Prospects for South Asia crises management look dim: US expert on China

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 April 2020, 22:11 GMT]
China and India, with regional hegemonic ambitions, are increasingly at loggerheads with each other and the distrust and hostility between them run deep, especially after the Trump Administration streamlined its US Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS). On the surface, the diplomatic relationship between the two countries may look like as if they were seeking formal rapprochement with each other. However, the trajectory of the bilateral relationship is full of “distrust and hedging,” observes Yun Sun, who is China Program Director of Stimson Center, a prominent US think-tank based in Washington DC. “In light of the prevailing great-power competition between Beijing and Washington, however, crisis management in South Asia is probably another case of collateral damage,” she observes in a recent commentary piece, titled “China’s Strategic Assessment of India”.

Locked in a great power rivalry with the US in the West Pacific as the main theatre, China doesn’t perceive India as a primary threat in the broader region. South Asia is not a prioritised theatre for China.

But, India views China as its principal threat.

Neither China or India is willing to change the status quo, which according to Yun Sun is characterised by China’s distrust and New Delhi’s frustration.

At the moment, China is trying to both stabilize ties with India and prepare for future disruptions, Yun Sun observes in her piece, published in War on the Rocks, a platform for US foreign policy and national security issues on 25 March.

“China may increasingly view South Asia as a zero-sum game — any perceived win for India will register as a loss for Beijing and vice versa,” Yun Sun notes.

China, worried about the increasing US-India geo-strategic partnership, would be deploying the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the first place. If infrastructure and trade boosting of Pakistan don’t help towards its balancing act, it will resort to strengthening the military relationship with Pakistan, she argues.

“China’s policy toward India has largely followed a pattern of balancing India in South Asia by propping up Pakistan and developing ties with small countries in the region,” Yun Sun further observes.

External Links:
WOTR: China's Strategic Assessment of India



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