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  • A Compromise with India’s Sphere of Influence

    Integrating the restive Tibetan minority with China has been the primary domestic challenge for Beijing. Thus far, its Nepal policy has been crafted essentially to address the Tibetan question. The idea of trilateral cooperation between India, Nepal and China apparently floated by Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) in April 2013 was, in effect, first made by the former Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Yang Houlan, in 2012.

    September 2013

    Neither Feasible nor Desirable

    Trilateral cooperation between India, Nepal and China needs to be seen from the perspective of how beneficial it is for all three countries. However, such cooperation cannot be divorced from India’s security concerns and its close relations with Nepal. Moreover, there are several issues that come into question, too. Are there any objectives behind this proposal? Does it involve only developmental cooperation? Does it undermine India’s security interests?

    September 2013

    More Questions than Answers

    Prachanda’s proposal for trilateral cooperation between India, Nepal and China seems reasonable on the face of it. However, both China and Nepal should be aware that it will create a lot of misunderstandings in India. The reasons for this are as follows:

    September 2013

    Caution is the Key

    Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, made the trilateral proposal during his official visit to India in April 2013. This was the third time since 2010 that Prachanda had raised this issue. This concept seems to be a modified version of his earlier ‘equidistance policy’, which was declared after he became prime minister in September 2008. He proposed trilateral cooperation for the first time in October 2010 after visiting Beijing.

    September 2013

    Is India–Nepal–China Trilateral Cooperation Possible?

    Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, the chairman of the United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN) (Maoist), visited India on April 27–30, 2013, shortly after he had returned from a week-long visit to China. During his visits to China and India, Prachanda proposed trilateral cooperation between India, Nepal and China. Although he assured India that this trilateral cooperation would be founded on the bilateral relations that Nepal already shares with India, he clearly did not elaborate on the nature of this trilateral cooperation and the issues that need to be discussed within this framework.

    September 2013

    EU Weapons Embargo and Current Chinese Foreign Policy

    This article examines the EU weapons embargo on China as a major foreign policy challenge that China’s new leadership has inherited. The article argues that the continuation of the embargo constitutes a failure of Chinese foreign policy to project China as a responsible global player. The article examines the legal framework and the political debate within the EU to emphasise that the embargo has been largely ineffective in its objective of denying advanced military technology to China.

    September 2013

    Rereading Mao’s Military Thinking

    Although the nature of warfare has changed beyond recognition since the 1920s and 1930s when Chairman Mao Zedong penned his main military writings, his military thoughts are still a point of reference for any discussion on military thinking in modern China. Developments in warfare have superseded Mao’s operational principles and tactics visualised in his three-stage warfare; however, his philosophical and political understanding of war has value that transcends time and space.

    September 2013

    Xi Jinping Carries Out First General Rank Promotions in PLA

    In the first round of promotions to the senior-most ranks of PLA, Xi Jinping signals building a younger, technological savvy military that needs to be honest and under the control to the party.

    September 25, 2013

    India's approach to Asia Pacific

    India's approach to Asia Pacific

    This policy brief discusses some of the key trends in the Asia Pacific and sets out a long-term approach for India so as to maximise its security and developmental opportunities.

    September 19, 2013

    Shubhendra Mishra asked: What is the strategic significance of India’s Look East Policy? Is it to counter China’s ‘string of pearls’ network?

    Rup Narayan Das replies: India’s Look East Policy was unveiled in early 1990s before the concept of ‘string of pearls’ gained currency. In fact, India’s Look East Policy is a resurrection and rejuvenation of India’s traditional, cultural, historical and political ties with the countries in the South East Asian region. India’s deep cultural interaction is particularly evident in Bali in Indonesia and the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia. There is also an Indonesian version of Ramayana. In modern times, India extended moral and political support to the liberation struggles in Vietnam and Indonesia. India played a key role in the Geneva Conference of 1954, which brought peace to the Indo-China region after the French withdrawal. Similarly, India played an important role in the Indonesian fight against the Dutch imperialism. Thus, India’s engagement in the region has its own imperatives.

    When India’s Look East Policy was unveiled in early 1990s, it also coincided with India’s economic reforms and liberalisation, and as such, the policy has much to do with India’s economic engagement with the region rather than to counter the ‘string of pearls’ strategy attributed to China. The ‘string of pearls’ strategy refers to China’s building of ports in Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Sittwe in Myanmar. China has claimed that these ports have commercial purposes, but these ports have security and strategic implications for India. India has taken cognisance of such future possibilities and has deepened its comprehensive engagement with the countries of the region, particularly Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

    The import of India’s strategic engagement with the region can be understood from a statement by India’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, made during a discussion at Carnegie Endowment in September 2010, when he stated: “We have global interest, the Chinese have global interest, all of us do. And all the major powers, as I said, are not only interdependent on each other, but also are dealing with each other across a whole range of issues, none of which recognise some artificial geographical construct like South Asia or East Asia. These are interlocking circles of security and prosperity, whichever way you look at it.”

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