Geopolitical “Entanglements” and the China-India-Pakistan Nuclear Trilemma
Lou Chunhao analyses the geopolitical trends in Southern Asia and their implications for the China, India, Pakistan triangular nuclear relationship. He writes that the geopolitical situation in South Asia is witnessing entangled trends, which are reflected as chronic India-Pakistan confrontation, the frigid China-India relationship and the increasing US-China competition. Even though China may not want to be involved in an India-Pakistan confrontation in the region, China is undeniably an important factor shaping the India-Pakistan interaction to some extent. As an extra-regional power, the United States has a long history of being involved in regional affairs of South Asia. Given its strategic competition between with China, however, the US-China bilateral relationship is likely to face fierce challenges before it can reach a new balance. Chunhao argues that both, India and Pakistan, will get dragged into this balancing act between China and the United States. Though nuclear weapons, functioning as a strategic deterrence tool, will constrain all concerning parties from going to an all-out war, the geopolitical entanglement will have serious impacts on the regional nuclear situation in Southern Asia. This paper also gives recommendations for managing this complex interaction. Chunhao recommends that all concerned parties should strive to overcome the security dilemma and maintain peace and stability in this region by strengthening confidence-building measures, conducting strategic dialogues and improving crisis management mechanisms.
This report was produced under the China-India-Pakistan Nuclear Trilemma project, a collaboration between the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network and the Toda Peace Institute. The initiative is an effort at mapping the contours of China, India, and Pakistan’s nuclear relationship, identifying the key drivers of conflict, and exploring practical measures for nuclear risk reduction, crisis stability, and confidence building amongst the three countries.
About the Author
Dr. Lou Chunhao is executive director and research professor of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). He obtained his PhD from CICIR in 2014 majoring in International Relations. He was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, New Delhi, in 2011. He was deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Studies and prior to that assistant research professor of the Institute of South & Southeast Asia & Oceania Studies at CICIR. His research covers Indian studies, the Sino-Indian Relationship, South Asian regional issues and maritime security. He is the author of Study on Indian Business Houses’ Political Influence (Current Affairs Press, 2016). He is fluent in English.
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