China-India Brief #86

china-india-brief-86


Published Twice a Month
December 20 – January 10, 2016

Centre on Asia and Globalisation
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy


Guest Column

The China-Pakistan-Russia Troika: A Wake-up Call for India?

by Jagannath Panda

Triangularity has lately become the flavour of the season in international relations discourse. Major powers, beyond their usual bilateral engagements, have been embracing the tripartite mode of engagement in recent times to establish a tactical thread for a twofold advantage: (i) gain more in their foreign policy; and (ii) influence collectively the regional balance of power in their favour. A prominent example is the China-Pakistan-Russia triangulation. Its avowed intent is to address regional security problems, primarily the security conditions in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. For India, however, the emergence of this troika forebodes disturbance in its geopolitical standing in the region

The trilateral China-Pakistan-Russia consultation meeting, held in Moscow on 27 December 2016, was the third in the series. Involving special representatives from the three countries, the consultation discussed regional security issues, mainly the security situation in Afghanistan, and reiterated the willingness of China and Russia – it should be specifically noted, two members of the UN Security Council – to de-list some persons from the sanctions imposed by the UNSC. The press statement from the meeting indicates that Afghanistan may be involved in the future to discuss the security concerns implicating it.

However, this trilateral arrangement is more of a geopolitical alignment that is aimed to influence regional security conditions to the three countries’ strategic advantage, at a possible cost to Indian strategic autonomy and challenging the India-US strategic bonhomie in the region. All the three powers concerned are in close proximity to India. China and Pakistan are its bordering adversaries whereas Russia is a traditional partner. Of vital concern for India is the conscious Russian endorsement of this tripartite network, abandoning the earlier cold-war strategic relations with India. Importantly, this trilateral meeting was held in Moscow after the first Russia-Pakistan official consultation on regional security held on 13 December 2016.

Officially, India has stated that the troika is a “third country relationship” and that India’s relations with Russia stay “very strong”. The strategic community in India however has been wondering if there is going to be permanent damage to India-Russia relations with Moscow’s strategic shift. New Delhi needs to seriously ponder how to balance this troika, which segregates India regionally. The troika has few significant bearings in particular for India, as follows. First, the connectivity politics involving the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would significantly influence the geopolitics of the region. Second, isolating India’s advocacy in the fight against terrorism. Third, addressing the alignments that are taking place regionally, in the backdrop of an expanded Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). And fourth, distancing India and China multilaterally.

The troika seems to have a serious influence over CPEC and a consensus appears to have emerged between them on how to advance the Russian and Chinese regional planning. Russia’s strategic intention of establishing a link between the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) and CPEC gets fulfilled through Pakistani and Chinese backing. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed Russian media reports that Russia is secretly backing the CPEC and has described the cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad as being “independent” in nature. It has also pointed out that the volume of Pakistan-Russia cooperation is negligible compared with India-Russia relations. Besides, Russian diplomats have expressed the view that Moscow is not worried over the rising India-US military engagement, and therefore, Indian concern over the Russia-Pakistan bilateral engagement and in the troika is “strange”. It needs to be pointed out from the Indian side, however, that the India-US ties were never meant against Russia, and therefore, comparing India-US engagement with Pakistan-Russia engagement would not be apposite.

Russia’s engagement with Pakistan comprises aspects that eventually endorse China’s “belt and road” initiative and supplements CPEC. The North-South gas pipeline link is one such aspect which might not be directly linked to CPEC but it endorses Putin’s vision of linking the Eurasian region with South Asia, where Pakistan is emerging as a connecting bridge. This becomes alarming for India when the strategic community in Pakistan notes that Russia might overtly support CPEC. Russia’s partaking with Pakistan bilaterally, as well as with Pakistan and China trilaterally in the region, reduces India’s standing as regards CPEC. India maintains that CPEC runs through a disputed territory that is of concern to India and China and Pakistan have unilaterally taken a decision on CPEC. China’s unilateral decision to engage with Pakistan to invest in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) under CPEC affects India’s sovereignty over POK, and brings into question India’s historical claim on POK.

Importantly, the troika poses a new set of strategic challenges for India in its fight against terrorism, a phenomenon which has primarily been sponsored by Pakistan all these years. Pakistan has been protected in this regard at the UN by its “all-weather” friend China. Russia’s joining the troika would further strengthen Pakistan’s standing against India. It may be noted that the trilateral consultation meeting mainly discussed the “national reconciliation process in Afghanistan” without involving Afghanistan in the discussion. Afghanistan protested over such trilateral discussion without involving Kabul itself. The press statement from the trilateral meeting indicates that Afghanistan may be invited for future consultation, but the suspense continues whether Kabul will finally become a part of this exercise. Meanwhile, the troika has certainly influenced the regional fight against terrorism by agreeing to exclude some individuals from the list of sanctioned persons that are part of the Taliban. New Delhi on its part has mostly seen the Taliban as a Pakistan-backed militant outfit. Russia’s recent attempts at engaging with the Taliban leaders, within and outside the troika, have expressively changed the regional dynamics in the fight against terrorism. Also, a coordinated China-Pakistan effort has blocked the Indian effort to list Masood Azhar on a UN terror roll. India needs to search for new grounds on these issues and also needs to discuss with Afghanistan in length on how to offset the troika’s agenda.

The emergence of this troika indicates that a convergence of strategy between China and Russia is slowly emerging in South Asia. Even though India has stressed infrastructure connectivity between itself and the Central Asian region, little has been done to realise this ambition. This has been noted by the Russians, who have long been expecting India to respond to the Russian proposal of establishing direct connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia. As it appears now, it is not India but Pakistan that is emerging as the converging location between South Asia and Eurasia. This is significant when India has been making inroads into the SCO as a member along with Pakistan. The balance of power within SCO seems to stay very much China-Russia centric and the main beneficiary of this could be Pakistan. This must induce India to rethink the advisability of becoming a member of the SCO. The China-Russia strategic alignment with Pakistan would corner India within SCO, posing a new set of challenges for it regionally.

The emergence of the troika will not only distance China and India from each other but will also severely undermine the significance of the China-India-Russia (CIR) tripartite network. The CIR formulation has helped India to maintain steady relations with both China and Russia all these years and has strengthened the BRICS formulation where the CIR countries are involved with South Africa and Brazil. From the Indian point of view, the relevance of CIR and BRICS stands to be reviewed with the arrival of the troika. This severely changes India’s equation with China since one of the stabilising aspects of India-China relations is the multilateral chain of contacts like the CIR, BRICS and SCO. The arrival of the troika empowers Beijing’s regional outreach in South Asia, and that conflicts with India’s core strategic interests. Also, the Chinese leadership has not seen South Asia and Afghanistan in isolation from its vision of linking Eurasia with South Asia. Tacitly acknowledging the existing differences between China and India on several matters like listing Azhar Masood as a terrorist under the UN and on the prospects of India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), Beijing has officially stated recently that “China would like to work with India” for an important consensus in 2017.

The troika will be a game-changer in swaying the regional balance of power against India’s strategic interest. India seems to have been cornered by this tactical regional understanding where Pakistan has emerged as the pivotal point of regional politics. The change of guard in the United States has further complicated the situation for India, since New Delhi remains unsure about President-elect Donald Trump’s approach towards the region. Much will depend upon how India approaches the entire spectrum of regional politics against the backdrop of its relations with Russia and China. The troika is surely a development that India cannot afford to ignore. New Delhi needs a serious policy rethink on how to respond to the troika and deal with the powers of this configuration, either bilaterally or collectively.

 

Jagannath Panda is Research Fellow & Centre Head for East Asia at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. He is the author of ‘India-China Relations: Politics of Resources, Identity and Authority in a Multipolar World Order’ (Routledge 2017).


Guest Column

India-China ties: Can sub-national governments help in bridging the gap

by Tridivesh Singh Maini

One of the important changes which has taken place is the importance being given to the role of states and Provinces in this significant but extremely challenging relationship. Significantly, during his visit to India in September 2014, President Xi Jinping landed in Ahmedabad (Gujarat — the home state of PM Modi). In 2015, during his visit to China, PM Modis first stop was Xi’an, President Xi Jinping’s home town.

While provinces have been at the forefront of China’s growth story for over 3 decades, India’s state governments have been coming into their own ever since the 1990’s in the aftermath of economic liberalization as well as the rise of strong regional leaders.

There is a growing body of literature on how Chinese Provinces and Indian states can bridge the gap between both countries. William Antholis in ‘Inside out India and China: Local Politics goes Global’ (2015) makes an interesting comparison of the role being played by Indian States and Chinese provinces in their countries economic progress, while also arguing in favour of a larger role for both in the economic relationship between both countries.

Jabin Jacob in a chapter ‘China’s Provinces and Foreign Policy: Lessons and Implications for India and Its States’ written for ‘Agartala Doctrine: A Proactive North East in Indian Foreign Policy)’ (2016) edited by Subir Bhaumik. Says Jacob (p.263-264) ‘The growing number of exchanges between Indian and Chinese sub-national actors is dominated by trade and commercial interests and Indian envoys in China today, are in fact, savvy enough to court Chinese capital at both the central and provincial levels’

During the Indian PM’s China in May 2015, a sub-national dialogue, ‘India-China Forum of State/Provincial leaders’, was inaugurated. Speaking about the relevance of states and provinces, the Indian PM stated:
‘..states have a vital role to play in the national development. This is especially true for large and populous countries, with a high degree of geographical, social and economic diversity. It becomes even more relevant, when the constitutional and political systems are federal in structure. These attributes exist in both India and China, the world’s two most populous nations.

During his visit, The Indian  PM was also accompanied by Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis and then Gujarat CM, Anandiben Patel. Both states have subsequently made efforts to cement economic ties as well as enhance people to people linkages.

While PM Modi visited China twice as Chief Minister,  a number of Chief Ministers have visited China. A number of CM’s including Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu (April 2015, June 2016), Madhya Pradesh CM, Shivraj Singh Chohan (2011,2016)  and Telangana CM, K Chandrashekhar Rao (September 2015). The Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar and Karnataka CM  C Siddaramiah have also visited China. Naidu’s visits have been reasonably successful and in October 2016, The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) signed an agreement with Power China Guizhou Engineering Corporation, Aluminium Corporation of China Limited, and Guizhou Maritime Silk Road International Investment Corporation for jointly develop the mines and industrial park in Andhra Pradesh. This agreement was signed on the sidelines of the fourth India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. During his visit in June 2016, the AP CM had interacted with these organizations.

Apart from the increasing level of interaction between provincial leaders, There has also been an increase in Sister-City arrangements and sister province between both countries  In 2013 an agreement was signed by both countries  to develop the concept of sister cities. In October 2013, during Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singhs visit, three metros of India  were paired with Chinese cities, they were Delhi-Beijing, Bengaluru-Chengdu and Kolkata-Kunming.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in September 2014, an agreement was signed to establish a sister-city relationship between Ahmedabad and Guangzhou, while Gujarat and Guangdong became sister-provinces. During PM Modis visit in 2015, Four agreements were signed on sister-state and sister-city relations between Karnataka and Sichuan province; Chennai and Chongqing; Hyderabad and Qingdao; and Aurangabad and Dunhuang. In June 2016, an agreement was signed between Nagpur and Jinan for establishing a sister city agreement, while in December 2016, a similar agreement was signed between Agra and Chengdu.

There have also been efforts to strengthen people to people ties and cultural links through tourism and culture. The states of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala held roadshows in China for promotion of tourism. Apart from this, both countries have also been trying to utilize Buddhism as a way of strengthening bilateral ties between both countries. In 2011, during his visit to China, the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressed a conference on “Buddhism: Mapping Asia’s History and Culture” in Beijing on June 18, 2011 and also spoke in favour of strengthening ties between Bihar and Shandong Province, both possess a strong Buddhist heritage. China has also evinced interest in other Buddhist Circuits in India including that of the state of Andhra Pradesh.

US-China Cooperation

Sister province agreements between China and US have given a boost not just to economic but also political ties between both countries. A strong instance being that of President Xi Jinping and  Terry Branstad who till recently was Governor of Iowa (for six terms) and has been appointed as US Ambassador to China by Donald Trump due to his strong rapport with the Chinese President. President Xi met Branstad first in 1985 during a visit to the US, as Hebei and Iowa were sister provinces. In 2012, President Xi again met with Branstad who was governor of Iowa. Since 2013, cities and provinces in China have established six joint working groups involving California, Chicago, Texas and some other regions in the United States.

While there is immense scope exchanges should be based on complementarities. For instance, the Punjab CM visited China and explored the possibility of greater cooperation in the sphere of agriculture with Jiangsu Province. Similarly, based on Buddhism ties can be strengthened between specific states and provinces. While the Provincial level dialogue which has been initiated is a good step it needs to be more well defined, so that exchanges between Indian states and Chinese provinces produce concrete results.

It is also important to ensure, that exchanges between India and China are not restricted to a few select provinces and states and to the economic sphere. There should be tangible outcomes from these exchanges, especially in the context of giving a boost to tourism.

 

Tridivesh Singh Maini is Assistant Professor with The Jindal School of International Affairs, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat.

The views expressed in the article(s) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy or the National University of Singapore.


 

News Reports

Bilateral relations

India testfires nuclear-capable Agni V intercontinental ballistic missile
Global Times, December 26
India Monday successfully testfired its long-range, nuclear-capable and surface-to-surface Agni V intercontinental ballistic missile from a military island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha. Agni V, with a range of over 5,000 km, can carry a nuclear warhead of up to 1,000 kg. The solid propellant-driven missile, which is 17 metres long and weighs about 50 tonnes, is a fire-and-forget system that cannot be easily detected as it follows a ballistic trajectory.

China’s stance on terror self-defeating, says India
The Hindu, January 6
India on Wednesday said that China is following “double standard” on terrorism and asked Beijing to support its campaign to blacklist Pakistan-based terror mastermind Masood Azhar. Addressing the mid-term press conference of the MEA to mark two-and-a-half years of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said China’s block at the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council that prevented India from blacklisting the terror boss was “self-defeating”.

India reply to China concern: Another nuke missile test
New Indian Express, January 9
Amidst rising concern of China over successful test firing of ICBM Agni-V, India is contemplating a fresh test of its longest range submarine-launched ballistic missile, code named K-4, which is capable of delivering nuclear warhead over 3,500 km away. Sources said, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planning to conduct the test from an undersea platform in the Bay of Bengal by month-end.

 

News Reports

China and India in the Regions

China’s Belt and Road initiative to be further fleshed out in 2017
Global Times, December 25
China is expected to further promote its Belt and Road initiative next year against the backdrop of rising resentment over globalization and the new Donald Trump administration in the US, as the initiative will be linked with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a summit hosted by China, experts said. The coming year will see a summit on the Belt and Road initiative and the ninth BRICS summit, which are two major conferences for China’s home field diplomacy, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in an interview with the People’s Daily on Thursday. “Holding the two summits comes at the right time when both the trend of anti-globalization among developed economies and calls for greater globalization in the developing countries still exist,” Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

China urges BRICS nations to deepen partnership for brighter future
Global Times, January 1
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday called on BRICS countries, namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to deepen their partnership for a brighter future. Xi made the call in a letter sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Michel Temer and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to brief the leaders on China’s blueprint for promoting BRICS cooperation during Chinese presidency over the bloc in 2017. China will host the ninth BRICS leaders’ summit in Xiamen, a coastal city in southeast China’s Fujian Province, in September, Xi said. Over the past decade, BRICS countries have made joint efforts to yield fruits in cooperating on politics, economy and people-to-people exchanges, Xi said.

China wants Russia to calm India and save CPEC
Forbes, January 8
China is eager to see Russia join The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, according to a recently published article in Global Times, though the Russian embassy in Islamabad denied the reports. “Russia’s participation in the CPEC, including the use of the Gwadar Port, could give a boost to Sino-Russian cooperation and be a demonstration project of One Belt and One Road (OBOR) that will enhance future multinational cooperation,” writes Li Xing. But the real reason behind China’s eagerness to bring Russia to CPEC project is elsewhere in my opinion: use Russia to appease India, which claims control of a crucial part of CPEC.

Wary of China, India offers Akash surface-to-air missiles to Vietnam
The Times of India, January 9
India is now actively discussing the possible sale of the indigenously developed Akash surface-to-air missile systems to Vietnam, even as the two countries steadily crank up their bilateral military ties with a watchful eye on a confrontational China in the Asia-Pacific region. With Beijing continuing to thwart New Delhi’s bid to join the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group and get Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar designated a terrorist by the UN, while also stepping up its naval forays into the Indian Ocean Region, India is responding by fast-tracking military ties with countries in China’s own backyard. The expanding “strategic and military partnership” with Japan and Vietnam, in particular, has emerged a major thrust area.

 

News Reports

Trade and Economy

Xiaomi’s India sales pass $1 billion as Chinese brands hold sway
Bloomberg, January 5
Xiaomi Corp. surpassed $1 billion in annual India revenue two years after selling its first smartphone in the country, as Chinese names begin to dominate the world’s fastest-growing major market at the expense of local players. Xiaomi said it grew shipments by almost 150 percent in 2016, selling two million smartphones in the third quarter alone. The company had focused on India since failing to meet sales targets and dropping to number four in a home market it once led. India is increasingly attracting foreign players as global demand stagnates. Apple Inc. is said to be exploring ways to expand its business there. Chinese companies in particular went on an advertising blitz in 2016, touting superior specifications at affordable prices.

China nibbles at Samsung share to take 50 percent of India’s smartphone market
Reuters, January 6
Chinese brands took their largest ever slice of the $10-billion Indian smartphone market in late 2016, accounting for more than one in every two phones sold – a growing market share that ate into sales from top-selling Samsung Electronics. Samsung, the single most popular smartphone brand in India, commanded a roughly 30 percent market share just over a year ago. That slipped to 21 percent in November, according to tech research firm Counterpoint, the last month for which data is available. Meanwhile – thanks to low cost, improved technology and an advertising blitz – Chinese brands like Oppo, Lenovo, OnePlus, Gionee and Xiaomi took a combined share of over 50 percent, compared to just 19 percent a year ago.

 

News Reports

Energy and Environment

India’s oil demand growth will outpace China’s for the third year in a row
The Economic Times, January 6
Platts Analytics has predicted a 7% rise to 4.13 million barrels per day in Indian oil demand in 2017, compared with a 3% rise in Chinese oil demand to 11.50 million barrels per day. Platts expects China and India to boost their imports of LNG respectively by 28% and 38%. The first OPEC-led global production cut in 15 years underpins an emerging but fragile recovery, with 2017 set to see a huge stock overhang disappear by the third quarter. The oil market will move from over-supply to a more balanced supply-demand situation, according to Platts Analytics. With Saudi Arabia and Russia joining forces to cut output by almost 800,000 barrels per day in the first six months of the year, and other oil producers under pressure to comply with their share of cuts to bring the total close to 1.8 million barrels per day, there remains a great deal of optimism in some quarters that the pace of rebalancing will be accelerated; in others there is scepticism that OPEC and its non-OPEC associates can really deliver.

Piyush Goyal dismisses doubts on Chinese solar equipment quality
The Indian Express, January 9
Dismissing doubts on quality of Chinese solar equipment, Power Minister Piyush Goyal Monday said that India is looking at affordable power and not at the country of its origin, especially when it is imported by private players who ensure quality beforehand. India imported solar and photovoltaic cells worth about USD 826 million from China in the first six months of the current fiscal, which is over 87 per cent of the country’s total such imports. “We are looking at ensuring that power cost remains affordable in India and within that, as long as quality is maintained in a globally integrated world, we don’t see where the equipment comes from,” Goyal told reporters when asked about large solar cells orders going to China.

 


Analyses

New Delhi overreaches to meddle in China’s core interests
Global Times, December 21
It would be naïve for India to assume that its economy will boom if it draws closer to the upcoming Trump administration amid a pending trade war between Beijing and Washington. Overestimating US-India economic ties may mislead India and send it down the wrong path for economic development. New Delhi needs to be realistic in terms of growth. Instead of tilting toward the US, it should focus on developing its manufacturing industry and integrating itself into the global supply chain to expand exports to narrow its trade deficits with major trading partners and create jobs to generate growth. 

Malabar exercise more bluster than real deterrence in East China Sea
Global Times, December 26
Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the US Seventh Fleet, said earlier this month that India, Japan and the US are set to focus their next round of marine war games, the Malabar exercise, on anti-submarine warfare. The exercise has “assumed significance” at a time when “China has become more assertive, and their submarines forays in the Indian Ocean region have increased,” said India Today. It indicates a continuation of the Malabar 2016 that targeted China. The Malabar exercise started in 1992 with the US and India in the Indian Ocean. Since Japan joined in 2007, it has alternated between the West Pacific and the Indian Ocean. In June, the three countries held their largest ever joint exercise, which involved 11 vessels and 8,000 personnel. As they planned to enhance their anti-submarine warfare operations, analysts believe that they would jeopardize the peace and stability in the East China Sea region so as to distract China’s attention from the South China Sea and disturb the political landscape in the Asia-Pacific.

India needs to cool its missile fever
Global Times, January 4
On Monday, India successfully tested its long-range ballistic missile, Agni-IV, which can travel 4,000 kilometers and carry a nuclear warhead, in the wake of an earlier successful test-firing of Agni-V that has a range of more than 5,000 kilometers. The country’s media were elated in their reports, stressing that India’s tests of the nuclear-capable ballistic missile “covers entire China.” “Agni-V can deter China,” said The Times of India. India has broken the UN’s limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile. The US and some Western countries have also bent the rules on its nuclear plans. New Delhi is no longer satisfied with its nuclear capability and is seeking intercontinental ballistic missiles that can target anywhere in the world and then it can land on an equal footing with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members.

China needs to prepare for US energy independence
Global Times, January 8
Even though the demand for petroleum from the world’s two major consumers – China and the US – has slowed down in recent years, global demand has grown at a steady pace. The US, China, India and Japan remain the biggest oil consumers, accounting for 20.5 percent, 12.2 percent, 4.6 percent and 4.3 percent of global consumption in 2016, respectively. The US is still the No.1 oil consumer and is heavily dependent on imports of crude oil. US President-elect Donald Trump’s advocated energy independence policy hopes to increase domestic oil production and reduce reliance on imported oil and ensure the security of energy supply. More specifically, Trump expects the country to focus more on domestic gas and oil exploration, loosen relevant regulations and encourage US enterprises to drill for oil at its continental shelf.

Next door Nepal: Being with the force
The Indian Express, January 9
China’s pledge for a grant of one billion RMB for post-earthquake reconstruction and border road construction last month came as a new year gift to Nepal. It was a message that China’s involvement in Nepal will grow. The deal signed in Beijing between Nepal’s ambassador to China and China’s vice minister for commerce coincided with a significant announcement by the spokesperson of the Chinese defence ministry. He said that Nepal and China will conduct a “joint military training” soon, something that may not be taken very kindly in India.

The myth of a political bond
The Indian Express, January 10
As India’s relations with China continue to head south, Delhi will find it difficult to sustain a core belief about its engagement with Beijing. India has long insisted that Delhi has shared global interests with Beijing and must build on them despite enduring differences on the bilateral level. Three multilateral developments during 2016 have shattered that persistent illusion. The first was Beijing’s ferocious opposition to Delhi’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group that regulates international nuclear commerce. The second was China’s unyielding determination to block Indian efforts to get the UN Security Council to designate Masood Azhar of the Jaish-e-Mohammed a terrorist. In the third, China has dredged up a long forgotten UN Security Council resolution to declare India’s nuclear deterrent illegitimate; in the same breath, it warned that it will boost Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme.


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the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore