FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Will India’s hedge-and-engage approach against China’s work?
Posted:Jun 12, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Kawashima Shin 
 
In May 2017, China hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRFIC) in Beijing. Beginning with this forum, the Chinese government appears to be preparing for upcoming high-profile events, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s annual meeting in June, the annual strategic talks and a summit meeting with the US in July on the strength of the political achievements made by Xi Jinping both at home and abroad over the past five years, toward autumn of this year, when he is set to be re-elected as president.
 
The BRFIC serves as a key diplomatic policy in the Xi administration, which has succeeded the peripheral diplomacy promoted by his predecessor Hu Jintao. However, the policies contained in this Initiative remain unclear in many ways, lacking specifics about the future action plans and members or participating countries in the project, while only supervisory administration offices have been designated for the initiative.
 
China invited a number of leaders and government officials to the forum from countries around the world, and consequently succeeded in presenting an outline of the project while making it clear that the Initiative will provide opportunities not only to promote infrastructure projects and other economic cooperation but also to bring regional stability.
 
Japan and the US, which had remained rather indifferent to this Initiative, sent their delegates to the forum. Nikai Toshihiro, secretary general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party was sent to attend the forum in Beijing, where he was given prime minister-level treatment. Imai Takaya, Prime Minister Abe’s executive secretary, was also sent to attend the event, seeking to meet with high-ranking Chinese officials to pave the way for improved bilateral relations. Given this situation, it appears that the strained relations between the two countries are beginning to show signs of recovery.
 
In contrast, India did not participate in the forum in May. The Indian government did not send its leaders or government officials to the event. According to the media, India did not participate in the forum over criticisms of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. However, that does not seem to be the only reason for its absence. I believe that India’s criticisms of China’s Belt and Road Initiative are based on other more fundamental reasons.
 
The Belt and Road Initiative is referred to as an attempt to build a modern day Silk Road by land and sea. China probably has no choice but to remain cautious while developing the land transportation corridor, because it will pass through territories or domains under strong Russian influence. Moreover, it will not be a simple task for the Beijing government to get easily along with countries in Central Asia in the face of controversial issues with them.
 
Meanwhile, the Maritime Silk Road project consists of large-scale infrastructure investments related to the ports and harbors in Brunei and Sri Lanka, pipelines connecting Myanmar and Pakistan and bridges in Brunei and Maldives, creating an ocean route for the Chinese Navy between the South China Sea and its naval base in Djibouti. Furthermore, efforts are underway by China to secure a shipping lane for importing crude oil from Nigeria and Angola.
 
Obviously, China’s maritime expansion associated with the ocean route initiative is bad news for the Indian government due to concerns about sovereignty in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Indian government seems concerned about China’s influence growing even stronger, particularly in neighbouring countries around India, given that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is aimed at establishing a link between the land route and China’s maritime expansionism in the Indian Ocean.
 
Based on the points mentioned above, it is possible to understand why India did not participate in the Belt and Road forum in May. However, its absence does not necessarily suggest that its relations with China will sour immediately.
 
India and Pakistan will be accepted as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which will hold a summit meeting in June. Until recently, it was often understood that the policies undertaken by the SCO were consistent with those of the Belt and Road Initiative, while it seems possible that the two high-profile initiatives driven by China will play different roles in the international arena, depending on India’s actions in the coming years.
 
On one hand, India seems to engage with China, but on the other it expresses criticism toward China’s approach in trying to establish regional stability. This policy undertaken by India against China could be interpreted as a hedge-and-engage approach. How will this approach work for India with respect to its relationship with China? Future developments in India’s diplomatic strategy will be worthy of attention along with the SCO.
 
 
 
 
 
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 A career diplomat, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, is the first woman to be the island nation’s envoy to India. As Foreign Secretary, she was Sri Lanka’s top diplomat for 18 months before being posted to New Delhi.
 
read-more
"Look forward to welcoming India's PM Modi to @WhiteHouse on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!" US President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival for a three-day official visit. 
 
read-more
“Prime Minister Modi and President Trump found some common ground on international security and economic growth.
 
read-more
With weird concoction like "Beer Yoga" getting popular as the next big international fitness craze, the ancient art of inner blossoming is seemingly going topsy-turvy. And as yoga hogs the limelight on its third International Day, the loud call for saving the spirit of the ancient and modern practice can't be swept under
 
read-more
On Shab-i-Qadr, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammad Ayub Pandith was deputed for access control duty at Jamia Masjid – the Grand Mosque in the heart of downtown Srinagar and a stronghold of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Faro.
 
read-more
The Afghan problem needs a political solution in which regional powers need to play a role. Regional, meaning not the US, and powers, meaning China, not a second level petty aggressor like India.
 
read-more
While it is critical how Mohammed bin Salman — the new Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler as his father Salman has been slowed by age and reported illness — will handle the desert kingdom’s internal issues, the international community will be keeping a keen eye on how he handles Riyadh’s external relations.
 
read-more
The Iraqi city of Mosul this week celebrates its first Eid free of the oppressive rule of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) in three years.
 
read-more
President Donald J. Trump hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at the White House on June 26 for an official visit to Washington, D.C.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
Column-image

  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive