Seminar on Perspectives from China on Af-Pak Situation and Counter Terrorism
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A one day conference on Af-Pak Situation and Counter Terrorism was organised by the VIF on 29th August. Scholars and experts from China gave out their perspectives on the evolving situation in Af-Pak region and their approach to counter-terrorism. Professor Li Jian, Vice President of China West Normal University, Sichuan spoke on ‘SCO and Af- Pak Security Environment’ while Dr. Zhang Jiadong, Assisstant Director of Center for American Studies, Fudan University spoke on China’s approach to counter-terrorism. In the second session Dr. Shen Xiaochen discussed ‘America's New Silk Road Strategy and Future of Af-Pak Region’ and Dr. Liu Jiawei of Sichuan University briefed the audience on ‘China’s Policy Options in Post-Withdrawal Era’.

It indeed was refreshing to hear perspectives from China on Af-Pak situation and counter terrorism. Broad approach of the Chinese scholars was that the current situation has arisen because of the earlier intervention by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and then latter on by the intervention of the U.S. Further, the domestic/internal situation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan remains unstable for various reasons. Domestic weakness and years of strife in Afghanistan have also enabled foreign powers to intervene in Afghanistan. From Chinese perspective America cannot leave Afghanistan suddenly; they need to give more aid and support for stabilising Afghanistan. In addition neighbours should also play a more active role.

Chinese are also apprehensive of terrorist groups operating in Xingjian and their links with groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They believe that improving economic conditions, for instance in Xingjian and Tibet, would create better environment for stability. They were also of the view that SCO provides a good platform for cooperating on anti-terrorism efforts. Further, China has given developmental aid to Afghanistan though not at the same level with that of India.

Chinese scholars observed that India can play an important role in Afghanistan; India has created a good image in Afghanistan and India, Iran and Russia could play a useful role in Afghanistan. There was also a need to take a collective action especially by the neighbours. As for America’s New Silk Road Strategy, China is not a stakeholder in this strategy and therefore views this concept with ‘diffidence’. However, there is a need for India and China to cooperate in development of Afghanistan’s natural resources and infrastructure. China has been accused by the West for not undertaking responsibility in China but this image can be improved by China taking part in reconstruction of Afghanistan. China has embarked on Western Area development plan and the new Eurasian Continental Bridge Project where Afghanistan becomes an important hub. Afghanistan links Middle-East and South Asia to Central Asia and China and vice versa. Both India and China have common interests in Afghanistan and the Indian and Chinese companies could cooperate in development of Afghanistan. There are many areas where India and China can cooperate to contribute towards stability in Afghanistan.

There was a very interactive question and answer session after each session with the VIF faculty being represented by the Director, Mr. Ajit Doval, Jt. Director, Ambassador PP Shukla and Lt. Gen. (retd) Ravi Sawhney and other eminent experts from strategic and security community.

Event Date 
August 29, 2012
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