India war fears erupt over ‘expansionist’ China as regional tensions heat up

China and India’s militaries have openly squared off against one another during tense border stand-offs along the disputed Line of control which cuts across the Himalayas. China has built up strong economic and military ties with India’s neighbors including Pakistan. Now, Professor of International Relations and Asian Studies, Dinshaw Mistry has described how Indian military planners fear China’s creeping expansion into neighboring states could trigger an all-out war.

China has been accused of using underhand tactics in the South China Sea to further its interests referred to as a ‘grey-zone’ campaign, in which one force can wear down the resources of another without engaging in open war.

Professor Mistry told “There is a broad sense in the Indian foreign policy establishment about the ‘string of pearls’ that is one idea that comes up.

“China is making inroads into neighboring countries, so Pakistan is the biggest example but there are different types of mostly economic projects in other countries.

“There are insurgency groups in the north-east of India which cross borders, mostly the Burma border but there is potential for Chinese involvement there.”

He added: “It is not really grey-zone but it is more ‘string of pearls.’

“Could that trigger a clash between India and China, now again it would trigger more strategic competition than a military clash.

“India which try to counter that strategically through its own economic and diplomatic interactions with those neighboring countries.

The analyst continued: “Unless China uses an [military] asset in a neighboring country.” 

Professor Mistry told “Chinese cooperation with Pakistan has clearly increased in the last decade or so.

“We see that in economic projects the Belt and Road had been substantially implemented in Pakistan.

“So the Gwadar Port is one, rail and road links between the Chinese border and the Arabian sea.

“Now the question is how will the Chinese military use it.”