Home Contact Us  

Pakistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5388, 6 November 2017
China's Signaling Under President Xi Jinping
Prashant Dikshit
Former Deputy Director, IPCS

China's President Xi Jinping has now emerged supreme. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China consolidated his authority not just for five years but in, a certain view, for life. Normally, a reappointment of a head of state ought not to emerge as a cause of concern for India but for the methods employed by the Chinese regime under Xi’s leadership to intimidate India, whilst pursuing a strategic economic control of large parts of the world. 

When India was confronted by the Doklam standoff, many analysts were baffled by the nature of the escalation dynamics of the syndrome. The scenario suggested that whilst the troops of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) were demonstrating a rather belligerent attitude towards the Indian troops, there was no attempt by Beijing to establish a supply line, should the confrontation escalate to a larger armed conflict. It was as if a military adventure in the garb of building a road in the Bhutanese territory has been halted but allowed to appear ominous and threatening especially to the Indian regime. There was seemingly a message to the US as well with whom India’s burgeoning strategic partnership was publicly castigated by Chinese leaders.

However, the picture is clearer now. As suspected then, it was as much a demonstration of domestic supremacy within the political realm of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as also to the immediate neighbor, India. While most believed that a power struggle was in the offing leading to the five-yearly congress of the Chinese Communist Party, it is now evident that Xi Jinping was orchestrating his rise to power.

The sequence of recent events indicated the nature of activities. The Chinese regime had scoffed at the Philippines, launched proceedings and the rulings in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) against them with respect to the so called “Nine-Dash Line” in the South China Sea and clearly asked India to refrain from commenting on the issue.  It was a gesture of hegemony.

One will also do well to take note that the operation of the port at Hambantota in Sri Lanka by the Chinese could only be reshaped at the intervention of the Indian government by bringing a security clause but not without the Chinese company obtaining 80 per cent shares in the port managing company. And, encroaching Bhutanese territory to build a road was to negate the spirit of the security treaty between India and Bhutan. One would believe that the last action, in this series of actions, was to declare the 3,000 km-long road corridor as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), from Gwadar in Pakistan to Kashgar in the PRC passing through territory claimed by India. 

During all this, border issues are not being allowed to be resolved whilst the Chinese regime deliberately scuttles Indian efforts at joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group and blocking India’s efforts to get Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar declared as an UN-designated terrorist. Xi's launch of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative was meant to isolate India from this global process.

The phenomenon of economic stranglehold has unfolded somewhat like this: Chinese companies with the protection of their regime in Beijing have spearheaded the pursuit of infrastructure building contracts with loans being arranged through Chinese banks at reasonably high rates compared to what is being provided by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Most of these contracts have come about in countries where governance is poor and whose rulers are willing to be bribed in return for awarding contracts. However, down the line, when the regimes are unable to repay the loans, the Chinese regime coerced  these governments to transfer the liabilities in acquiring their mines and other businesses. 

For example, under Xi’s tutelage, China has established a military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. It is located next door to a US base. For this purpose, billions of dollars in Chinese loans have been made available to Djibouti’s heavily indebted government. Up to 2014, Chinese banks, contractors, and the government loaned over US$86 billion to African countries, of which Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan were the top recipients. These large loans are beginning to raise questions about debt loads in African countries, showing indications of a potential debt crisis.

In another instance, on 7 July 2017, a report emerged, which stated that China’s signature US$5.1 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project in Indonesia had to be shelved. But Chinese infrastructure developers are still taking a dominant position in Indonesia’s ambitious 35,000MW electricity expansion despite the disastrous 10,000-megawatt (MW) “crash” power programme, which finished years behind schedule and left state-run power supplier PLN with serious maintenance and performance issues. The crash programme began under the previous Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration and the Chinese-led consortiums built one of the largest coal plants using lo-tech boilers and second-hand equipment. 

It has also been assessed that the PRC is purposefully acquiring “anti-access/area denial” capabilities. The idea is to use pinpoint ground attack and anti-ship missiles along with a growing fleet of modern submarines and cyber and anti-satellite weapons to destroy or disable another nation's military assets from afar.

The PRC under Xi is signaling with the world’s largest army in the world, with an active force of 2.3 million, when China's real military strength is increasingly emerging elsewhere. Instances of expansionism and sheer financial strangulation could lead to strategic control and eventually a cause for armed conflict. 

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
The Yuan: China’s New Strategic Tool in Pakistan

China-India: Beijing's Intransigence over the South China Sea

India's Rafale Deal: Why the Outright Purchase Was a Balancing Step

Fate of the Arms Trade Treaty

The mention of Balochistan at Sharm-al- Sheikh

AWACS in the IAF

The Infamous Arges Grenades of South Asia

Arms Sales and Recession

Daulat Beg Oldi: Taking Wing Again

Offsets in Indian Defence Purchases

LTTE's Air Power


The Value of the Phalcon AWACS for India

Overflight Talks Fail: Problem of Attitudes

IAF: Crashing MIGs and Operational Preparedness

Mobilization by India: Of What Avail

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.