China scripts 'Look West' policy ahead of leadership change

Beijing, Nov 2: Ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership change in China, strategists in Beijing are scripting a new 'Look West' policy, giving primacy to ties with India while rebalancing Beijing's decades old pro-Pakistan tilt to counter American influence.

"The Americans are looking towards East and we look towards the West," Wang Jisi, a Chinese strategist who worked closely with Chinese leaders including outgoing President Hu Jintao to reset the badly ruptured relations with India after 1962 conflict, said giving a rare insight into the thinking among the leadership.

By West, Wang means the West of China, starting from India, the sprawling South and West Asia and beyond.

"China ignored the West for long and it is time for rebalance not only for oil, natural gas but also very big economic opportunities," he said, quoting recent studies that China's trade with India and the rest of Asia grew seven times faster than Beijing's trade growth in recent years.

As China looks to reset its ties with India, he said, Beijing's "all weather" relations with Pakistan were no longer driven by the factor to contain New Delhi, but to prevent the Islamic militancy in Xinjiang, bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

"We have to fend off extreme Islamic terrorism from getting into China from Pakistan and we need Pakistan more like all-weather ally," he added.

"Pakistan is increasingly getting weak. It is much less than GDP of India. I am sad about it," he said.


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