Ashley Tellis: China sees India as a long-term challenge
Stockholm China Forum 9 – Interview with Ashley Tellis
What is China’s current attitude toward Pakistan?
China’s attitude to Pakistan has been very subtle. On the one hand it has been a strong supporter of Pakistan. But it has been very careful not to lead Pakistan in what might be considered the wrong directions and not to support Pakistan when it has breached international norms, while still remaining both politically and economically supportive of Pakistan in its moments of crises. So it has tried to maintain the balance between being a friend but not being so good a friend that Pakistan can count on it even when it makes the wrong choices.
Is China likely to make greater inroads into Afghanistan in the coming years?
China’s very cautious about Afghanistan. They see opportunities in terms of economics and access which are very important to China as it looks into the future, but it’s not certain that Afghanistan is going to be stable enough to warrant much greater investment than have been made already. So my expectation is that the jury is still out. We don’t know the answer to that question.
How much is the rise of India impacting China’s policies in Southeast Asia?
The Chinese think of India as one of the important long term challenges that they have to be sensitive to and it really colors their relationship with Pakistan in fundamental ways. Pakistan has become the instrument by which the Chinese have worked towards limiting India’s power and its influence. As India continues to rise, the importance of Pakistan in China’s strategy will also rise commensurately.