India Isolated in Asia - The China-Pakistan-Russia Troika

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The China-Pakistan-Russia Troika has emerged on the South Asian geopolitical scene in 2016 with undisguised contours and political signalling emerges as India is beginning to feel the heat of strategic isolation. Chinese economic inroad is emerging in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Nepal has been playing ‘China card’ with India and one should not be surprised if Bangladesh does the same in the foreseeable and Sri Lanka is clearly destined to join the Chinese economic bandwagon; the challenges to Indian foreign policy will be severe.

Pakistan with the prospects of the drawdown of United States embedment in Afghanistan redoubled its efforts to develop a close relationship with Russia. Russia closely watched India forging its strategic bond with the United States and has logically decided to rethink its strategic options. China –Pakistan- Russia closeness may unfold as a game changer for South and Central Asia.

Dr Subhash Kapila (Indian diplomat and security analyst) asserts that “Central Asia presents the biggest political and diplomatic challenge to India in the context of the China-Pakistan-Russia Troika. Central Asia comprises the erstwhile ‘republics’ of the Former Soviet Union and where even today Russia enjoys considerable political influence. China enjoys great economic influence in the region. Pakistan will play the ‘Islamic Card’ with the countries of the region. With all three put together, the China-Pakistan-Russia Troika will limit India’s efforts to tap the Central Asian energy markets, expanding Indian trade links and widening of Indian political influence.”

The emerging trends and new alliances have the potential of Iran and Turkey joining China- Pakistan and Russia in the future great game.

Year 2017 may herald diplomatic and regional strategic isolation of India. Would the Indians learn from Pakistan strategic blunder of alliances and dependence on the Unites States? Interestingly it had to be a military general from Pakistan (Gen Aamir Riaz, commander Southern Command) who said that India should follow other countries of the region like Iran, Afghanistan, China and Central Asian states in enjoying the benefits of CPEC. India has difficult choice to positively engage with Pakistan-China-Russia initiatives or embrace US agenda.

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