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China’s Diabolical Political Outreach to South Asia’s ‘Non-Performing Assets’ to Isolate India

Paper No. 6656                 Dated 6-Aug-2020

By Dr Subhash Kapila

China persists in political isolation of India as evidenced from China’s last week’s efforts to entice Nepal-Pakistan –Afghanistan, strategically in my view, as South Asia’s “Non-Performing Assets” (NPA in financial terminology) to join China under cover of cooperation to fight Wuhan Vius19 Pandemic which China itself generated.

Geopolitically, China’s diabolical initiative to somehow strategically bind together Nepal and Afghanistan along with Pakistan as a projected anti-Indian South Asian Group under cover of Pandemic- countering initiative led by China and Chinese financial assistance should not disconcert Indian foreign policy establishment.

Simply, because even if Nepal and Afghanistan seriously gravitate towards China’s orbit substantially they would be at best lightweight ‘Regional Spoiler States’ added to Pakistan for company. To that extent, the China-sponsored NPA South Asian Group would be at best an Indian foreign policy irritant or distraction which India can comfortably take care of with its global geopolitical leverages.

Notwithstanding the above, Indi has to be on guard and keep China’s further moves on Nepal and Afghanistan under close scrutiny, especially in the case of Nepal which China is intent on manoeuvring into a decidedly anti-Indian State, This arises from Nepal’s long and porous borders with India with North Bihar and North Uttar Pradesh and Uttarhahand which were lightly manned in the context of traditional Hindu civilizational ties and shared heritage.

 India’s intelligence agencies will now have o be more vigilant against Nepal which was earlier a Pakistan ISI den but now can be expected to emerge as a joint base for combined Pakistan-China Axis intelligence base against India.

Would the potential China-sponsored South Asia NPA Group upset the South Asia balance of power against India? In my assessment the answer is that it really does not matter much.

However, more significantly, it is the Chinese diabolical underlying intentions that come into focus in terms of China’s relentless adversarial offensives against India which encompass comprehensive political, economic and military domains.

Geopolitically, it seems that China is attempting not only the political isolation of India but also to have the Indian Subcontinental Wall of the Himalayan Ranges extending from Afghanistan to Arunachal Pradesh under complete China’s strategic embrace.

 Bhutan as the only Nation still friendly disposed towards India has already been put under political pressure by China to wean it away from India.

Bangladesh though not geographically located astride the Himalayan Range but in close proximity of Chumbi Valley of China Occupied Tibet is being wooed by China with a dual strategy lately in conjunction with Pakistan playing the Islamic Card.

So what does this all of the above signify to India and what political signalling is China resorting to against India? Should not India recognise that no political or economic space exists for China Appeasement or not asserting in declaratory terms that China is India’s Enemy Number One’ constantly undermining not only India’s Sovereignty and National Security on India’s borders with China Occupied Tibet but also relentlessly like ‘termites’ hollowing –out India’s traditional areas of Influence in South Asia

Moving to analysis of China’s latest moves to add Nepal and Afghanistan to a new loose coalition of  China-beholden ‘Regional Spoiler States’ it needs to be initially stated that in 2020 China itself  in increasing political isolation globally has sought to exploit the internal flux-ridden, economically weak countries of Nepal and Afghanistan to its fold. Let us first look at Nepal and Afghanistan and then at Pakistan.

Nepal under its present PM Oli has exhibited widely through his attitudinal inclinations that Nepal has already moved into China’s orbit that is strategically in military confrontation with India.

Nepal’s actions under its controversial PM Oli resorting to generating a boundary dispute with India against the backdrop of ongoing China-India Military Confrontation is clear indication that the present Nepalese Government’s intentions are to imbalance andembarrass India to please China.

The crucial question is whether Nepal under any political dispensation can afford to adopt adversarial stances against India and perceptively advancing China’s strategic interest against India?

Nepal needs to remember that India has many more coercive leverages against Nepal should India also gets unrestrained by continuing Nepalese Government adopting adversarial stances against India and undermining India’s national security interests.

Nepal was gifted away on a platter to Nepalese Maoists regime on a platter by Congress Government during UPA I regime in which India’s Leftists then part of UPA I played a dominating role. As my writings of that period indicated that what the Nepalese Maoists could not achieve for years through their insurgency, India’s Congress Governent handed over to them political power on a platter via the backdoor by displacing the only reigning Hindu Monarch of Nepal.

While the Indian Foreign Office grapples as to how to retrieve Nepal from China’s clutches one cannot help but observe that the Chinese Ambassador in Nepal—a lady has seemingly outsmarted India’s diplomats in Nepal. India must proactively regenerate its diplomacy and its intelligence monitoring in Nepal.

Pakistan’s emergence as a confirmed strategic satellite state of China, with China having effectively established a ‘colonial hold’ over Pakistan stands widely analysed by policy analysts both regionally and globally. Therefore not much is required to be added in form of commentary on Pakistans’ irretrievability from China’s deadly strategic embrace.

India’s ongoing policy of diplomatic isolation of Pakistan has been successful and needs active pursuance. India’s policy thrusts on Pakistan in 2020 need to focus on thwarting China’s efforts to build Pakistan into a more proactive ‘Regional Spoiler State’ which acts as a magnet to coalesce Nepal and Afghanistan into the Chinese fold,

India’s diplomatic efforts in the above direction need to be multiplied not in Pakistan which is irretrievable as a non-adversarial state against India, but with the imperatives of hyperactive focussed diplomacy in Nepal and Afghanistan to impede their down sliding towards the China-Pakistan Axis operating against India.

Afghanistan which has long historical ties with India pre-dating the emergence of Pakistan as a nation state in 1947 appears to being especially targeted by China to wean it away from its deep political and economic ties with India. The Chinese effort is not only to wean way Afghanistan from India’s benign and constructive influence stems  not only from enticing Afghanistan to the Chinese fold in terms of its Greater South West Asia strategic  blueprint but also to position Afghanistan as a pro-Pakistan friendly state contributing to protecting the Western Flank of China’s flagship project in Pakistan----the CPEC.

China is encouraged in the above direction by United States vacillating postures in its commitments to Afghan security and stability prompting China to lure Afghanistan with its money-purses as it did to other cash-starved economically weaker nations in South Asia and Africa.

Indian diplomacy has to work double-time from now onwards to ensure that India’s political gains in Afghanistan are not ambushed and nibbled away by China as Afghanistan heads into uncertain times ahead. Indian diplomacy should work to build on the gains existent in India’s favour in Afghanistan even if it means India working closely with United States to fill any military voids in Afghanistan.

India’s strategic imperatives clearly dictate that China’s dubious strategy of ongoing political outreach to South Asia’s NPA States is nipped in the bud. India is capable of devising counter-strategies to impede China’s efforts to add more regional spoiler states to its original and main ‘Regional Spoiler State of Pakistan.

Concluding, it needs to be emphasised that China even with its overloaded money bags to entice economically weak states into its strategic fold still lacks in contemporary geopolitical environment that additional geopolitical ballast to swing completely Nepal and Afghanistan. The challenge has to be met squarely by Indian diplomacy aided by imaginative and robust Indian intelligence strategies to prevent China’s inroads into India’s traditional areas of influence like Nepal and Afghanistan.