What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The wider region of Afghanistan

Everything connects to everything of course, but there are issues of indirect relevance to a topic that may deserve more attention than others. In Afghanistan's context, Indo-Pakistani relations are one such (highly complex) issue. Many have raised the suggestion by now that if only Pakistani calculations regarding India would be different, and in Islamabad (and Rawalpindi) the leadership would abandon quaint ideas of "strategic depth" and concerns over "strategic flanking" in Afghanistan, things could perhaps get better there.
One can perhaps be forgiven for going one step beyond this even, following the same thread: one might also assume that Indo-Pakistani relations might look somewhat different if there would be a different policy from Beijing towards Pakistan. And that policy, in turn, is determined partly by Chinese calculations regarding India.
Now, IR scholars might say there is a security dilemma between India and China. And this security dilemma proposition might occasionally be backed up by the argument of the Chinese sense of insecurity about a major part of their state territory, the relatively less densely populated "Xinjiang" and Tibet. Insecurity over these might make Chinese relations to neighbouring powers problematic in any case. But just how rational are such worries on the part of China today? Not being fully immersed in the subject, this strikes me as an interesting question, that Mayank Chhaya is raising in this article. Quote:
"If it is Beijing's unshakable conviction that Tibet was historically part of China, why is it that six decades after it incorporated the territory into the country it still feels compelled to seek India's reassurance? And why seek it from someone who has next to no role to play in the matter? A plausible answer is that at best it still remains uncertain about Tibet's cultural and emotional integration into China even though it has managed to complete its territorial integration.

It is hard to comprehend whether China harps on Tibet whenever it can because it does not want the world to forget that it owns it or because deep in its heart it still considers the incorporation tenuous. After all what difference India's position on Tibet can make in material terms for China when there is no prospect of it ever giving up a fourth of the Chinese territory that the ancient land represents? It is even more baffling considering India's frequently stated position that it considers Tibet to be an integral part of China."

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