Round Table Discussion on China-Pakistan Nexus
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The VIF organized a Round Table Discussion (RTD) to discuss the China-Pakistan Nexus. Dr Arvind Gupta, Amb Satish Chandra, Amb Ashok Kantha, Amb TCA Rangachari, Amb Amar Sinha, Mr Tilak Devasher, VAdm Satish Soni, Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney and Cmde Gopal Suri participated in the discussion.

Diversification of the ‘Strategic Glue’

The discussants were of the view that the China-Pakistan alliance started in the military sphere and transcended to other aspects of the relations. The difficulties in India-China relations would further create a condition for the nurturing of the alliance. The “Full-spectrum deterrence(FSD)” by Lt Gen Khalid Kidwai envisages possession of full-spectrum of nuclear weapons in all three categories-strategic, operational and tactical, with range coverage of the large Indian landmass and its outlying territories has larger implications for India. ‘Strategic Glue’ has expanded to all areas of life. Further. Pakistan fronts for China in the Islamic world. The Chinese are doubling down on Pakistan. Earlier, the Chinese were mindful of Indian sensitivities but now they have abandoned it, by raising the Kashmir issue in United Nation Security Council (UNSC), again and again. Originally, the larger strategic glue was to keep India off-balance but now it has gone beyond that and diversified and it is likely to increase.

Fault Lines of Nexus

The discussants opined that India should not discount the fact that there are fault lines in this Sino-Pak nexus, for example; China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Afghanistan. China is trying to build on China-Pakistan relations but does not want to get involved in India-Pakistan relations. India needs to examine that do we make China-Pakistan nexus as a litmus test for India-China relations. It may not be prudent to establish a linkage between India-Pakistan and India-China relations.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The discussants expounded that the CPEC has no economic logic. The first phase of the project is completed and now the second phase of the project is being finalized. The first phase was essentially about the electricity project and the railway lines. The rate at which the electricity was sold and the subsequent circular debt of the project is astounding. Phase 2 is mostly marked by development of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) but the details are still not clear. The concept of CPEC is baffling and it becomes all the more puzzling when third countries express their desire to join it e.g. Russia wants to join CPEC-what does it mean? Additionally, the construction of ports; China building these ports are not clear.

Pakistani Economy

The discussants reflected on the fact that while it is important to study the China-Pakistan nexus it is also necessary to study what will make China lose its interest in Pakistan. Perhaps, it could be Pakistan’s Economy.


The discussants examined the fact that no amount of ‘talking to the Taliban’ is going to make them any more accepting of India, certainly not while they remain in the thrall of Pakistan’s ISI. Pakistan is not going to leave Afghanistan so easily. India needs to do a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threat) analysis of its options in Afghanistan but at the core of this is asymmetry. Hence, we are looking at diplomacy as the last resort in dealing with Afghanistan.

Event Date 
March 16, 2020

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