India should work out its strategy vis-à-vis China

Binoo Joshi

The solidifying of the all-weather relationship between  China  and Pakistan , now bound by the economic and military interests of each other can easily squeeze Indian strategic interests in South Asia with a particular reference to Jammu and Kashmir.

Beijing has been trying for long to play the role of a mediator between India and Pakistan on Kashmir , and the latest tensions arising out of the devastating Pulwama attack that left at least 40 CRPF personnel dead last month  has sharpened its appetite for intervention . Among other big or small countries, including the USA , Saudi Arabia and  UAE, China also claimed that it had put in efforts to defuse the tensions between India and Pakistan .

In normal circumstances , the growing relationship between any of the two countries should not  have been a matter of much concern for India , but when that relationship poses an existential threat to the political and geographical stability of the country , Delhi  needs to take into consideration all the aspects determining the relationship.

First , China is more interested in its Belt Road Initiative in which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor  ( CEPC) plays the role of an anchor , and this corridor passes through the  Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir . That undermines the Indian claim on the territory under the illegal control of Pakistan . This is one problem.

Simultaneously the CEPC edges Jammu and Kashmir where the strategic locations of India , especially Siachen glacier  reckoned as the highest battlefield of the world , come under the direct contact with the Chinese troops who are apparently guarding the Chinese infrastructure in Gigit-Baltistan . This is a serious situation and India cannot ignore it.

Secondly , it has to be taken into account  that  how China acted post February 14 Pulwama attack . Overtly and covertly, it has defended Pakistan  and shielded it from being pinned down as  hub of terror . It blocked Masood  Azhar, founder and leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group , from getting listed as the global terrorist at the United Nations Security Council despite knowing that Jaish-e-Mohammad was behind the Pulwama attack and so many other attacks on the Indian soil . This is a travesty on the part of China that claims to be part of the anti-terrorism efforts in the world.

India would have to address this problem that affects its strategic interests adversely  by working out a robust diplomacy and enhancing its economic and military capacity building . There is no need to hurt China economically but it should carve out a niche for itself in the strategic and economically competitive world with strong leadership qualities in diplomacy.

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