Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

What is China’s Global Security Initiative?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GSI

Mains level: Chinese counter to Western Indo-Pacific strategy

Chinese President Xi Jinping last week proposed a “Global Security Initiative” to promote security for all in the globe.

What is Global Security Initiative?

  • Conceived as a global public good, the initiative seeks to promote world peace and stability by fostering equity and justice among nations.
  • To do this, Xi defined his proposal in six areas:
  1. Stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security;
  2. Stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries;
  3. Stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation;
  4. Stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security;
  5. Stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction;
  6. Stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity, and biosecurity.

It is quite ironic that China has never adhered to any of the above-stated lofty principles and now is preaching them to the world.

Key propositions made by Xi

  • China opposes the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, appearing to refer to Western sanctions.
  • He said “some countries” were “eager to engage in exclusive ‘small circles’ and ‘small groups’”, terms Chinese officials have used previously to describe the Quad and the AUKUS (Australia-U.K.-U.S.) security pact.
  • He firmly opposed the use of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy to divide the region and create a ‘new Cold War’, and the use of military alliances to put together an ‘Asian version of NATO’.
  • According to him, China upholds true spirit of multilateralism.

A critical assessment of Xi’s speech

  • The idea of a world-encompassing security mechanism sounds like what China’s ancient emperors might have proposed.
  • Diplomats are under pressure to dissect the meaning but are having a hard time: Xi’s speech contained only abstract Chinese words and idioms.
  • One thing is very clear, China always comes out with an excessively large framework that nobody objects to.
  • The idea is that even if countries don’t agree wholeheartedly, at least they can’t fully oppose it.


  • Chinese criticism of unilateralism, hegemony and double standards is usually aimed at the U.S.
  • Xi envisions a gradually weakening America replaced by a multipolar world in which China is a major player.


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