The Big Picture- India’s Concerns on PoK Corridor and China-Pak Defence Pact
Few days back, there were important developments in the international arena with the G20 leaders gathering in Hangzhou in China where the BRICS meeting was also held on the sidelines. As far as India was concerned, bilateral ties between India and China and also its role in PoK has figured prominently. Indian Prime Minister also raised concerns about the CPEC and also problems of terrorism and its funders. Meanwhile, there has been news from Pakistan about its cabinet approving a long term defence agreement with China.
Analysis and India’s Concern:
The summit has not come out with something different as these issues have been discussed before when Indian PM went to China in 2015 and also in 2014. The meeting was more at economic level rather than political or security level. G20 is both economics and politics. It also comprises the emerging powers of the world and is therefore going to be a more meaningful forum in future. Good economics is always about politics. But there are geopolitical perspectives in different templates as far as India is concerned in terms of relations with China and Pakistan, South China Sea issue and so on.
The news coming from Pakistan is a significant development. The military relations have been formalized with a pact between China and Pakistan. This can be a negative repercussion for India, US and other nations. If Pakistan has cleared this pact then obviously there is a greater receptiveness from the Chinese on this idea. What this pact contains is still not clear yet. There is a paradigm shift in the geopolitics of our region and realignment is on the cards based on issues like greater proximity between India and US, India- China relations cooling down, rebalance strategy of US with Asian countries, deterioration of US-Pakistan relationship and so on.
Though relations cannot be improved overnight between India and China, but efforts are being made from both the sides to reboot and revive this relation. Indian Prime Minister mentioned that New Delhi and Beijing must be sensitive to each other’s “strategic concerns” — a theme which included a reference to terrorism radiating from the controversial China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Issues, including China’s reservations in sanctioning Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and the CPEC, are expected to be discussed openly and frankly in future. In terms of CPEC, China- Pakistan bond has become quite strong in a positive way and they would not want India to interfere in any way. India needs to think of its security and defence strategy as what China is doing is not India centric. It is a move to counter US rebalancing strategy. There was clear reference by the Indian Prime Minister towards terrorism and its funders. He mentioned that the countries which support and reward terrorism should be isolated and sanctioned in the international community.
The issue is not what emerges out of G20 communiqué. The PM’s intervention on terrorism was crystal clear on this international platform. India has adopted a much more robust approach towards such issues. However, China sees Pakistan as a solution to the problem and India sees it as a problem. Now how these changing relationships among the countries emerge later is something that rests with future.