Author : Avinash Paliwal

Issue BriefsPublished on Aug 23, 2023 PDF Download
ballistic missiles,Defense,Doctrine,North Korea,Nuclear,PLA,SLBM,Submarines

Silent Game: China’s Engagement in Afghanistan

China's engagement with Afghanistan has become crucial as the US gradually pulls out its troops from the country. It has increased its investment in infrastructure projects in Afghanistan to US$1 billion from negligible amounts within a period of one year. Though it is still to be seen whether China would assert itself after the withdrawal of coalition forces, one thing is certain: Beijing is well poised in the Afghan endgame.

With the United States gradually pulling out its troops from Afghanistan and the WKarzai government working hard towards reconciliation with the Taliban, the role of regional players in the future of the region has assumed greater significance. The role of immediate neighbours like Iran, Pakistan and India may be ascertained with some degree of certainty. Other stakeholders in the region’s future—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Central Asian Republics—too could be identified without much difficulty.

But it is the “elephant in the room”, China, whose role in Afghanistan remains opaque. China’s relations with Afghanistan in the past ten years have largely been cordial and highly functional, particularly in the economic domain. Will China assert itself after the US drawdown or will it remain content with a peripheral role? Like the US, China’s actions in Afghanistan in the next three years will be a litmus test, and an indicator, of its growing power and ambition.

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Avinash Paliwal

Avinash Paliwal

Avinash Paliwal is an Associate Professor of International Relations at SOAS University of London and author of My Enemys Enemy: India in Afghanistan from the ...

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