SINO-US Confrontation: Impact on India and Pakistan


SINO-US Confrontation: Impact on India and Pakistan

As a new era of Sino-US confrontation unfolds and as India warms up to the US amidst the deepening schism with China, C Raja Mohan (director, Institute of South Asian Studies and contributing editor on international affairs for The Indian Express) writes Pakistan “can’t abandon China”, and yet,  it “does not want to be totally alienated from Washington……Pakistan is eager to build a relationship with Washington that is not tied to US stakes in Kabul…”

For India, “how Pakistan copes with the new dynamic between the US and China as well as manages the deepening crisis in Afghanistan would be of great interest.”

Pakistan army, writes Mohan “worries that its leverage in Washington will diminish once the US turns its back on Afghanistan and towards the Indo-Pacific. Pakistan does not want to get in the Indo-Pacific crossfire between the US and China. It would also like to dent India’s growing importance in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.”


Pakistan’s three big problems

India should not underestimate Pakistan. It has been good at using its great power alliances to its own benefit. “But there are three big problems that now complicate Pakistan’s strategic autonomy.

One is its relative economic decline….Second is Pakistan’s enduring obsessions with separating Kashmir from India, and extending its political sway over Afghanistan; both look elusive despite massive political investments by the Pakistan army.”

A “third and less discussed element complicates Pakistan’s international politics. Turning Islam into a political instrument and empowering religious extremism seemed fiendishly clever a few decades ago, but today those forces have acquired a life of their own and severely constrain the capacity of the Pakistani state to build internal coherence and widen international options.”

Nevertheless, Mohan concludes “it will be unwise to rule out Pakistan’s positive reinvention; no country has a bigger stake in it than India.”

All Neighbours Article