The CPEC may be a bilateral endeavour, but New Delhi cannot ignore its spillover effects on regional governance and regime creation in South Asia.
In the third of a five-part interview centred around his new book on Indian foreign policy, Choices, the former national security adviser evaluates India’s Pakistan policy.
Rather than focusing on Pakistan and issues with China, India would have done well to look towards matters of strategic importance, such as OBOR and the Eurasian Economic Union.
As CPEC takes off, it is important to desensationalise the topic and promote a clearer understanding of the agreement.
Although China continues to offer material support and a calibrated measure of diplomatic protection to Pakistan, it is also pressing its “all-weather friend” to mitigate tensions with India.
“India feels isolated in the region after the CPEC as part of greater One-Belt One-Road (OBOR) was launched,” Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister Hafizur Rehman said.
Much of what we have seen in the strengthened China-Pakistan alignment in the last decade is a reaction to the rise of India.
Clearly, there has been a change of mind, making India’s path to membership to the Eurasian body more thorny.
India has to improve its connectivity with growth markets and link into Asia’s production and supply chains. We cannot be left isolated in our own backwater.
New Delhi is concerned about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, part of the new ‘Silk Road’, but it need not despair as India is an important part of the existing multi-polar Asia architecture.
The electricity generating projects are likely to saddle the Pakistani government with a massive fiscal burden but the real cost of CPEC is likely to be felt in the changing civil-military balance.
The Pakistani army will probably always be suspicious of Nawaz Sharif when he talks to his Indian counterpart.