The South Asian Voices team hosted two webinars on China’s evolving role in the economic, military, and political affairs of various South Asian states. The first webinar focused on China’s investments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Arash Yaqin and Saba Sattar made the case for China being a reliable economic partner for Afghanistan. However, they recognized that there are several on-ground security challenges in the way of effective cooperation. Fatima Raza took stock of Sino-Pakistan ties over the last five years, outlining the future of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. As a discussant, Noorulain Naseem gave her expert analysis on how China’s role in this region impacts Afghanistan-Pakistan dynamics.
Fatima Raza, PhD Candidate in International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University
Arash Yaqin, National Security, Foreign Policy, and Cultural Intelligence Analyst
Noorulain Naseem, Research Associate, Islamabad Policy Research Institute
Emily Ashbridge, Former Research Associate and Managing Editor, South Asian Voices (Moderator)
The second webinar hosted a discussion on China’s influence in smaller South Asian states. Shafi Mostofa examined Bangladesh’s tilt towards China, away from the United States and India. Kithmina Hewage discussed how Sri Lankan foreign policy towards China is now focused on immediate economic needs and how China’s role in the country is not a cause by a symptom of its economic crisis. Gaurab Thapa argued that Nepal must balance its relations with China such that it does not get engulfed in great power rivalry, and Kalpit Mankikar analyzed India’s role and response to China’s growing role in the neighborhood. Finally, Nilanthi Samarnayake provided her expert analysis and overview from a U.S. perspective.
Kalpit Mankikar, Fellow, Strategic Studies Program, Observer Research Foundation
Kithmina Hewage, Senior Development Policy Advisor
Shafi Mostofa, Associate Professor of World Religions and Culture., University of Dhaka
Gaurab Shumsher Thapa, President, Nepal Forum of International Relations Studies
Nilanthi Samaranayake, Visiting Expert, United States Institute of Peace
Akriti (Vasudeva) Kalyankar, Fellow, South Asia Program, Stimson Center (Moderator)
Image: Xi Jinping via Wikimedia Commons.