An Essay on “The New Great Game in South Asia: It’s Nature & Scope’’.
Md. Sultan Mahmud ( BE -02) , weekly review no.-02: Dhaka University (Bangladesh)
At the era of 21st century, the world politics is frequently shifting and the actors are also changing their strategic & national interests. In this context, the South Asian regions are also the part of strategic interests of regional as well as rising powers of world politics. At present time, China and India are both the key players in South Asian regions. Previously Pakistan was the main counterpart for India to achieve her strategic & national interests but now instead of Pakistan, the main counterpart for India in South Asian regions have become China. India is regularly seen as a territorial power, however a more intensive look uncovers that it is in a disadvantageous position opposite China in South Asia. The primary reason is that Indian governments never had the political, financial, and military abilities to seek after their provincial power desire with their neighbors over the long haul. South Asian nations could simply play the China card to avoid India's impact. India's new South Asia arrangement with the attention on exchange and availability has enhanced provincial collaboration since 1991. Yet, China remains a financially more appealing and politically more solid accomplice for India's neighbors. China has been taking more dynamic enthusiasm for South Asia, particularly since most recent two decades. China's developing South Asia approach depends on different components, which are deliberately determined, politically-arranged and monetarily showed. The center issues of China incorporate complex premiums and concerns like fringe dependability by checking fanaticism, exceed India-US impact in the locale, frustrate India's rising impact in South Asia, coherence of quickly developing economy by anchoring safe access to Indian Ocean courses, arousing kinship and entering the littoral states through guide and venture process, are pivotal contemplations of China's approach towards South Asia. In this way, China has embraced a way to deal with handle the association with South Asian nations all in all with most extreme care to guarantee key and security targets. Since there are three nuclear powers in this regions and 36% of world’s population lives in China and India, they both want to dominant this region by politically, economically, and strategically. In this paper I will try to show how China's geopolitical and geostrategic maneuverings with respect to 'New Great Game' exceed India in South Asia.
Key Word: String of Pearls, Tibet Card, Necklace of Diamonds Strategy, China’s Salami Slicing, Great game, South Asia, Belt & Road Initiative
Introduction: The New Great Game refers to the geopolitical and geostrategic rivalry for impact, power, authority and benefits predominately amongst China and India in South, Southeast and Central Asia and the Indian Ocean area. The noteworthy nineteenth century 'Great Game' is by all accounts during the time spent recovery, in spite of the fact that in various settings with various on-screen characters and competing interests. Rudyard Kipling, states that the Old Great Game -a reference to the nineteenth and twentieth century competition for impact in Asia amongst Russia and Britain, now hasa new competitors. Instead of an expansionist Russian Empire going up against Imperial Britain, it is now China ravenous for political, earthbound and maritime space and crude materials for which both have utilized their muscles. China has been meddling in South Asia and specifically/in a roundabout way difficult India. ( IJSRP Volume 7, Issue 5, May 2017). So in the South Asian regions, actors like China And India are not interested to build up empires just like old great game rather they are more interested in influencing economic, political, geo-spatial , security issues to get higher status . The authentic Great Game saw Britain and Russia controlling and charming against each other crosswise over the vast majority of the Asia toward the finish of the nineteenth and twentieth hundreds of years, from the Gulf to the Pacific. In like manner, it has developed amongst India and China in the 21STcentury in the midst of different converging interests. India and China have been rising as the key on-screen characters in the South Asian region with quick moving upward patterns of intensity course-be it financial, military or innovative. Their ascent and rivalry have been fundamentally influenced the geopolitical and geostrategic elements of this region. The Sino-India New Great Game really relates to regional debate, rivalry to anchor assets, development of vital military partnerships and the utilization of vital associations with other major and local forces to contain/control the rising geopolitical and geostrategic impacts and that’s why they always try to compete each other to influence this region.
China & India: The Nature and Scope of New Great Game towards South Asia:
In the context of New Great Game, both China and India have taken several policies towards South Asian regions to gain their national and strategic interests. China's area does not fall inside the land bounds of South Asia however its impact has a pivotal position in the provincial geopolitics for the given her capacity in regards to geology, demography, military, economy and amicable relations with all the South Asian states. China's strategy towards South Asia depends on a blend of common assemblies, described by financial chances, regional debate, security fears, regulation of India and opposing the US impact.
The approach embraced by China about South Asia is in accordance with the security of its general national key interests like quiet outskirts especially south-western wilderness locales of Tibet and Xinjiang and continuous financial exercises. In interest, China's strategy depends on to keeping up territorial peace and security utilizing discretionary impact and adjust of intensity. Also, China is keen on winning the territorial nations in complex collaboration, monetary tie ups and friendly dealings and to avoid hatred by receiving a neutral act in local clashes. China's further targets are to expand its impact to have safe access to oil and the gas-rich Middle East, Central Asia and the Caspian Sea assets and to break the US vital circle of China and to contain the ascent of India in this region.
To influence this region, China always tries to follow their String of Pearls policy and this policy refers to a geopolitical theory to the network of Chinese intentions in Indian Ocean Region (IOR). India considers that Chinese String of Pearls policy is a threat for their national and security interests and to counter Chinese intentions, India also has taken the policy of Necklace of Diamonds Strategy. Chinese Salami Slicing strategy is also a threat for India’s national security and Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat said that this is a military threat for Indian army in this region.
Chinese & Indian interests in the South Asian region:
In the context of New Great Game, China always tries to encircle her competitor India so that she may not create any hindrance of attaining Chinese interests in South Asian region. So if India becomes strong then she can challenge China from several sides. China has invested billions of dollar in south Asian countries and Chinese economic, military, strategic, geo-political and geo-spatial interests are prevailed here and to achieve it, India is a competitor for her. On the other hand from Indian perspectives, China is becoming threat for her in the Indian Ocean and that’s why India is increasing their naval power and recently both China and India have increased their aircraft carrier into the naval forces. So from both naval and land sides, India is becoming encircled by china. For example, encompassing of India by China begins from the north where China directly controls Xinjiang and is developing its hold in Central Asia and one of a kind toward this path is the control on Tibet-being viewed as a component of unique Great Game. From the western side, another arrive risk for India originates from the China's companionship with Pakistan. From the South, the trouble originates from the China's entrance in the Indian Ocean with the establishment of base offices and investigation rights in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The uneasiness from the east lies with the nearness of China in Myanmar and Bangladesh where China has created base privileges. In recent years we see China has heavily engaged with various south Asian countries by providing them huge financial assistance for infrastructure development. So India considers huge Chinese investments in this region as a threat for her since it will reduce Indian influence over this region. Trade expanded to $12.29 billion, and the regional trade crossed $111 billion. These increases create opportunities for growth and development of exports flow from China into the region and Chinese outward direct investment improves infrastructure and creates jobs (Brunjes et al, 2013). Among all south Asian countries, China has directs boarders with India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan except Bangladesh, Srilanka and Maldives. China has no typical disputes except with India and minor with Nepal in this region. In recent time, Chinese investments in Pakistan is remarkable. China has provided Pakistan huge military tools to counter India. China has also invested at Gwadar port in Pakistan and through this port China is interested to enter into Indian Ocean which is uncomfortable for India. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ( CPEC) also help China to influence this region.
Bangladesh-China recent bilateral relationship is also concern for India especially when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Bangladesh on October 13, 2016 invested about $24 billion in different infrastructure sectors. This was the biggest investment ever in Bangladesh history. Chinese counterpart India also gave debt to Bangladesh of $2 billion in 2015. Here we see competition is going on between this two rivals to dominant over this region. On November 14, 2016 China provided two submarines to Bangladesh to control over the Bay of Bengal of Bangladeshi part since China has a great strategic interests in the Bay of Bengal. It was also the Chinese New Great Game part in South Asian region. India became very frustrated when China delivered these submarines and that time India provided Myanmar torpedoes against this. China has also involved in various infrastructures project in Bangladesh. But in the context of Sonadia deep port in Bangladesh, India and United States opposed Bangladesh to allow China to engage here since China already building ports in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives, and Myanmar, Bangladesh was the last remaining link on a chain that would leave India completely surrounded. (The Diplomat Magazine June 7, 2017).
In the context of Nepal, Srilanka and Maldives; China has also invested this region and built various ports. Though China has little conflict with Nepal on the issues of Dokhlam, it does not affect China-Nepal bilateral relationship. Myanmar though is not part of south Asian region, strategically it is important for China and that’s why she has built deep sea port here. China also has taken the policy of Belt and Road Initiative ( BRI ) that will also help her to influence this region.
Overall we see in competition with China in the context of The New Great Game in South Asia, India is seemed to be lack behind in this race. Though India is lack behind, when she deals with China; India uses Tibet card just like United States previously would use Taiwan Card in dealing with China. So this region day by day is becoming war prone zone since China –India and India-Pakistan had already fought against each other. Recently China has also built up their overseas military base in Djibouti as well as huge investment in African states. India in 4th BIMSTEC Summit which was held on 30th August, 2018 emphasized on cooperation of the members of this group since countries like Bangladesh , Srilanka, Myanmar, Nepal, india, Bhutan are the members of this and they have tied with China. So the New Great Game in South Asia will create a new horizon between China and India and regional instability and peace also will depend on it.
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