OPTIONS BEFORE INDIA
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
CHINESE NATIONALS AT KHUNJERAB PASS, IN 2015