FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
The Chinese are coming: Is India listening?
Posted:May 15, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Tarun Basu
 
A 1996  award-winning Hollywood film "The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming" played on the fears and prejudices of the Cold War era about America's main ideological and strategic adversary. Over 50 years later, Bollywood may well prepare to make a local adaptation of the film with the title "The Chinese are coming, The Chinese are coming".   For indeed, the Chinese are set to 'invade' this region in a big way, going by Pakistani media reports about  the jaw-dropping ramifications of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor that Beijing is set to roll out overriding strong Indian protests. 
 
If a report in Dawn - regarded as an authoritative newspaper in Pakistan - is to be believed the $46 bn dollar CPEC is not only providing a corridor  to the sea for the lesser developed western region of China but also "envisages a deep and broad-based penetration of most sectors of Pakistan’s economy as well as its society by Chinese enterprises and culture."
 
"Its scope has no precedent in Pakistan’s history...," says Dawn. 
 
The leak of the document comes even as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in Pakistan to attend the Belt Road Forum (BRF),  attended by around 130 countries, 29 heads of heads of government, and representatives of all major countries. Pakistan and China already signed six agreements related to CPEC and the development of Gwadar port that is vital strategic importance to China. 
 
The Long Term Plan (LTP) of CPEC. as revealed by Dawn,  lays out in detail "what Chinese intentions and priorities are in Pakistan for the next decade and a half, details that have not been discussed in public thus far."  It envisages thousands of acres of agricultural land to be leased out to Chinese enterprises, a monitoring and surveillance system of Pakistan's cities and 24-hour video recordings on roads and busy marketplaces to maintain law and order. A nationwide fibreoptic network will be built for the country not only for internet traffic but also for Chinese TV broadcast that will cooperate with Chinese media in the “dissemination of Chinese culture”.
 
What this grand "LTP" entails for Pakistan is too staggering to comprehend. Dawn said "CPEC is only the opening of the door. What comes through once that door has been opened is difficult to forecast". But for India, particularly, it could mean the unravelling of a grand Chinese stratagem to encircle India, not just with a "string of pearls" but by a cordon of infrastructure and strategic tie-ups from Pakistan to Sri Lanka to Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, through blandishments of soft loans and liberal grants that are often too seductive to resist by South Asian countries - even at the cost of running into a debt trap - hungry for investment and development, but lacking the money and means to execute them. 
 
Pakistan is not alone in its association with China. According to Wang Dehua, Director, Institute for South and Central Asia Studies in Shanghai, said India’s neighbours were heavily invested in the Belt and Road Initiative.  Sri Lanka has benefited to the tune of $1.5 billion, while Bangladesh has signed more than 20 agreements totalling approximately $24 billion. “Myanmar too will have quite a lot of projects as will Maldives and Nepal,” he said. 
 
As the Nepalese envoy in India sheepishly said, Kathmandu is aware of New Delhi's reservations on BRI but it could not say no to an "economic powerhouse" like China that can be a source of much of its foreign investment and development. 
 
Resisting China's grand encircling strategy, and its overrunning of South Asia, a region it has been coveting for some time, will require considerable strategic guile by India in the months to come. 
 
(Tarun Basu is President, Society for Policy Studies, New Delhi. He can be contacted at tarun.basu@spsindia.in)
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
While warning about the risk of “potential nuclear catastrophe on the Korean Peninsula”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that a “window of opportunity” was still open to avoid war over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.
 
read-more
Launching the countries’ first joint scientific collaboration at the North Indian Ocean along the Makran Trench on Sunday, Chinese and Pakistani researchers started an ocean-bottom seismograph (OBS) for the first time using Shi Yan 3, a scientific research vessel from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology at the Chinese Aca
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book in written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.

 
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599