Chinese bases in Pakistan would push India towards US: Expert

WASHINGTON: Describing Chinese assertiveness in the region as an opportunity for the US, an expert from an advisory group has said that China’s move to build a base in Pakistan would bring India more closer to America.

“A more assertive China with expeditionary capability could lead nations in the region to be more receptive to supporting US efforts to shape the security environment, and to US objectives in Asia,” said Kristen Gunness, CEO of Vantage Point, a China-focused advocacy group.

“This could specifically be an opportunity to sway those nations that are currently leery of fully supporting US efforts, for example, nations such as Thailand, Malaysia, and India, should China build a base in Pakistan, for example, potentially fall into this category and could be receptive to increased dialogue with the US,” Gunness said in his testimony before US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“An implication for the US military, PLA expeditionary capabilities allow more opportunity for the US and Chinese militaries to cooperate on regional security issues particularly in the maritime domain where our two navies are well positioned to cooperate on issues such as counterpiracy, counterterrorism…,” he argued.

Said Thomas Bickford, senior research scientist, CAN Corporation, said India is one of the countries in the region which is going to have a lot of concerns with the Chinese assertiveness.

“(India is) Very concerned about Chinese submarine operations in Indian Ocean, any connection between Chinese navy activities in Pakistan and in general, anything that might happen maybe maritime element which is to what was normally just a border issue on the land,” he said.

“So there’s a lot of concerns in India where we would like to respond in a number of ways including more defense spending and possibly seeking the closer relationship with United States in terms of military,” Bickford said.

“In terms of implications for relations with our allies and partners, well, clearly, we’re going to be asked to do a lot more, you can have that expectation, and things that are really important and you need to think about carefully is what is the priority between China greater commitment and losing flexibility because the more clearer and concise our commitments are, the less flexibility future US leaders might have in the crisis,” he said.

Jeffrey L Fieldler, Commissioner of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said both the US and Japan would not sit idle if China indulges in something with India.

“I’m not so sure that Japan and the United States will sit idle by when the Chinese did something serious with India given its position in the world and the need to go to the south the Indian Ocean,” he said.

“So, but I don’t see any formal alliance arrangement that would just scare everybody. I actually don’t think it’s possible. So, but short of that, there’s a lot of working together that is finally going out and that has never been going on before,” Fieldler said.

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