As an uprising global power, Chinese influence in the south Asian region is very vital. We can identify the china as a historical stakeholder in the south Asian region. Through this article I’m going to discuss about the influence of china in the south Asian region especially to the India, Pakistan.
When we go through the history, since the cold war period most of the African, Asian and Latin American countries were followed a non-alignment policy towards the cold war. While Both USSR and USA fight with each other, China wanted to be a leader among non-alignment countries. As the result of that China tended more to build up relationships between the countries.
In the south Asian context, China is one of the historical partner in south Asia especially by economic, cultural means. Arrival of Fahien monk and Hyun San to the Sri Lanka is very important. But especially after the Second World War, the Chinese influence was increased in the region.
In the India and Pakistan context, the first Chinese influence was arose in 1962 with the occupation of Aksai Chin area by the Sino Indian war. Aksai chin is a part of Jammu and Kashmir which was administrated by India. This helped to China to be a watch tower in the region.
In 1963 Pakistan ceded a part of Gilgit Baltistan to china. From this time China stopped its military pressure and started economic investments such as constructing Karakoram highway.
In 1971 Bangladesh independence war, china played an activist role in favor of Pakistan (West Pakistan).
From 1980s Chinese geo strategic influence shifted to economic and financial influence.in 2018 the bilateral trade volume between India and China was $ 53 billion, in 2019 $ 100 billion.
China wants India for economic relations and Pakistan for strategic importance. But the 3 countries look each other by a suspicious eye.
The second most important influence of China is CPEC. CPEC is the China Pakistan economic corridor, one of the 7 economic corridors in the Belt and Road initiative. In the one belt one road initiative, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are very important stakeholders. China pumps more money to the infrastructure development of the Pakistan specially the construction of the Gwadar port.
In the context of Kashmir issue, China plays a neutral position towards it. But with the recent action of India to revoke the special status of Kashmir by amending article 370, China concerns more about this issue. But according to the agreements like Shimla agreement in 1972 this issue should be resolve through bilateral means. China urges both countries to resolve the issue bilaterally and peaceful means.
Anyway, nowadays China follows a peaceful and friendly relations towards the south Asian region especially with Pakistan. Even though there are many issues between India and China , economically both countries like to strengthen ties. By the other hand China is a soft power. However the future and the security of the region depends on the Kashmir issue and the way the region react for the external threats.