Since the Taliban took control of the war-torn country, China has been aiming to take control of air bases, including the Bagram air force base in Afghanistan, which could be detrimental to India’s security. Experts express concerns that China may be trying to keep India away from southeast Asia, where it desires complete control.
According to Anil Trigunayat, a former Afghan diplomat and former foreign minister, the Taliban’s spokesperson explicitly stated that China would be Afghanistan’s most important partner under the new Taliban government. ‘The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiative will be launched soon as the Taliban need someone to manage the bases there, said Trigunayat. China is trying to fill the economic vacuum left after the US left Afghanistan,’ said Trigunayat.
As the Americans kept it for use in place of Kabul’s airport till the end, Bagram airport is the biggest and best-equipped airport in Afghanistan. Chinese and Taliban figures will likely jointly manage Bagram airbase under the new strategic partnership as China needs an airbase to expand its economic plans in Afghanistan.
In regards to China supporting Pakistan against India, Trigunayat said it has been the case for years, it still happens even now. The Chinese government has always vetoed India’s attempt to declare Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar an international terrorist when India wished to do so. ‘Our concern is not Pakistan, which is a tool in China’s hands, and which they use to keep India away from Southeast Asia,’ he added. West Asia expert Qamar Agha agrees that China has been considering a bigger role in Afghanistan because of its economic interests and with their huge investment plans, they hope to control a factionalized government, which will be forming on Friday.
‘China has always provided Pakistan with arms, military equipment and financial assistance, and now there are fears that it will push Pakistan to engage in a proxy war against India in order to avoid any challenges near the China sea and other areas,’ Agha said. Former US diplomat to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Thursday that the US needs to closely monitor China, because the country might try to take over Bagram air force base in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the war-torn country and use Pakistan to strike at India.
‘It is important to keep an eye on China because they are making a move for Bagram Air Force Base, and they are also making a move in Afghanistan to make themselves stronger to take on India. We have a lot of problems,’ she said. Haley said it was time that the US presidency of Joe Biden reached out to its key allies and friends like India, Japan, and Australia so that they could be assured the US is protecting them.