Friday, April 30, 2010

US-China Sub-Dialogue on South Asia

As China and the US gear up to "manage" South Asia, is this going to be the new theatre of conflict and competition? Or is Asia going to be left at the hands of the Chinese to manage and the US becomes the hegemonic power in Europe?

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake who has been on a two-week tour to Nepal, Bhutan and China, will lead a delegation to Beijing for a bilaterl dialogue on matters South Asia on May 3-4, 2010. Blake is believed to initiate the dialogue by interactions with Chinese officials as well as the academics/think-tank community. Both China and the US, in fact, appears to be moving beyond the status of an "Observer" to pro-active participants in the affairs of the Indian Subcontinent.

Will China's pro-activism come at the cost of India? Until now, Beijing's government machinery was keen on ensuring that India remained a South Asian power, today, Beijing is beginning to challenge New Delhi in that very region. Has India taken a cosnious decision to outsource matters South Asia to China for the years/decades to come? What is the gameplan of the Indian government machinery? If India's aspirations to become even an Asian power are to be materialised, it should, in the first place, sort out its relations with its South Asian neighbours.

China is clearly taking important steps to solidify its relationship with SAARC as a whole, in addition to having excellent relations with each of the member countries. At the recently concluded SAARC Summit, Beijing proposed an assistance of $300,000 to the SAARC Development Fund.

China's pro-active approach towards South Asia appears to be a result of its own deepening relationship with South Asian countries as well as fulfilling its objective to emerge as a kind of "guardian" to all the South Asian countries. Second, it seems as an after-effect of the US-China Joint Statement in November 2009 for the two countries to jointly manage South Asia.

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