China’s hand behind conflicts in South Asia
On the face of it, China tries to project an image of being a developed leader of the South Asian nations, but a keen eye can see that these claims are far away from reality. China – being a hypocrite – wields its military and economic power in tactful and covert ways in the region to undermine the sovereignty of it’s neighbours. China views South Asia as a key to revising the security order of the world given the strategic nature of the region.
A key point here is China’s exploitation of Pakistan. China fears India’s rise as a global superpower and seeks to use Pakistan as a proxy to constrain India. Given the nature of US-China rivalry it also allows China to counter the US – which usually sides with India. Chinese funded development projects have contributed significantly to Pakistan’s debt load, making it a puppet in CCP’s hands.
Especially since the last year, China has started supporting Pakistan’s claims over Kashmir. China aims to deplete India’s resources by keeping the threat of a two front war alive. Both countries support each others baseless claims of owning parts of India’s territory.
In fact many experts opine China deliberately provoked the Galwan valley clashes with India. After China’s hands in the Covid 19 outbreak came to the forefront and it lost face, many firms started shifting out of China and moving to India. Worried about this development, China provoked the clashes to create instability in the region and scare away potential Indian investors. Unfortunately it bit off more than it could chew. Indian government reacted strongly with economic and military actions and China also lost out opportunities to do business in the region.
China is also developing its navy capabilities to improve its power projection in the Indian Ocean. Considering China has no respect for International law and is a serious and repeat offender, there’s a possibility that it might try to restrict movement in the Indian Ocean.
Many of the smaller countries in South Asia like Nepal, Bangladesh etc. cooperate with China as a hedge against Indian dominance. This is only partially true. India and US are democratic countries and do not support authoritarian regimes. These smaller countries use the threat of aligning with China to gain the support of democratic countries for their own authoritarian regime.
China’s support for the peace process in Afghanistan is not because it really wants peace, but because it doesn’t want a new safe haven for its dissidents. The main focus now is China’s belt and road initiative. Though heavy investments are being made, China has been manipulating other nations to suits it’s own interests. During infrastructure construction, Chinese standards are used – an extension of China’s Standards policy to promote Chinese standards. In all probability, China will use the large costs of these projects to create a debt trap for participating nations and use their support to advance its agenda of global domination.