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Towards a Pax Sinica: China’s Encroachment on South Asia and a Way Forward

Fri, Oct 14, 2022, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Featuring: Dr. Saba Sattar ('22)
Location: The Institute of World Politics - 1521 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, United States

You are cordially invited to attend a lecture on the topic of

Towards a Pax Sinica: China’s Encroachment on South Asia and a Way Forward

Dr. Saba Sattar
Asia-Pacific Intelligence Analyst

Friday, October 14, 2022
5:00-6:00 PM EDT

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th St. NW
Washington D.C. 20036
Marlatt Mansion, Commodore Barry Room
Getting to campus


About the Lecture: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is at the core of Beijing’s strategy to dominate Eurasia and secure the Chinese Dream. Since its inception in 2013, the BRI is a multi-trillion-dollar global critical infrastructure development strategy spanning across 139 nation-states. At the heart of the behemoth lies the flagship $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a 15-year geostrategic venture that commenced in 2015, connecting the restive province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea. The immense investment in Pakistan resembles a corporate takeover by an outside financier. For its part, Islamabad has accepted the buyout to develop economically and secure a reliable ally in its confrontation with India.

Beijing’s overall mental map for the CPEC is marked by various Islamist and insurgency movements, as well as manifold proxy wars instigated by outside actors, which will hinder the reach of the corridor. The CPEC is also accompanied by a vital maritime component, with the Mahanian notion of speedily procuring access to a string of ports for extended deployments in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Compared to the first island chain, the IOR remains less susceptible to external trade disruption, owing to a lighter Western footprint.

To that end, this lecture traces the geoeconomic and security implications of the CPEC and proposes the following conclusions: Pakistan’s internal challenges of governance and corruption will temper Chinese expectations to realize its vision; the extension of the CPEC into Afghanistan will be incumbent on the Taliban’s ability to establish a functional regime and provide a secure atmosphere for Chinese investments; regional opposition voices to the CPEC will grow stronger; the Sino-Iranian deal will enable China to diversify its source of energy from Russia; Russia will likely be incorporated in larger CPEC-related undertakings as a dominant Central Asian player; and the U.S. requires a new strategy alongside India, the only viable South Asian partner and the world’s largest democracy, to frustrate Chinese regional ambitions.

About the Speaker: Dr. Saba Sattar is an Asia-Pacific intelligence analyst for an integrated risk management wing at one of the world’s largest private security companies. She holds a doctorate is Statecraft and National Security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. She previously provided extensive research support as a post-graduate intern for a Department of Defense institution, the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. She speaks five languages native to the Indian sub-continent, including English, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, and Memoni.

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