The apparent thaw between China and the United States following the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden at the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco has not stemmed the undercurrent of intense rivalry between Beijing and Washington. This flagrant competition between the world’s largest and second-largest economies on the geopolitical, geo-economic and even the geo-cultural terrain, is being felt in various geographies across the globe. In recent years, the geopolitical competition became graphically clear in Afghanistan, after the US was forced to withdraw from Kabul on August 15, 2021. Since then, the Russians, Chinese and Iranians have been especially intent to ensure that the US, despite some recent gains in Pakistan, does not stage an all-out comeback in the AfPak/Central Asia axis. Similarly, the rivalry between China and the US is palpable in the Indo-Pacific, resource-rich Africa, Latin America, and some of the island territories in the Pacific including the Solomon Islands.
After the Gaza war, a new theatre of competition has opened in West Asia/ Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The Chinese are fully aware of Israel’s pivotal and indispensable role in guaranteeing US preponderance in the region. However, for various reasons, Beijing is finding it difficult to fully leverage the opportunity to weaken Israel and thereby diminish US influence in the region. It appears that for the foreseeable future, the Chinese will compete with the US on the geo-economic rather than the security/ geopolitical plain, following their pathbreaking diplomatic role in ending the Saudi-Iranian animosity in the region.
About the Speaker
Mr. Atul Aneja is the Editor of India Narrative. He was formerly the Strategic Affairs Editor of The Hindu newspaper and was posted in Beijing between August 2014 and January 2020 as Associate Editor (China). He was also the West Asia correspondent for The Hindu, based in Bahrain and Dubai from August 2002 to June 2014. Atul extensively field reported on the Arab Spring from Cairo, Benghazi and Tunis. Specialising in conflict zones, he had earlier reported on the Lebanon war of July/August 2006 and covered the situation emerging in Iraq after the Anglo-American Invasion. His areas of interest are geopolitics and international security and geo-economics, with a focus on China and Eurasia.
About the Chair
Dr. Hemant Adlakha is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Chinese and South East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is also Vice Chairperson and Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. His areas of research include political discourse in the PRC and modern Chinese Literature and Culture. He is a member, International Editorial Committee, International Society for Lu Xun Studies, Seoul (ROK). His articles have appeared in China Report, The Diplomat, Japan Times, Encyclopaedia of Race and Racism, (2nd Ed, Washington) etc. His co-translation of Lu Xun’s prose poetry collection from Chinese into Hindi has been published by the NBT in November 2019. His most recent publications include “Trust-building between the US and China – Lessons from the Cold War,” apln.network Nov. 2022; “Knowing China: Sinomania to Sinophobia” a chapter in the book, India China Dialogues Beyond Borders, December 2023, Springer Singapore.
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