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  • Author: Syed Fazl-e Haider
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the central component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in South Asia, has been a source of significant attention and controversy (China Brief, January 12, 2018; China Brief, February 15). Parts of South Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe, however, are also host to another ambitious infrastructure program: the “International North-South Transport Corridor” (INSTC), a transportation development plan first established in 2000 by Iran, Russia and India. The INSTC envisions a network to connect Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf ports and rail centers to the Caspian Sea, and then onwards through the Russian Federation to St. Petersburg and northern Europe.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Author: John Foulkes, Howard Wang
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Recent media reports have indicated that Cambodia signed a “secret agreement” giving the PRC use of Ream, where it may station military servicemen and warships, for 30 years (WSJ, July 22). Although Cambodian and Chinese officials vehemently deny the existence of this agreement, gaining access to Ream is broadly consistent with Chinese foreign policy. The PRC appears to be employing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) funding to further strategic cooperation with Cambodia through the construction of potential dual-use infrastructure. Ream naval base is the latest in a network of regional security projects—including Cambodia’s Dara Sakor investment zone and Thailand’s Kra Canal—which, taken together, significantly improve Chinese power projection into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). News of the Ream agreement raises the specter of increasing Chinese maritime militarization at a time of intense unease in Southeast Asia. Conspicuously silent in this latest controversy is India, which has significant economic and military interests in Southeast Asia. This article will discuss the security infrastructure China is building in Cambodia and its implications for Indian interests in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Navy
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, India, Asia, Cambodia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On May 30, Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second term as India’s Prime Minister. Conspicuous by their absence at the inauguration ceremony were Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan; Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Authority (CTA), more commonly known as the Tibetan government-in-exile; and Tien Chung-Kwang, Taiwan’s trade representative to India. While Khan was not invited on account of the serious deterioration in India-Pakistan relations since early this year, the absence of Sangay and Tien can be attributed to the Modi government adopting a more cautious approach to China in its second term. Modi’s administration seems keen to avoid needling the People’s Republic of China (PRC), especially at a time when Sino-Indian relations are improving (Deccan Herald, May 29). This caution on the part of India notwithstanding, Sino-Indian relations during Modi’s second term (scheduled to run through May 2024) are unlikely to be tension-free.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: South Asian governments are becoming increasingly discontent with Belt and Road Initiative projects. In August, Pakistan’s new government expressed interest in reviewing the CPEC contracts that they perceive to be over-priced, unnecessary, or excessively in the favor of PRC companies (Dawn, September 11). Similar sentiments have been expressed by the new Maldivian government, which is reviewing BRI contracts signed during the rule of former President Abdulla Yameen (Economic Times, November 26). Such actions raise questions as to whether South Asian states might scale down or even cancel BRI projects.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Infrastructure, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, South Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Upon coming to power in May 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) adopted a more muscular approach to China than its predecessors. As part of this, it was not averse to using the Dalai Lama and the CTA to gain leverage in its dealings with China. Its recent move to put distance between itself and Dharamsala reflects an understanding that playing the ‘Tibet card’ brought India no benefits. In fact, the failure of the BJP’s four-year gambit reaffirms what many Indian diplomats and scholars have been saying for decades: there is no ‘Tibet card’ for India to play.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Kevin McCauley
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: At the end of August, Chinese and Indian troops both pulled back from the Doklam region in Bhutan after weeks of tense posturing. The face off began in June when Chinese construction crews accompanied by soldiers began building a road. The area is sensitive to Indian national interests not only because of its ally Bhutan, but also due to area’s proximity to a narrow corridor connecting eastern India with the rest of the country. Beijing repeatedly ratcheted up the messaging to India, including the release of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs legal justification of China’s territorial claims against India (China Daily, August 3, 2017). If the two sides decide to face off again, forces on both sides will need to contend with the difficult mountain terrain and complex weather conditions. To prepare for such a contingency, both India and China have invested significantly in units capable of mountain and high-altitude warfare. An examination of the Chinese Military’s doctrine and training of such units provides important insights into how such a conflict would be conducted.
  • Topic: Environment, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Himalayas
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: At the height of the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union used money and weapons to build satellite states; today China and India are using satellites in space to win influence and secure their geo-political and economic interests. They see each other as competition in the global satellite launch business. So how do the Indian and Chinese space programs compare? In which areas is competition likely to be most intense?
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Space
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Himalayan region places tough logistic burdens on militaries operating there, making improvement of roads and rails a priority for China and India. While framing their infrastructure projects in economic terms, China’s progress has real strategic implications. Though the Indian government has often promised to prioritize its own building programs, these have yet to pan out.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Infrastructure, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Himalayas