China’s attempt to rope in Afghanistan is borne out of fear. Afghan-Pak rivalry has the potential to scuttle CPEC

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Beijing says Afghanistan is willing to join the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which cuts through Pakistan-administered Kashmir. PoK is claimed by India.

The CPEC is a flagship project of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) and links its restive Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in the Balochistan province. Apparently, the trio has pledged to step-up counter-terrorism cooperation and not allow any country, group or individual to use their soils for terrorism. It’s quite strange, considering terrorism continues to emanate from Pakistan’s soil.

So how will it work out? China has no idea, but it believes dangling of the economic carrot will make the trilateral partnership possible.

China is expected to surpass the US economy very soon. It has the money and it is using it to economically colonise smaller, weaker and unstable countries like Afghanistan. India-Afghanistan relationship is warming up by the day so it’s going to be interesting to watch how China works out its design.

China opened its economy to the world in 1978. Since then, it has tasted much success in aligning South Asian countries to its expansionist objectives. India has so far sat and watched, which is not a good idea. China’s bold, but unfair trade practices and feudal strategy to expand should evoke stronger, tangible Indian move.

Imperalisim by ChinaWith its ambitious “One Belt, Old Road” it invested tremendously and seamlessly without even evaluating ROI from certain countries. In its flagship program of CPEC, it has committed a budget of $62 Billion. However, China is no fool. It soon understood there was a lot at stake.

On the whole, relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been mostly poor. Afghanistan was against Pakistan’s admission to the United Nations in 1948 due to the Durand Line issue. Diplomatic relations were first cut off in 1961. Afghanistan has been blamed for sheltering various terrorist groups which launch attacks into Pakistan, while Pakistan’s ISI has been blamed by Afghan authorities for funding warlords and the Taliban, and for basing terrorist camps within its territory to target Afghanistan. There is a large anti-Pakistan sentiment in Afghanistan.

China is attempting to create a bridge between the otherwise hostile neighbours, using it to fight terrorism collectively. China’s blocking of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist is a testimony to the fact that fight against terrorism is not even on its plate. It is only trying hard to safeguard its investments in Pakistan by taking Afghanistan into confidence. It wants every stakeholder on its side.

Afganistan-Pakistan

The Dragon is anxiously working towards repairing ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan and supposedly launching a joint war against terrorism, without any roadmap or modus operandi, though. Indeed, the region needs to stand together against terrorism, given the fact that ISIS is losing base in Syria and Iraq and its agents are returning to their homeland countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, there is no strategy to deal with this looming threat.

If Pakistan fails as a nation, given its deteriorating circumstances and constant pressure from the United Nations, China will be the biggest loser. In-fighting in Pakistan, continuing sponsored terrorism and ISI’s collusion with terrorist organisations like the LeT and JeM will demolish China’s dream in the end.

China has to rethink. It has to understand that conniving with crooks will yield only heartbreak. In order to oppose India, it has made friends with a country that has no long-term future.

 

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