Smaller groups can better tackle terror

By Long Xingchun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Global Times, April 12, 2016
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Given obstacles within the multilateral mechanisms, a number of "minilateral" schemes emerged over the Afghan issue, such as the trilateral talks among China, Russia and Pakistan, another trilateral mechanism among China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Quadrilateral Coordination Group involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US. In 2012, the US proposed to hold trilateral talks which would also include China and India, but it didn't work out.

These minilateral mechanisms are aimed at concrete agendas and involve stakeholders on particular matters, which are more like a "volunteer alliance." The mechanism draws in participants that have few divergences and the same will to solve problems, which makes it easier to reach a consensus.

The four-nation anti-terror alliance shows that the four parties involved have the same stake in regional anti-terror and stability problems. As the mechanism was initiated by China, it will help enhance mutual trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan and urge all sides to take effective joint actions.

The mechanism will coordinate anti-terror work rather than serve as a new regional organization or even a military alliance. It will not block other regional multilateral mechanisms as long as they contribute to the anti-terror process. All the four nations are either SCO members or observers. The mechanism will serve as supplement, rather than replacement, of the SCO.

The stability in South Asia and Central Asia will benefit China's westward strategy. It will also advance China's "Belt and Road" initiative and enhance cooperation between China and regional countries.

The four-nation alliance, in addition to previous minilateral coordinative mechanisms, displays China's positive stance in maintaining regional stability. This also shows China's proactive approach in getting involved in international and regional affairs and act as a responsible major power.

The author is a research fellow at the Charhar Institute and director of the Center for Indian Studies at China West Normal University.

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