Brig. Vijai K Nair (Retd). Dr. Nair an M Sc. in Defence Studies and a Ph. D. in Political Science. He specializes in Nuclear Strategy formulation and nuclear arms control negotiations. He has considerable experience on issues related to NPT, CTBT and FMCT. Dr. Nair is currently revising the nuclear strategy for India [in keeping with nuclear transience] suggested in his book “Nuclear India.” Besides two tenures of combat duty, in service experience includes being a Member Army Experts Committee - 1989-90; Core staff officer to the Committee on Defence Expenditure 1990.
He is the Life Trustee of the Forum for Strategic & Security Studies; and, Managing Director, Magoo Strategic Infotech Pvt Ltd. An information service providing daily news updates and analyses on “Nuclear Agenda’s”.
This analysis by Brig. Vijai K Nair originally published in "China Brief" by The Jamestown Foundation . China Brief Volume: 2 Issue: 5 [February 28, 2002].
Directly and indirectly, America's war on terrorism challenges China's strategy to gain influence in the Central and South Asian region. This strategy was born of the need to adopt a generally more assertive foreign policy following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the fact that activism in Central Asia did not immediately confront the interests of Russia or America. But it remains to be seen which options Beijing will use to reassert its influence there.
Beijing's long-term national objective is to match and eventually surpass American global power, both politically and economically. It takes into account the asymmetry of capabilities and the need for a graduated approach in a world where American primacy is well established. As early as the mid-1980s, China recognized that the existing environment precluded extending its political influence to its east and north (areas of singular and vital interest to the United States and Russia). This limited it to its western and southwestern flanks, where the influence of the premier powers was at best tenuous.
A WESTBOUND STRATEGY
Beijing conceived a "West-bound strategy" as phase one of its efforts to incorporate states into its sphere of influence. External interference was to be kept to a minimum by focusing Washington on the East while insidiously gaining a foothold in the West.
The only serious obstacle to this strategy is the American presence and strategic interests in the Middle East, and, to a lesser extent, the geostrategic location of its perceived rival India. The main issue--that is, the United States--was tackled by diverting U.S. attention to the east (highly visible military maneuvers posited as a threat to Taiwan).