China has been urged to leverage financial assistance and investment commitments to secure its strategic goals in other nations. The US-China Commission (USCC) expressed its concern that trade and investment with Beijing are not only economic challenges but also pose national security threats. Commissioner Carolyn Bartholomew said in her opening statement on “China’s activities and influence in South and Central Asia” that Beijing has used the guarantees of economic aid, development aid and investment to help secure its strategic interests in other countries, but China’s economic diplomacy is filled with danger. She further stated that China has a number of interests in the South and Central Asian regions, including economic interests, such as gaining access to natural resources and developing new export markets.
Bartholomew went on to say that Chinese investment and lending in South and Central Asian countries could lead to unsustainable debt burden, dependence on Chinese trade and dependence on polluting extractive industries, as they have seen elsewhere in the world. She added that Chinese companies often benefit more from Belt and Road initiatives than local economies. She argued that China’s presence in these regions could jeopardize the involvement of local authorities and the private sector. Bartholomew also pointed out that China’s growing influence in Central Asia poses potential risks to Russia’s presence.
Furthermore, Commissioner Randall Schriver stated that during the previous hearing on China’s involvement in Central Asia in 2015, they questioned whether China would help the United States stabilize Afghanistan and join the coalition’s fight against terrorism. He noted that their expectations for Chinese cooperation in Afghanistan were shattered. He added that through cooperative military exercises, multilateral organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and even the direct military presence in Tajikistan, China is actively seeking to change the regional security architecture to its advantage.
U.S. and Indian defense institutions maintain ties that help maintain regional security
Schriver also stated that the U.S. and Indian defense institutions maintain close ties that help maintain regional security, such as intelligence sharing and coordination between the two military. He went on to say that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is invading China’s borders with Bhutan, Nepal and India, posing a growing military threat to the United States, India and other South Asian countries. At the same time, the PLA Navy is increasing its presence in the Indian Ocean and upgrading its capacity to deploy and conduct major operations.
(Input from ANI)