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A Resurgent China: South Asian Perspective

A Resurgent China: South Asian Perspective

By Ashique Hussain Memon, Weekly Pulse, August 19, 2013

The two-tier division of the world’s power between the capitalist and the communist bloc ultimately reached its end with the capitalist domination all over the world. USA emerged as the world’s super power after defeating the Soviet Union. Ever since the US’s global domination, the world’s political, economical and social dynamics have perpetually changed.

The people’s republic of china came in to being in the year 1949 under the communist agenda. Since it held a communist stance, it was immediately a rival to US and by forming friendly ties with Pakistan, the ties with India, an a US ally, the relations became tense to the point of a Himalayan boundary-conflict over the Tibet issue leading to a full-fledged war between the two countries in the year 1962.

While on the other hand, the relation with Pakistan has been very amiable. Not only has China helped Pakistan with its military development but also the nuclear project. It indeed is China’s back upon which Pakistan attains a bold status in terms with its relations to India. It is the strength of the relation shared by the two countries that it took four years for China to recognize Bangladesh as an independent state and even barred its entry in to UN.

Despite the wavering start of the formal relations between Bangladesh and China, the ties between the two have emerged rapidly due to several economic prospects and as stated by C.M. Shafi, China is seen as a peaceful pillar in South Asia, inclined to maintain peace and prosperity of the region. In accordance to the strategic dimension of the Sino-Bangladesh relations, China plays a balancing role in the region. The establishment of the defense in Bangladesh is one of the chief constituencies of China. However, Bangladesh wouldn’t form closer ties with China on the expense of its relations with India, a strong ally who helped Bangladesh seek its independence from its Rival west-wing: Pakistan.

China is a key factor in many equations in the world today. India and China are the two largest countries of the Asian continent. The trajectory relations between the two states have been marked with the air of mistrust, layers of rivalry, diplomatic stances, geopolitical disputes, occasional collaboration and uncertainty regarding the motives and intentions of each side. However, since the mid 1980s, several measures have been taken to reach some basic grounds politically and economically. There are various political and ideological differences between the two countries.

The security dilemma between China and India is the most pertaining issue between the two nations. Pakistan views its nuclear agenda against India; however, India on the other hand, views China as the chief threat in the South Asian region. One’s defensive measures are seen as an aggressive move towards the other, locking them both in a conventional security dilemma. Beijing fears the Indian power expansion backed by the west and Japan as a threat towards its Southwestern frontiers i.e. Tibet and Xinjiang and a hamper to its southwards expansion. While, the growing strength and influence of China is seen as a threat by India, which initiates counterbalancing measures to emerge as a superior power, yet seen as a potential peril by China.

The impending departure of US from Afghanistan by 2014 has become the issue of a political battle amongst the Indian and the Chinese government in order to acquire dominance. The power politics between the two is the Chinese stance to gain control of Afghanistan through influence while India seeks to counter it. India has its most embassies in Afghanistan. The US exit, it will be open between China and India, however, Karzai is more supportive of India than China so the politics will come into play after the US departure.

In terms of currency and its economic success, China is becoming the global strength due to the effect it is having on foreign and security policies concerning US and the Asian region. India pertains to follow the Chinese economic model. The two countries have had the competing eyes for each other’s economic activities. Despite the economic competition, trade tariffs and barriers, harsh words against Dalai Lama and the geographical tensions, the two courtiers seek to reduce tensions amongst them. The trade rate has risen from a measly $350 million in 1993 to $70 billion in 2012, and might outdo $100 billion by 2015.

There have also been various collaborations upon the economic exchange of consumer goods, transport, mining and minerals, trade, commerce, steel, info-tech, telecommunication, tourism and power generation. These collaborations are ultimately sobering up the ties between the two. Moreover, the sharing of common goals of achieving the regional stability, combating religious fundamentalism, access to energy resources, capital and markets and the economic opportunities have also brought the two countries on a common ground.

On the contrary, the bilateral relations between China and Pakistan are that of trust, cooperation and peace. The nuclear facilitation provided to Pakistan by China has always been viewed as a threat by India and much to the dismay of the US; China has backed Pakistan’s nuclear agenda. The recent bilateral nuclear cooperation signed between China and Pakistan has faced Indian media hype. The implementation of nuclear assistance to Pakistan involves the Chinese help to Pakistan in building two nuclear power plants which Pakistan-China Joint Atomic Energy Committee meeting will choose. Added to this, a letter has been sent by the US government to Chinese government for withdrawing any assistance in building Pakistan’s nuclear plant. The Abottabad attack, where on the pretext of hunting down Bin Laden, US attacked Pakistan, could be seen as a model for China and Pakistan to accuse US of violating Pakistan’s sovereignty. China warned US in the following words: “Any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China.”

The statement strongly implied that China wouldn’t tolerate the US presence in Pakistan. Furthermore, Pakistan seeks to find refuge in china against its economic dependency on the US and gain regional power against its Rival India, whereas; China seeks to attain global political and economical domination over US. China, being the largest aircraft provider to Pakistan, aided it with the 50 new-fangled JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircrafts, demonstrating the strong military and economic ties between the two states against the US and Indian domination.

China is also trying to involve Pakistan in the Shanghai cooperation, which is a military cooperation between the six central Asian countries including Russia. This way, China is trying to create its own hegemony in order to counter the US hegemony in the region. China is also supporting the Pak-Iran pipeline project despite several attempts made by the India to destabilize Pakistan. Even though, it has little gain from this gas line project since, China has its main interest in the Gwadar Port and they have been unable to make any use of the port due to the instability in Balochistan thus, it is actually taking a huge risk by keeping its hopes up for the Gwadar port. However, if the gas pipeline project between Iran and Pakistan works out well, china will ultimately benefit from it through the Gwadar port.

Hence, China is emerging as the next super power of the world. From the love-hate relations with India, to the urge to gain influence in Afghanistan and the brotherly terms with Pakistan, China is seeking to create a counter hegemony against the US hegemony in South Asia. India views it as a threat while Pakistan looks up to it as its knight in the shining armor. However, there is still a long way to go before China fully emerges as a greater power since the US influence and the wavering relations with India are still a critical obstacle in its way to the world’s throne.

About Taimoor

Taimoor is the Digital Content Lead at www.RightJobs.pk . He has been working at prominent media outlets for several years. He blogs at several websites about current affairs, religion, careers and other walks of life.

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