UN­EASY RE­LA­TIONS

India Today - - COVER STORY -

of the sanc­tions com­mit­tee. “Nor should one pur­sue its own po­lit­i­cal gains in the name of coun­tert­er­ror­ism,” he added point­edly.

China’s back­ing is not only ex­cus­ing Pak­istani in­ac­tion but also dam­ag­ing a core In­dia con­cern, says Ashok Kan­tha, In­dia’s am­bas­sador to China un­til Jan­uary 2016, and now a Dis­tin­guished Fel­low at the Vivekananda In­ter­na­tional Foun­da­tion. “China’s diplo­matic pro­tec­tion,” he says, “is en­cour­ag­ing Pak­istan to adopt a more ir­re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude, in­clud­ing on is­sues of di­rect in­ter­est to us such as ter­ror­ism.” Bei­jing, how­ever, sees it dif­fer­ently. If it sees Pak­istan com­ing un­der “un­due pres­sure”, they will “have Pak­istan’s back”, says An­drew Small, a China­Pak­istan ex­pert at the Ger­man Marshall Fund. The re­cent in­ci­dents have strained the al­ready com­plex In­dia­China re­la­tion­ship, which has al­ways re­quired a del­i­cate bal­ance of co­op­er­a­tion and com­pe­ti­tion. Both sides have man­aged to keep the bound­ary dis­pute largely un­der con­trol, step­ping up en­gage­ment across the Line of Ac­tual Con­trol (LAC) which hasn’t seen a sin­gle shot fired in more than two decades. In fact, they are even mov­ing to broaden en­gage­ment along the con­tested border. Ear­lier this year, both mil­i­taries for the first time held re­lief drills in the sen­si­tive re­gion of eastern Ladakh along the LAC. In mid­Novem­ber, Pune will host a sixth edi­tion of coun­tert­er­ror­ism ex­er­cises be­tween the armies.

Notwith­stand­ing calls on In­dia’s so­cial me­dia to boy­cott cheap Chi­nese goods, trade and in­vest­ment are growing, and Prime Min­is­ter Modi is ag­gres­sively court­ing Chi­nese in­vest­ment in rail­ways, man­u­fac­tur­ing and smart cities. Of­fi­cials point out that in­vest­ment from China this year alone was dou­ble pal­try $400 mil­lion In­dia re­ceived from the coun­try in the past decade.

But what is ev­i­dent is that the reemer­gence of Pak­istan as a ma­jor

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