Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

[oped of the day] India needs to pay close attention to deepening of Nepal-China cooperation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : China security; India-Nepal

Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. This will cover a key issue that came in the news and for which students must pay attention. This will also take care of certain key issues students have to cover in respective GS papers.

Context

Xi Jinping’s visit to Kathamandu was defined by the determination to accelerate the development of an ambitious trans-Himalayan corridor between China’s Tibet and Nepal. 

Chinese security diplomacy 

    • It has emerged as a major element of China’s international relations in all geographies.
    • Reasons :
      • Globalisation and digitalisation of the Chinese economy
      • the growing movement of people across Chinese borders
      • expanding capital and human assets beyond borders
    • Need for cooperation – This has made law enforcement cooperation with the rest of the world a major priority for China. 
    • Security issues – The range of issues involved in security diplomacy include
      • tracking down fugitives from Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign
      • criminals seeking safe haven in other countries
      • countering terrorism
      • preventing drug trafficking
      • assisting Chinese citizens and tourists abroad
      • reining in political dissidents active in other countries
    • Neighbors – Across neighborhood, security diplomacy has added dimensions due to interaction between internal political stability and the situation across the frontiers.
      • Xinjiang – three Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan share a border with the province. 
      • Tibet – India and Nepal
      • Yunnan – Myanmar
    • Far flung provinces – China’s far flung provinces with significant religious and ethnic minorities has been a priority for the People’s Republic of China with neighbouring countries. 
    • Trouble within or across the borders of Xinjiang, Tibet and Yunnan has demanded greater cooperation with the neighbouring states.
    • Xi’s emphasis on internal security was evident in his remarks: “Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones”. 
    • He also warned other countries against interfering in the internal affairs of China. 
    • The protests in Hong Kong that have taken a violent turn in recent days. The CPC is angry with attempts in the US to link trade negotiations with the situation in Hong Kong

China – Nepal security relations

    • Security cooperation – India needs to pay attention to the deepening of bilateral security cooperation between Nepal and China. 
    • Increasing engagement – This is seen in the expanding engagement between the police forces, intelligence agencies, border management organisations and law-enforcement authorities of the two nations. 
    • China’s sees “security diplomacy” as separate from “defence diplomacy”.
    • 4 of the 20 documents signed in Kathmandu relate to law enforcement – on border management, supply of border security equipment, mutual legal assistance, and collaboration between Nepal’s Attorney General and China’s “Supreme People’s Procurator”.

Nepal – China

    • Border – Nepal’s northern border with China is entirely with Tibet. 
    • People’s movement – China sees security cooperation with Kathmandu as critical in controlling the movement of people across this frontier. 
    • Tibetan refugees – Nepal was once hospitable to Tibetan refugees fleeing China. It now supports Chinese law enforcement agencies in tracking and deporting them. 
    • Cooperation on Tibet – Growing friendship between Chinese and Nepalese political leaders has provided a more permissive environment for this cooperation. 
    • Access to Nepalese side of border – Chinese security agencies have gained effective access to border areas on the Nepali side in dealing with Tibetan exiles.
  • Joint statement – to “respect and accommodate each other’s concerns and core interests”. 
    • Nepal “reiterated its firm commitment to One-China policy” and acknowledged that Tibetan matters “are China’s internal affairs”. 
    • It also promised not to allow “any anti-China activities on its soil”. 
    • China declared its firm support to Nepal in upholding the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
    • It also assured its firm support to Nepal’s social system and development path chosen in the light of Nepal’s national conditions. 
    • Signing of the “Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and hoped for an early conclusion of the Treaty on Extradition.” 
    • China has promised to enhance the capacities of Nepal’s law enforcement agencies.

Chinese efforts at security – Steps taken

    • Massive modernisation of internal administrative structures
    • Significant investments in new technologies
    • Effective integration of law enforcement into China’s foreign policy
    • Spread across all geographies – from developed countries in North America and Europe to the developing world in Asia and Africa. 
    • International rules – China is also participating in the development of new international rules on law enforcement and seeking leadership positions in multilateral organisations dealing with law enforcement. 

Conclusion

Like the other great powers that preceded it, China sees security diplomacy and law enforcement cooperation as important tools of statecraft.

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