China’s Outreach to Afghanistan


Abstract: Washington’s growing weariness with its involvement in Afghanistan grates sharply with Beijing’s steadily growing newfound engagement. This paper will analyze the factors pushing China into an ever-closer embrace of its neighbor than ever before in the last seven decades.  These geo-political re-alignments would be analyzed in context of China’s larger   interests in the commercial, security and political arena in Afghanistan. It has been argued that a reconfiguration of China’s geo-politics vis-à-vis. Afghanistan since 2009-10 has been profoundly shaped by evolving trajectories and power configurations, namely: the Indo-Pak equation; implications of a US military drawdown for the region; growing bonhomie between Russia, Pakistan and China; the challenge of drug proliferation and its inter-twining with pan-Islamist groups that could potentially have a bearing on troubles province of Xinjiang. The paper will argue that Beijing’s ever-tighter embrace of Kabul mirrors its larger interests in South and Central Asia and the realization of the need to engage with the trans-national nature of events unfolding in Afghanistan. The paper concludes by raising critical questions concerning current Chinese strategy in Afghanistan.


Raghav Sharma is an Assistant Professor at the Jindal School of International Affairs. Prior to this he has taught in the Conflict Studies and Management Program and the Good Governance Afghanistan Program at the Willy Brandt School Of Public Policy, University of Erfurt. He has also been associated with the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi in his capacity as a Visiting Associate Fellow where he led two Research Projects on Indian membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and examining the Indian and Chinese roles in Central Asia. Both projects were commissioned by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. As Research Officer at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies he published extensively on issues of strategic importance for Afghanistan and Central Asia. He has also been associated with the development sector having worked and traveled extensively across Afghanistan in his capacity as an International Humanitarian aid worker and having undertaken consultancies for the Aga Khan Foundation and Community World Services in Kabul. He holds a doctoral degree in Political Science with a specialization in Conflict Studies from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, University of Erfurt, a graduate degree in History from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi and in International Relations and European Studies from the Central European University, Budapest.

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