GS (M) Paper-2: “Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests”
Back on track? India-China cooperation in Afghanistan
The recent discussions between Indian and Chinese officials on the way forward in Afghanistan are a welcome sign that both countries are attempting to put a very bad year in bilateral ties behind them, and seek common ground where possible.
Points of Convergence:
- In Afghanistan, both China and India see potential for investment and share concerns over the rise of radicalism and terrorism. There are many avenues for cooperation in Afghanistan.
- In fact Beijing had initiated the special talks by inviting Indian officials who deal with Afghanistan and proposed a “joint development project”.
- This encourages the conclusion that China is unwilling to have its options cramped by Pakistan’s reservations about India’s role in Afghanistan.
The Way Forward:
- It has been suggested that India must prepare for the larger challenge this year that will inevitably come from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI, or One Belt, One Road).
- Through the mega infrastructure and trade project, China has plans in place to reach out to each one of India’s land and maritime neighbours, most of whom have signed up for it.
- India has decided to not join the B&RI and will not attend even as an observer as the $51-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, now an integral part of the B&RI initiative, runs through areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- This concerns India’s territorial integrity, and New Delhi needs to find ways to make China more sensitive to its concerns.
About the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative:
- The “Belt and Road” initiative was raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
- The “Belt and Road” initiative refers to the New Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China with Europe through Central and Western Asia, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, connecting China with Southeast Asian countries, Africa and Europe.