On China expressing its inability to reign in North Korea – its protege – to the US, on North Korea’s belligerence and testing of ballistic missiles, US President Donald Trump said that if China is not prepared to help, then US will sort out North Korea on its own.
Trump ordered American strike group under super aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to steam towards North Korea. Now, when Carl Vinson has reached within striking distance of North Korea, Trump is again consulting China on how to diffuse the rising tension. There is no doubt that economically, China is already a world leader. In the meanwhile, it continues to promote soft power through media and outlets of Confucius institutes. It has already surpassed investment of the United States in Africa and Latin America.
With its ‘One Belt One Road’ economic initiative finally connecting Europe, China has already become a dominant power in Asia–Pacific region. India and Japan are constrained from their own internal problems to play a balancing role while Australia with its huge trade surplus with the country does not want to disturb China.
So where does India fit into this global power equation? India is a member of G-20 and a major regional military and economic power in South Asia. However, it is hampered in its growth by its nuclear-capable neighbour Pakistan. Pakistan has been further emboldened by its close economic ties with China, with the Asian superpower already having invested over 47 billion dollars in Pakistan under its ‘One Belt One Road’ project known as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Unfortunately, India’s global voice is rather insignificant while China is consolidating its influence in South Asia too. In South Asia, India is trying to figure out how to calibrate its relationship with China, while China’s foot prints are showing up all around India.
CPEC is hardly an economic corridor, asit provides China strategic access to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port located in the Arabian Sea, to serve China’s long-term military goals. At the same time, China is building transportation infrastructure in Gilgit-Baltistan region of PoK, a part of India which is now under Pakistani control and a disputed territory.
In such a situation, what role America plays in its relationship with China and India, becomes utmost important. Trump administration should realise that the earlier it breaks its bonhomie with China, the better it would be because the Cold War is over and Russia, now, is no threat to America, but sooner than later, China will be.
America coming closer to India and Japan and even Australia to form an unofficial Axis against China will be beneficial to all. In the meanwhile, India must be more assertive against China and accordingly build its military power. We must not forget that the Indian border with China is all along Himalayan range, where all the 62 passes are held by us. Thus, the Himalayas are a big leveller between the two Asian powers.
By: Meri News
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