India’s East-West dilemma: Story of India, Pakistan and China

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met fourth time with the President of China Xi Jinping on the backstage of G20 summit at held Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. Both leaders agreed to maintain the good relations and to stabilize Doklam issue along with many other issues related to both the countries. This was decided that everything will be done with mutual co-operation. The meet was also joined by Russian President Vladimir Putin and this emphasized on trilateral partnership also. Xi Jinping who has become all time President of China has involved himself on a neutral pathway as to stable China’s sluggish economy in recent times.

While on the western front, after the establishment of Imran Khan led new government in Pakistan, there is a lot of movement from both the side. The opening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor and the release of hostile people from both sides shows that situations have improved a little bit but when we look it at a wider angle, the story goes differently. Though Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also agreed to give help to Pakistan in cleaning the terrorism from the side of Rajasthan as well as Punjab also.

India is in a heart position when it comes with locations of Pakistan and China. Heartbeats are required to save first for the safe body but India has the danger from both opposite sides and this danger is increasing. After China’s Border Road project this danger has increased multiple times. India can’t risk by thinking that the danger is more from the side of Pakistan when compared with China. Pakistan may use bullets, which make a sound but China used various other strategies, other than the military one. For countering that, India needs to do a lot so that China could be answered in the same manner.

India’s primary security concern has been Pakistan’s attempts to destabilize, the Kashmir, Punjab, or other parts of the country. Pakistan has also been provoking Khalistani separatist along with Kashmiri too. Pakistan’s inconclusive and unsatisfactory trial of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, and the intermittent ceasefire violations along the border continue to dominate New Delhi’s perception of its security situation.

The situation becomes complicated when the relationship between China and Pakistan, who call themselves as iron brothers becomes deeper as the passing time. Where Beijing goes to the extent of vetoing UN designation of a global jihadist like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and blocks India’s legitimate entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) with a Pakistan entry condition.

China should understand that situations of today are different from 1962. This is already shown to China at the time of Doklam. After the 73-day Indian Army-PLA standoff at Doklam, the Chinese leadership started looking India with respect and with President Xi Jinping took the final call on the decision in respect of New Delhi rather than leaving this to the mandarins in the foreign ministry or PLA headquarters. China should have to understand that the economic existence of smaller nations in Asia can’t be ignored as China’s own economy depend on these nations. The need for peaceful coexistence is a must.

Pakistan needs to adjust its strategic priorities. Pakistan may think its relationship with China is all milk and honey. Beijing clearly sees Islamabad as a weapon to degrade India and a mere portal to access the Arabian Sea through Gwadar just as it uses Myanmar to access the Indian Ocean through Kyaukpyu port and possibly make India vulnerable in its rapid growing North-Eastern states.

Beijing watchers believe there is a split between Chinese intelligence and PLA over Pakistan’s role in exporting terror to India but that the generals prevail when it comes to Islamabad’s use for containment of India.

India’s growing stability in economy and closeness to US and EU is set to change the scenario. Australian Foreign Minister Ms Marise Payne, in New Delhi on the stage of Raisina Dialogue mentioned India rising maritime power. The world had understood China as well as Pakistan also very deep. India has a long way to go. Thus need to utilize every opportunity in its favour. Possibilities lie in the economy. Fastest growing and beating the UK is a milestone. Future of Asia Pacific is fully depending on India’s decisions.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Shubham Singh

Shubham Singh is a Research Analyst at The Kootneeti. His area of research includes India’s Foreign Policy and Disarmament Studies. He can be reached on

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