India Today - - COVER STORY -

sen­ti­ment in Bei­jing when he says that “if Modi’s government starts to view Pak­istan as an en­emy and makes dis­tur­bances within Pak­istan, or even starts a proxy war within Pak­istan and dis­rupts CPEC, not only re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia, but [also be­tween] China and In­dia will be­come very prob­lem­atic”. In Hu’s view, “China’s Pak­istan pol­icy is be­com­ing more and more proac­tive and ag­gres­sive in a con­struc­tive way, while In­dia’s Pak­istan pol­icy is be­com­ing more and more proac­tive and ag­gres­sive in a de­struc­tive way.” “So un­der such circumstances,” he warns, “this is a re­ally big con­cern.” The irony is that China’s pol­i­cy­mak­ers are aware that in many re­spects, its long-term goals in the re­gion align more closely with In­dia’s than Pak­istan’s. In Kash­mir, China wants to see a res­o­lu­tion of the dis­pute and sta­bil­ity that would al­low its projects to con­tinue unim­peded. In China’s view, as is of­ten for­got­ten, the res­o­lu­tion of Kash­mir is in some sense a pre­req­ui­site for a fi­nal res­o­lu­tion of the bound­ary ques­tion with In­dia. Bei­jing hasn’t been pre­pared to dis­cuss the sta­tus of the PoK-China border in the western sec­tor as part of the bound­ary talks with In­dia—or even ne­go­ti­ate pend­ing a res­o­lu­tion of Kash­mir—be­cause of Pak­istani sen­si­tiv­i­ties.

Even in Afghanistan, China, like In­dia, is wary of the Tal­iban’s growing in­flu­ence and wants a sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment to push in­fra­struc­ture and de­vel­op­ment projects. Bei­jing has also reached out to Delhi to work on joint projects, which may present an op­por­tu­nity for both coun­tries to build, step by step, much-needed trust in the neigh­bour­hood. It isn’t lost on Bei­jing that Pak­istan’s in­ter­ests, in both re­gions, lie not in en­sur­ing sta­bil­ity but in fo­ment­ing trou­ble.

“The prob­lems be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan are not a Chi­nese prob­lem,” says Long Xingchun, di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for In­dia Stud­ies at China West Nor­mal Univer­sity. “China re­ally wel­comes the im­prove­ment of In­di­aPak­istan re­la­tions and for them to solve their prob­lems. China hopes to


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