China and Pakistan have started creating serious problems for India in South Asia. In the past, India raised its voice against the China-Pakistan nexus, saying that the two neighbouring countries were posing a security threat to the entire region. India also described Pakistan as China’s “only one real ally”, saying that Islamabad is doing all it can to consolidate Beijing’s position in South Asia.
The Sino-Pakistan relationship took a new turn after Chinese President Xi Xinping announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in April 2015. The announcement not only changed the texture of the bilateral relations, but also the dynamics of regional geopolitics. India, which believes that the Sino-Pakistan relationship has the potential to alter the geo-strategic landscape in South Asia, slammed Pakistani President Mammnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi for adopting anti-India policies.
It is no secret that Beijing and Islamabad join hands to block India’s progress. Pakistani PM’s Adviser (on Foreign Affairs) Sartaj Aziz recently admitted that China had helped Pakistan block India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid. Addressing the Senate earlier this week, Aziz said that it was not possible for Islamabad to successfully block India’s bid to become a member of the elite Group without Beijing’s support. The senior Pakistani official also said that although many countries, like the US, backed India’s membership bid, China remained uncertain on the issue. According to Aziz, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asked Pakistan to oppose India’s membership at any cost. Beijing also called for “prudence and caution” over expanding the NSG.
Senior spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying, too, has openly declared that Beijing is not ready to accept India as the new member of the NSG. She stressed: “As for the expansion of the group, the members should make the decision on consensus after thorough discussions. India’s inclusion into this group is an internal matter of the group. It needs prudence and caution and thorough discussions among all members.” Hua made clear that India would have to meet all the requirements for getting the membership.
Beijing even assured Islamabad in November 2015 that China would help Pakistan join the group, if India got the NSG membership. China, like Pakistan, believes that India’s inclusion into the Group will lead to an imbalance in South Asia.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs condemned China and Pakistan’s move to block New Delhi’s NSG membership bid, saying that India has been seeking membership to the 48-member nuclear club, as it wants to import nuclear technology. According to the official, India has no plans to destabilise the region.
However, Pakistan is worried about India’s relationships with the US, Russia and Japan. In an article (titled “India’s Great Power Game”) published in Dawn daily on September 28, 2014, former Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram wrote: “The election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and geopolitical developments – particularly the US pivot to Asia and the Russia’s new Cold War with the West – have revived India’s prospects of achieving Great Power status.” He added: “The reticence, if any, in this love fest is likely to emanate from India rather than the US. While seeking all the advantages of a strategic partnership with the US, India is unwilling to relinquish the benefits of its relationships with Russia, China, Iran and other power players.”
The Indian foreign policy experts are of the opinion that Pakistan and China had blocked India’s NSG membership bid because of India’s stance on the CPEC issue. Beijing and Islamabad thought that New Delhi wanted to destabilise the CPEC project. But, India opposed the project as it runs through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). India is also against China’s plan to accord de facto legitimacy to Pakistan’s illegal occupation of Kashmir, and some areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.
NSG is a powerful multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation.