a caveat of whole hog ‘restructuring and rebalancing’. Beyond what was in store for the Chinese nation and its people in the long haul, there is widespread fear that the elements of fragility, thus generated in the bargain, could spell disaster for the World at large and South Asia in particular.[iv]It was slated to take place in many ways, including the PRC taking the rival to a ransom. The international community has just had real taste of this set of China’s insular conduct. No sooner it came close to overtake Japan as the second largest economy as a ‘chance outcome’, it got to flex its muscles to hurt Japan’s technological edge.[v] Armed with near monopoly in the proven reserves of rare earth elements, it stopped its exports to Japan as a bargain tool. This and many such other instances exposes China’s real life psycho-strategic face against much stated diplomatic articulations to project itself a responsible emerging global power. The strategic option for any competing and/ or competing power thus remains to cope with the rise of the PRC lest it should lose elbow space of crisis management.

Interest Articulations

Interest projection remains central to statecraft in China. This could be true of others and yet, there is sea of difference in articulations and uncommon tenacity. The explanation lay in the constants of China’s strategic culture, which subscribes and permits operational flexibility but does not let the core objectives and goals to get run down. There is thus one or the other system camouflage in each and every overtly stated policy lines and public assertion. The guiding foreign policy line of Hu Jintao epoch, for example, constitute of adherence to the tenets of ‘harmonious world’ and ‘peaceful rise’.[vi] Notwithstanding, it has been active in the backyard of each and every adversary of its interests around the world with diverse intent and purpose.

As for the South Asian countries, the PRC is the next door East Asian neighbour. [vii] While an outside element to socio-cultural and economic much less political life, the PRC has rather been a ‘behind the screen factor’ in the inter-country relations in the region. Notwithstanding meticulously articulated ‘good neighbour policy’ and ‘playing-well-with-others’ approach in foreign relations, the PRC broadly suffers trust deficits. In geographic, demographic and economic size, it towers one and all countries in the region.

China’s interest projection in South Asian countries tend to bypass constructively, in Joshua S. Goldstein’s words, the imperatives of ‘shared interest’.[viii] In the run up, collective interests in the region has been the victim of China’s self-serving individual interests. For long, until recently, the PRC stirred up ‘competing interest’ with some, in particular with comparable existing and/ or potential power and ‘collaborative interest’ as well as ‘cooperative interests’ with others. In all that, the PRC discernibly harboured long term strategic design to corner the potential power of the region. Scrumptious or otherwise, the Chinese machination has come to carve out and build a distinct niche for itself in the region. Faced with the challenges of global village life, the PRC is since projecting an overlap of the said competing, collaborative and cooperative interests, expressed in the cliché ‘strategic partnership’ with one or the other attributes such as ‘strategic cooperative partnership’, ‘constructive strategic partnership’ and the like. It encompasses both the civil and military domains and all major and minor countries of the region.

“There are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests” – is an oft-quoted saying. In fact, national or permanent interest has formed part of the political and diplomatic vocabulary for centuries. A nation, by virtue of its location, evolution and political, ideological, social, cultural or economic complexion, is bound to regard certain sets of values, goals and relationships as being in its national or permanent interest contributing to its stability, security and standing in the world community. It might regard its permanent interests, so defined and delineated, as non-negotiable and beyond cavil. In that sense, China too has a right to place before itself and the comity of nations its own conception of what constitutes its permanent interests. It shall be little different from what Confucian doctrine hexin liyi (core interest) talk and the four successive generations of the communist leadership have held sacrosanct in different cliché coined in course of time.

The horizon of China’s interest projections in either form is set to muster dominance in the region both in relative and absolute terms. Not until the socio-political rumblings in peripheral China brings about cataclysmic changes in geopolitics and the political diktat of Beijing abruptly shrinks to the pre-colonial acquisitions to what is known as China proper, the PRC shall continue to tower one and all countries of South Asia there is in its geographic expanse.[ix] As of now, with territorial size of 9,572,900 square km (3,696,000 square miles), the PRC is nearly three times larger in size to India, the largest entity in the South Asian region.[x] It is over twice in size to whole of South Asian region. Having entered Stage-III of demographic transition, it can not stay on with its edge for long. It will have to yield its place to the South Asian region. Nevertheless, down the line in 1925, when the balance of World power, measured along relative share of growth and/ or decline in GDP, Defence capabilities, consumer spending, size of the working age population and the technological prowess, is estimated to undergo a major shift, and China’s political and economic clout could grow up from 12 percent now to 16 percent, the dominance of the PRC over South Asia shall be but fact of life.[xi]

Gullibility of South Asian Nations

Response propensities of the South Asia to the Chinese overtures provides glimpses what the proponents of ‘realism’, including Niccolo Machiavelli (The Prince), and less often Sun Tzu (The art of War), Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) and Hans J. Morgenthau (Politics among Nations) and some of the ‘neo-realists’, i.e., John Mearsheimer (The Tragedy of Great Power Politics) and Robert Gilpin (The Political Economy of International Relation), should have spoken of to happen. Raison d’etate and not normative values held any worth in their transactions. Piqued and harbouring grievances against each other, the South Asian countries have constantly played at the hands of the PRC. Nonetheless, they have seldom risen to the occasion as a cohesive group to guard against their collective interests much less bargain for ‘collective good’. As a group, unless otherwise, the South Asian countries stand prone to high risks of China’s interest projection of varying denominations.

Among the South Asian countries, Pakistan has constantly responded positive to China’s interest projection in the region. This excludes initial few years of the founding of the PRC and subsequent establishment of diplomatic relations.[xii] As the two sides willing to act with nearly identical intensity of intent and purpose, the interest projection on the part of PRC and corresponding response on the part of Pakistan measured highly ‘collaborative’. It has all been to find and provide anti India nexus for the two entities. In return for a grazing land measuring 1949 square Km (749.8 square miles) in disputed Hunza region, Pakistan recognized China’s sovereignty over 5180 square Km (2000.0 square miles) of Indian territory in Northern Kashmir and Ladakh.[xiii] The event has cataclysmic all time aftermath on the harmony and peace in the region. Instead of rising to the occasion, Pakistan literally toasted the Chinese aggression on the South Asian soil in Oct. 1962. Once cool, the Sino-Pakistan relation blossomed only thereafter.[xiv] Pakistan earning the accolades of ‘all weather ally’ of the PRC and the Chinese President using the metaphor ‘higher than the mountain and deeper than ocean’ to describe the intensity bonding of the two has perhaps invisible cost of Pakistan harming collective goods of South Asia for petty individual gains.[xv]

Though slightly different in form and shape, Bangladesh is next to Pakistan in the trajectory of interest projection of the PRC in the last three and a half decades. While ‘cooperative’ and ‘strategic partnership’ in form, the Chinese moves in Bangladesh seem to have been calibrated and chiseled with nearly same intent and purpose as in Pakistan. Propensities of the responses of the Bangladesh establishment have been forthright with occasional balancing acts in the favour ‘collective goods’ of the region.[xvi] Leaving aside the maxima and minima of diplomatic niceties, the poser of the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni to her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in the course of their meeting in June 2009 that Bangladesh saw ‘China as its close friend and cooperation partner’ squarely defines the pathways to its responses to China’s interest projections.[xvii]

‘Friendship prices’ for the supply of military hardware could stand stead as ‘cooperative interest projection’ to certain a limit on the lines of infrastructure development initiatives. While this may not have direct bearing on the “collective good’ of the region, the intent of the Chinese interest projection has to be seen and understood in the light of its vulnerability to China’s pressure and persuasions.[xviii] Bangladesh navy and missile programme is since fully dependent on the PRC benevolence.[xix] Bangladesh Air Force is no different. China is optimistic to get foothold on Chittagong port on the lines of Gwadar port in Pakistan and Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. In the scenario, the ‘collective good’ of South Asia could be held at ransom.

China’s interest projection in Nepal has been multidimensional and complex. It has been aimed at influencing decision making at all levels, including the political process. With proxy soldiers in the form and shape of Maoists in place, the PRC has already got a voice in the drafting of the constitution. Plausible ramifications of the development include China’s inroads and neutralization of age old bonds of Nepal with South Asian sister countries. Nepal’s vulnerability to China’s interest projection onslaughts has been compounded due to political instability. Pitted and bitten with decades of political turmoil of its own kind, and lure of different kinds, Sri Lanka is as much vulnerable.[xx] While lucrative at face value, the Chinese funded projects in the Island country, including Hambantota Development Zone, could be source of China using pressure and persuasion antics to the detriments of ‘collective good’ of the region.[xxi]

Bhutan and Maldives are the other two constituents of South Asia. While tensions abound, Bhutan and China do not have even diplomatic relations. The two countries have hitherto engaged in 19 rounds of high level talks. Bhutan is aggrieved of Chinese encroachments of its territory. The trade relation is too minimal. China’s interest projection in Bhutan has been limited for a variety of reasons. In the case of Maldives, the PRC has been far more articulate. It has since established a naval base in Marao in Maldives. The trade relation is yet minimal. Neither of the two had potentials to counteract to China’s interest projections.

India’s response propensities to China’s interest projections have been rather measured. It has been true all through, be it when it was highly and/ or moderately competing during Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping epoch. It has been little different when the present leadership under Hu Jintao discernibly turned to a mix of assertive and accommodative postures that set real life challenges to its ‘core interests’. It has been little different again when the Chinese media, in particular the hardliner the Global Times has been characteristically up in the arms. Level exchanges at various multilateral and bilateral forum and robust trade characterize the positive aspects of the engagements.

Perspectives of Engagements

The risen China can be quintessentially a different entity to engage with. Conceptually speaking, the pathways to the PRC tryst to further its ‘core interest’ in the South Asian countries would constitute of a mix of pressures and persuasions techniques. The task will be easier once the PRC is able to build on the existing level of propensities of different constituent countries of South Asia to its interest projections. It may also need to recalibrate its interest projections to ward of avoidable rough patches.

Provided the words of Chinese think tanks, expressed on various websites, including http://www.wyzxsx.com, conveyed minds of the Chinese ruling elite, the PRC could then exude more confidence, draw on its increased comprehensive national power (CNP) to pit its ‘core interest’ over and above others, and last but not the least, use all means, including increased military muscles concomitant to its increased economic strength to sustain its new found dominance.

The issue has of late been agitating other sets of Chinese intellectuals as well. Views, in common, tend to gravitate around China’s future role in the international system. The forum included national and/ or international seminars organized by different Chinese institutions. In quite a few cases, the participants seem to fight shy to accept the proposition that the risen should demonstrate bellicose, emanating from its superiority over its rivals in its economic, scientific, technological and military strength. For long until the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee took a decision to withdraw the term from all official documents of reference, the Chinese academics, including Shanghai based think-tank Xia Liping and Jiang Xiyuan used to take cover of ‘peaceful rise’ thesis and rejected all suggestions that suggested the PRC taking to western route of super power behaviour. The same people now take refuse of the concept of ‘harmonious world’. The two extreme positions taken by the Chinese think-tanks suggest a measure of ambivalence. It may be real. It could be cloak as well. In either event, it is a testimony of the Chinese nation and its institutions getting exercised in tandem to brace new role of a ‘dominant power’ on its own terms.

This is substantiated from a large number of Chinese strategic documents, penned over the past decade, crystallizing approaches, methods and instruments that could stand stead in China’s efforts to bind, dilute, circumvent or supersede rival power. These documents do as well talk of the ways and means to weaken the enthusiasm of potential players, who stand supplementary and complementary to the rival in the region. The documents go to postulate different plausible pillars of the plan, including the imperatives to exploit temporary ‘windows of opportunity’ such as rifts or drift. The suggested measures comprise of economic aid, military assistance and cooperation in multilateral forum. All this is supposed to add to China’s existing political leverage with all prospective players.

The predicaments of the South Asian countries in accepting the dominance of the PRC as such passively appear to be quite critical to their core interests. There is a broad perspective for all the six countries of the region, where China’s interest projection measure a mix of collaborative, cooperative and strategic partnership as such. It has a very specific perspective for India, where China’s interest projection fall largely competing and in a small measure strategic. This is while China’s longer-term ascendance as the most dominant power is replete with significant hurdles.

A dominant China firstly, shall have strong interest in selling its brand of authoritarian capitalism to others and redefining both regional and international institutions to go by and work to serve largely its ‘core interest’. The assertion has a caveat of such regional and/ or international institution turning pliant to China’s power game. India’s rise with nearly equal socioeconomic fundamentals and its evident potentials to carry other constituents of South Asia may keep China in its place. Moreover, in the multipolar world of tomorrow, it was unlikely that the diktat of one power such as the PRC will rule the roost.

The PRC is hitherto investing heavily abroad. It is with an eye to secure oil and other strategic resources at its end. It has been transforming its green-water PLA Navy into a robust blue-water naval force with express geo-political objectives. Having put its ‘String of Pearls’ strategy in place, the PRC has not just secured its sea lane from its mainland coast through the littorals of the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, across the Indian Ocean, and on to the littorals of the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf, it has potentials to pose challenges for all others in the South Asia as the rest of the world.[xxii] It could serve China’s neocolonial ambition at an appropriate junctures in times to come, and the South Asia with its geo-politics in flux could suffer the brunt of risen China. This second predicament of the South Asian country can test positive subject to the caveat that the fundamentals of various institution of South Asian countries, including India fall short of the minimum of their required standard, and the international system suffer irredeemable atrophy.

The third tight spot for the South Asian countries involved the risks of living with China’s astute mercantilism, which has led most, if not all trading partners around the world, to huge trade deficits, and concomitant negative aftermath on their economic health. This, too, could hold well on a caveat of array of factors, including the relative edge or otherwise of the South Asian countries to negotiate terms of trade and neutralize negative externalities of the Chinese business practices, in particular exchange rate manipulations and economic espionage.[xxiii]

Finally, the forging of viable coalitions to deny, delimit or even contain China’s interest projection has so far worldwide proved illusory. No South Asian country with notable exception of India today or in the foreseeable future was likely to contest China in whatsoever manner. The scenario puts China in total command to use the instrumentalities of pressure and/ or persuasion to carve its niche in South Asia. It could hypothetically cost freedom of action for the South Asian countries in their conduct of international relations. ‘Collective interest’ of the region thus, could suffer a blow. The caveat could be relative capability of the South Asian region to convert the challenges into opportunities.

Options and Alternatives to Cope with Dominant China

Writing in the July 23, 2010 issue of The Diplomat, an international current-affairs magazine, Patrick Cronin and Paul Giarra maintained that China’s growing assertiveness gave glimpses of Chinese version of Monroe Doctrine.[xxiv] China’s maritime territorial claims in South China Sea and China’s vitriolic response to U.S.-South Korean maneuvers in the Yellow Sea then happened to be the cases in point. The fact remains that the architects of the Monroe Doctrine coveted American primacy in the Western Hemisphere. Unlike China, they never dreamt of laying claim to waters that washed against their nation’s shores, or of excluding foreign navies from these expanses. Quite a few Chinese think-tanks, including Vincent Wang continue to deny such a possibility when China will profess a similar doctrine or strong-arm its neighbours.[xxv]China’s territorial claims in South Asia and its diplomatic maneuvers thereof stand living testimony contrary to the contentions of the Chinese academics and officials. Interestingly, the Chinese version of Monroe Doctrine touches upon far more realms beyond territorial integrity and sovereignty of the South Asian region.

While the imperatives to cope creatively with China’s rise to dominance remain open to all the constituents of South Asia, it is just India who could meaningfully call the shot. “Strong abroad but fragile at home” China was prone to hitch a “Local War under Informatization Conditions”. It was yet possible only when the calculations to throw China’s ‘peaceful rise’ and/ or ‘harmonious world’ to the winds over weighed the perceived all round gains. Notwithstanding, It will entail China to muster a thoroughly integrated technological, doctrinaire, operational, and organizational capabilities, which it can acquire not so soon.

China is undergoing a transformation process, which is unparallel in its living history. South Asian countries, including India has to reckon and live with this truth. The dynamics of policy responses must take the present balance sheet with its strategic cultural past. Areas of mutual interests and areas of potential conflicts have to be crystallized and weighed. China’s Achilles heel, in particular the difficulties in managing dissents, has to part of the bargaining chip.

Much as an objective fact, the PRC has dropped past the rhetoric regimes. Occasional outbursts are more often than not calculated moves to draw bargain points. Global China is part of both the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization. At regional level, in particular in Asia Pacific region, the PRC is active at Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Council for Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific (CSCAP), ASEAN plus three Mechanisms together with Japan and South Korea. No wonder that the PRC of today is far more positive and rational with international commitment than what it used to be in yesteryears.

There is perceptible change in its approach with rivals. It is since engaged the Russian Federation in a strategic partnership. The travel was of course quite tortuous in over all perspective. It happened only when the Chinese leadership weighed the cost of estrangement to the benefit of engagement. ‘Treaty on Good Neighbourly Friendship’ (2001) and ‘Mechanism of Bilateral Security Consultations (2005)’ have since been working well. Inconsistencies and ambivalence apart, the PRC has displayed far better understanding of the Indian position now than ever.

In keeping with what China can ultimately afford to be, the policy and programme responses of South Asia as while and India in particular has to be creatively even handed. It has to run on merit, keeping independence of decisions as the guiding principle. It has done it in the past even during thick of estrangement. Be it UN seat or any other issues in the multilateral forum, India has lived up to principles.

There is theoretical option to go by ‘Balance of Power’, ‘Balance of Threat’ and ‘National Security’ theories, sacrosanct to Realist and/ or Neo-realist schools of international relations. One could think of a hybrid of the three theories. The same could be said to be true with the six approaches of Moore and Turner (2005).[xxvi] The crux is to cope with the rival power in the anarchical world to evade outbreak of disastrous war. In the context of interest projections, the scope of such a war encompasses all conceivable forms of show of dominance.

Almost in consonance to Realist and/ or Neo-realist approaches, the Chinese think-tank talk of comprehensive national power (CNP), which is a sum of hard and soft powers. Hard power relates to military prowess while soft power is all about economic and cultural attributes. According to a Chinese government sponsored think-tank group, the PRC and India respectively stood at 6th and 10th pedestal with a score of 59.10 points and 50.43 points each in 2006. USA was then the top scorer. With better performance of the economic component of the Soft power in post global recession world of today, China’s ranking must have improved by a few notches. The same is expected about India. The South Asian countries with India in lead role have to improve its CNP still further to cope with China’s apparent dominance.

Interdependence is the hall mark of existence in the new millennia. It would perhaps mark end of Darwinism. No big fish can exist without small fishes around in the same pond. China’s hard power ascendance is discernible. However, it can not be sustained endlessly. While an open question, the PRC has to address dissents lest the soft factors will give way. The South Asia, too, has its share of gloom on this score. It will have to address them promptly and adequately. It will simultaneously have to focus on ‘collective good’, which they tend to sacrifice as a group for avoidable historic reasons.

(Dr. Sheonandan Pandey is a China watcher with a long stint in the Government of India and finally retied from National Technical Research Organization. He can be contacted at [email protected])

End Notes

[i] http://www.chinability/com/GDP.htm

[ii] Dobson, Wendy, Gravity Shift: How Asia’s New Economic Power House will Shape the Twenty-first Century, University of Toronto Press.

[iii] The first two super cycle phases, auguring epoch of high global economic growth, first during1870-1913 and then from 1945 until 1973, belonged to the western world and the beneficiaries were a small proportion of the world. In the third epoch, coming around 2030, the beneficiaries could be around 85 percent of the global population. According to a latest estimates, credited primarily to Peter Sands, the Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, China’s populace will come to garner 24 percent of the global GDP, nearly 2.6 times more than now.

[iv]Susan L. Shirk (2007), China: Fragile Superpower: How China’s Internal Politics Could Derail its Peaceful Rise, USA: Oxford University Press.

[v] China’s fete in overtaking Japan as the second largest economy after the US is a chance outcome, much in conformity with what is known as scissor action in development economics, discernible in comparative and contrasting perspectives of an upcoming as against a maturing economy, devoid of much needed incubating, fostering and accelerating technological conditions.

[vi]The phrase ‘Harmonious World’ was first pronounced by Hu at the Afro-Asian Summit in Jakarta in April 2005. It later formed part of the Chinese Paper on Peaceful Development in 2005. The catchphrase serves as ploy to suggest China’s philosophical tradition, contained in the Chinese character ‘he’, meaning harmony and peace. Nonetheless, the cliché has given China a face. It genuinely needs harmony and peace to end its alienation to be part of the global village of today and tomorrow.

[vii] UN officially identifies five regions of the Asian continent. They are: Central Asia; Eastern Asia; Southern Asia; South-Eastern Asia; and, Western Asia.

[viii] Goldstein, Joshua S. and Pevehouse, Jon C., (2008) Principles of International Relations, UK: Longman

[ix] Chinese civilization discernibly developed from a core region in the North China Plain. Over millennia, it expanded n the course of hundreds of conquests. Han and Tang dynasties were particularly notorious. The Fifteen and/ or Eighteen Province (Shiwu Sheng/Shiba Sheng) system that rules the roost during Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty respectively did not incorporate several political units of present day China.

[x] Encyclopedia Britannica.

[xi] Joint US-EU report, Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture, released on Sep. 20, 2010, estimates China’s global power moving up 33 percent from 12 to 16 percent. The report says that India’s global power will then grow by 25 percent from 8 to 10 percent. It estimates US global power to suffer a decline from 22 to 18 percent. http://www.acus.org/event/global-governance-2025-critical-juncture

[xii] While Pakistan established diplomatic relation with the PRC right on May 21, 1951, it was cool on several issues including UN seat. It was since Pakistan then happened to be an ally of the western world. Things changed after two sessions of talks between the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Ali on the sidelines of Bandung Conference in April 1955. Pakistan has since been playing second fiddle to the PRC just to counterweight India.

[xiii] Chinese and Pakistan Foreign Ministers Chen Yi and Zulfikar Ali Bhuttoo signed Sino-Pakistan Frontier Agreement and Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement in 1963. The negotiation had taken place on October 13, 1962 and March 02, 1963. This is at the back of Kashmir dispute not finding solution and, India and Pakistan spilling blood in bloody wars time and again.

[xiv] Dobell, W.M. (Autumn 1964). “Ramifications of the China-Pakistan Border Treaty”. Pacific Affairs 37 (3):283-95.

[xv] China has substantially replaced the US, especially in quality of political, economic, technological and military support. While it has been a long time story, there is perceptible change since 1990’s after the US imposed military sanctions. It overshadows the US efforts. China has provided all sensitive missile and nuclear technology.

[xvi] China took nearly five years to get over Pakistan factor to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with Bangladesh in 1975. The often repeated Chinese advice to Bangladesh to pursue an independent foreign policy carry unstated message to get to de-link itself with India.

[xvii] Xinhua News Agency, June 26, 2009.

[xviii] The long list of critical Chinese military hardware supplies to Bangladesh since include: 65 artillery guns and 114 missiles and related systems; most of the T-59, T-62, T-69, and T-79 tanks; a large number of armoured personnel carriers (APCs); and, artillery pieces and small arms. There are, besides, plans to acquire 155mm PLZ-45/Type-88 and 122mm Type-96 as well MBRLs.

[xix] The Chinese platforms in its possession Bangladesh Navy include the 053-H1 Jianghu I class frigates with 4x HY2 missiles, Huang Feng Class missile boats, Type-024 missile boats, Huchuan and P-4 class torpedo boats, Hainan class sub chasers, Shanghai class gun boats and Yuchin class LCUs. Warships such as BNS Osman are but 1500-ton China built Jianghu Class warship.

[xx] China and Sri Lanka have leaped forward in their engagements after Mahinda Rajapaksa took over the rein of the Island country in 2005 in the backdrop of the former endorsing and supporting Sri Lanka in its ethnic strife, spearheaded by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). Chinese lure to Sri Lanka included aids and financial assistance. In 2009, Sri Lanka received US$1.2 billion in aid from the PRC, which accounts for over half of the total aid received from rest of the world. Since 2006, the PRC has provided US$3.06 billion in financial assistance for various projects.

[xxi]A consortium of Chinese companies, led by China Harbour Engineering company and the Sino-Hydro Corporation has financed 85 percent of the estimated total cost of US$ 1.5 billion for the Hambantota Port Project, which, on completion, will include a liquefied natural gas refinery, aviation fuel storage facilities, three separate docks that will give the port transshipment capacity, dry docks for ship repair and construction, and bunkering and refueling facilities. Besides, China is involved in the construction works of a second international airport at Hambantota, a $248 million expressway connecting the capital Colombo with the airport at Katunayake, an $855 million coal power plant at Norochcholai, and a performing arts theater in Colombo.

[xxii] The ‘String of Pearls’ refers to China’s naval strategy, which, in China’s calculation, has had potentials fulfilling its ambition of attaining a great power status in conventional terms of balance of power besides securing a self-determined, peaceful and prosperous future. Each “pearl” in the “String of Pearls” is a nexus of Chinese geopolitical influence or military presence.4 Hainan Island, with recently upgraded military facilities, is a “pearl.” An upgraded airstrip on Woody Island, located in the Paracel archipelago 300 nautical miles east of Vietnam, is a “pearl.” A container shipping facility in Chittagong, Bangladesh, is a “pearl.” Construction of a deep water portin Sittwe, Myanmar, is a “pearl,” as is the construction of a navy base in Gwadar, Pakistan.5 Port and airfield construction projects, diplomatic ties, and force modernization form the essence of China’s “String of Pearls.”

[xxiii] Dr Pandey, Sheo Nandan, China’s Economic Espionage Prowess, ISPSW Publications, Nov. 08, 2010 http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Digital-Library/publications/Detail/?id=123518

[xxiv] Patrick Cronin and Paul Giarra, China’s Monroe Doctrine, The Diplomat, July 23, 2010 http://www.realclearworld.com/2010/07/23/china’s_monroe_doctrine_113638.html

[xxv] Vincent Wang, China ASEAN Free Trade Area: A Chinese “Monroe Doctrine” or “Peaceful Rise”, China Brief,Vol:9, Issue 17,August 20, 2009.

[xxvi] The six approaches of Moore and turner are anthologies of the approaches, proposed by different schools of international relations at different points of time. They are: Balance of Power Approach; Collective Security Approach; World Federalist Approach; Functionalist Approach; Democratic Peace Approach; and, the Incentive Approach.

SAAG

SAAG

SAAG is the South Asia Analysis Group, a non-profit, non-commercial think tank. The objective of SAAG is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding.

One thought on “Rise of China and the Stake of South Asian Powers

  • Avatar
    January 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm
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    China’s frienship is better than Hiduata and Bharati samraj as it is.A wise Friend is better than an ugly enemy like Bunderstan(india/worshiper of bunder the Hanuman).

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