New Delhi: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi advised Afghanistan and Nepal to follow the example of Pakistan and strengthen their ties with China. A virtual meeting was held between the Foreign Ministers of China, Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday. This meeting was organised for increasing cooperation to counter the Coronavirus pandemic. But, during the meeting, China expressed an expectation that Afghanistan and Nepal should cooperate in the ambitious Chinese Project Belt and Road Initiative. Analysts claimed that this demonstrates the Chinese restlessness.
There is anger brewing all around the world against China following the Coronavirus outbreak. Many countries are reducing their cooperation with China. India has adopted an aggressive stance against China following the Galwan conflict and is receiving support from around the globe. In this scenario, China is trying to entice the countries around India. By saying that it will be very beneficial for Afghanistan, if the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is extended to Afghanistan, the Chinese Foreign Minister solicited cooperation from Afghanistan. He advised Afghanistan and Nepal to follow the example of Pakistan, who is the best friend of China.
Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Caretaker of Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan, and Nepalese Foreign Minister, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, participated in the meeting. But instead of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, the Finance Minister, attended the meeting. At this time, Pakistan once again raised the Kashmir issue.
It is very clear that seeking an increase in cooperation from Afghanistan and Nepal is a part of the Chinese strategy to create a front of the neighbouring countries against India. Currently, the ambitious Belt Road Initiative project of Chinese President Xi Jinping is in the doldrums. It is reported that the economies of the countries where China has made investments are in extreme trouble due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and China can derive no benefit from there in the current scenario. Also, the geopolitical equations are against China, and therefore, China is making an effort to open a front by enticing the Indian neighbours in south Asia.
Although the KP Sharma Oli government has taken an unrelenting anti-India stand, they are facing strong opposition from within the country. The situation is that the government may even collapse. Nepal, despite the controversial decisions against India, has continued its efforts to have a dialogue with India. Analysts from that country themselves are telling their government that China cannot be an alternative to India.
As per some analysts, asking Afghanistan to follow the example of Pakistan at a time when the Afghan government is tired, opposing the interference and terrorism perpetrated by Pakistan in the country, is a laughable proposition. At the same time, the CPEC project is facing opposition from within Pakistan, and China is also worried as to what will happen to the project if and when India decides to acquire Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Currently, India is closely following the Chinese movements.