As China Expands Its Ties in South Asia, It Faces a Familiar Rival: India

As China Expands Its Ties in South Asia, It Faces a Familiar Rival: India
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the G20 Leaders Summit, Hangzhou, China, Sept. 4, 2016 (AP photo by Wang Zhao).

During a visit by Bhutan’s foreign minister to Beijing last month, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said that his government hoped to establish official diplomatic relations with its neighbor and work to solve their long-running border dispute. In an email interview, Tilak Jha, a doctoral student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, discusses China’s outreach to South Asia.

WPR: How extensive are China’s ties across South Asia, and how does China’s South Asia outreach fit with its broader foreign policy?

Tilak Jha: Beijing’s South Asia policy has two major aims, reinforced by the region’s role in China’s ambitious infrastructure and integration initiative across Eurasia, known as “One Belt, One Road.” First, China aims to engage India economically to take advantage of its growing market. But second, China aims to exploit India’s own diplomatic and economic failures, specifically its inability to break down regional trade barriers, by developing ties that undermine India’s role in South Asia. Since South Asia borders China and is one of the world’s most populous and fastest-growing regions, these goals fit neatly with China’s wider foreign policy objective of maintaining regional stability for its own domestic security and sustainable economic development.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.