NOREF – China’s impact on conflict and fragility in South Asia

“China’s impact on conflict and fragility in South Asia
Clare Castillejo
NOREF- Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
25 January 2013

While the rest of us are focused on East Asia, FRIDE’s Clare Castillejo takes a look at how China’s growing interest in South Asia – particularly Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal – is starting to change the field for both India and for the rest of the world.

While I wish she would expand her analysis to include Burma and Bangladesh, Castillejo moves our eyes to a critical hub of activity. India of late has sought greater influence in the South China sea, particularly with Vietnam, and has been seen canoodling with Japan. If China can build a containment field around India’s north, political pressure inside India to refocus defense on the near-abroad would redound in China’s favor in East Asia.

The game is afoot, and China is having to play it on multiple fronts. This paper reminds us that China still sees its most immediate geopolitical rival most clearly when it looks across the Himalayas, not the Pacific.

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