China & its External Periphery
Session I - China and East Asia
Chair: Prof. Sreemati Chakrabarti
Panelists: Prof. Madhu Bhalla, Rana Divyank Chaudhary, Ranjit Kumar Dhawan & Dr. Sandip Mishra
Prof Madhu Bhalla began with an overview of the current situation in East Asia and contextualised China’s foreign policy towards the region. She argued that China’s strategy for dealing with its external periphery forms the core of its outlook on international politics. Rana Divyank Chaudhary discussed Sino-Japanese relations vis-à-vis the East China Sea dispute and the impact of the US pivot on bilateral engagements. Ranjit Kumar Dhawan argued for a case against an ever-lasting alliance between China and North Korea, emphasising the differences between the two states on various levels. Dr Sandip Mishra discussed South Korea's evolving foreign policy towards China and North Korea since the election of President Park Geun-hye. He also analysed the situation in the region with reference to North Korea's war-mongering and the ongoing crisis.
Session II - China and Southeast Asia
Chair: Prof. Varun Sahni
Panelists: Amb Ranjit Gupta, Mr. Ravi Bhoothalingam & Dr. Vibhanshu Shekhar
Amb Ranjit Gupta talked about the political developments in Myanmar over the past two years. He asserted that Myanmar is increasingly opening up and exercising autonomy with respect to China’s influence. Mr Ravi Bhoothalingam gave an assessment of the progress made by the BCIM sub-regional grouping in the context of China’s role in economic integration of the region. He brought out the flexibility China enjoys as Yunnan on its periphery engages the neighbourhood economically while Beijing controls the foreign policymaking. Dr Vibhanshu Shekhar discussed the changing dynamics of China’s relations with the Philippines and Vietnam in the context of the worsening South China Sea dispute.
Session III - China and South Asia
Chair: Dr. H.S. Prabhakar
Panelists: Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli, Tilak Jha, Jigme Yeshi Lama, Cdr. K.K. Agnihotri & Dr. N Manoharan
Prof Srikanth Kondapalli assessed the importance of South Asia in China’s external affairs and whether the region is conducive to China’s rise or not. Tilak Jha gave a historical account of Bhutan’s relationship with China whereby he ventured in-depth over Tibet’s links with Bhutanese society and polity. Jigme Yeshi Lama spoke on China’s influence in Nepal’s present dispensation including Chinese investments, aid, and political clout in Kathmandu. Cdr K K Agnihotri spoke on the much debated Gwadar port’s acquisition by China in Pakistan and its implications for India’s maritime security. In addition, he also compared the role of Indian and Chinese navies in the Indian Ocean Region in providing anti-piracy security while at the same time competing for strategic influence in the arterial sea lines of communication (SLOCs). Dr N Manoharan concluded the discussion on China’s periphery policies in South Asia by bringing out the China factor in the geopolitical placement of Sri Lanka and Maldives and the domestic political changes. He contextualised China’s influence on the two island nations by discussing its impact on India’s regional ambitions and apprehensions.
Report drafted by Rana Divyank Chaudhary, Research Intern, CRP, IPCS.