Is China’s Obstructionism to Indian Entry to NSG a Strategic Miscalculation?


With US and other members nod for India’s entry into NSG, the danger of China playing a obstructionists role by insisting Pakistan’s simultaneous entry, (which no one else will agree, knowing their proliferation record and A Q Khan’s initiatives) to directly/indirectly block the proposal is a possibility, which most news channels and papers are anticipating. This is a sequel to China’s recent action of putting on hold JeM chief Masood Azhar being declared as global terrorist, on the excuse that he does not meet the criteria for it, does not sound to be convincing to anyone, when JeM itself as an organisation was declared a terrorist organisation in 2001, because of her links with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.

While China may feel that these actions of showing support to all weather friend Pakistan and appeasing the terrorist groups there, are in their strategic interest, but there is a considerable strategic cost attached with these decisions:-

  • The world recognizes the energy consumption and needs of India, and if it does not enter the nuclear trading club, her access to clean energy will be hindered, resulting greater global pollution. India’s need and consumption is many time more than Pakistan, hence the proxy proposal of Pakistan is not comparable and convincing.
  • China’s obstructionism in both cases has been seen through by global community. It is against the global mood.
  • China’s assertive actions in South China Sea (SCS) has inadvertently distanced her from many old friends. The issue of their sovereignty claim over Freedom of navigation claim of others creates suspicion about free flow of global trade. While her claim that US is destabilizing/militarizing it, may highlight it as China-US issue, but rest of the world, whose trade is passing through this crucial global SLOC may not like to see SCS being converted into China or US lake. Together with the NSG and Masood Azhar actions, is China giving the confidence of being ‘Responsible Nation’ to Global Community to trust her.
  • Chinese calculation of appeasing Pakistan (which hosts maximum No of terrorist groups in the world) and their terrorist groups can backfire, as some of these terrorist groups like TTP, are not controlled by Pakistan establishment and are attacking Pakistani military itself. Most of them do not like any foreign presence including US and China, even at the cost of development; hence this gesture may not give China a license of safety of CPEC or hold fire in Xinjiang, however it highlight the double game being played to suit their strategic interest, which may prove to be a miscalculation.
  • US has also invested a lot in Pakistan, but in rough weather Pakistan’s response is evident by their stance mentioned in Dawn on Thursday 09 June 2016, While addressing a press conference at the Foreign Office (FO), the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the “US approaches Pakistan whenever it needs it, and abandons it when it doesn’t need Pakistan”. How can China be sure that it will not get similar response in rough weather, when Pakistan based terrorists create a serious problem in China, Where it hurts her most.

Are these actions of China well thought through or miscalculations, only future will decide, however the risks involved are worth noticing.

General Asthana



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