India Intelligence Report

China Reinforcing Developing Nations Ties


Analysts say that through Chinese President Hu Jintao visits to Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Kenya right after his visit to the US on the same trip shows that China is interested to reaffirm its ties with the developing world despite its economic ascendancy.

Ostensibly, China is “reinforcing traditional ties with old friends and discussing with them new areas, ways and subjects of cooperation in a bid to inject new energy” into the relationship. China would also ostensibly be discussing the upcoming Beijing summit of “Asia-Africa Cooperation Forum.” 

However, the choice of nations to sequel his US visit is very interesting. All of them have large oil reserves, Islamic populations, poor and disenfranchised populations, insurgent movements, and deficit in how they treat their citizens. These nations are also targets international human rights pressure to reform. 

The US is concerned about oil security and so is China. However, unlike the US, China is not focused on only trade but building longer and deeper partnerships with these nations, does not ask inconvenient questions, and is willing to sell anything (including development debilitating military equipment) without questions on its use, purpose, or effectiveness.


Anti-colonial synergy, Non-Alignment Movement, and Commonwealth bonhomie created solid ties between India and African nations. While it never saw eye-to-eye with Saudi Arabia because of the latter’s racists and religiously parochial view of the world, it sought to improve bilateral ties with the invitation of its autocratic King Abdullah to preside over its Republic Day functions in 2006. There was a lot of press on various agreements between the nations but nothing substantial or tangible.

India and the US need to be cognizant with the measured pace and moves China is making in Africa and parts of Asia. It is successfully using its economic clout to provide developmental help to these nations. This has multiple subliminal gains. 

Firstly, it strengthens relationships beyond trade, money, and military to a human form of connection. Secondly, it provides exposure to their population to different parts of the world and therefore can bring stories back home on developed China really is which would seek to pacify the simmering unease in rural China. Thirdly, it provides credibility to Chinese decrypt educational, health care, and development systems. While China has developed extensively in the East and South, the hinterlands remain vastly undeveloped. Fourthly, it provides job opportunities for their populations. Fifthly, it also allows Chinese to develop closer bonds with peoples long neglected by the world, which could then be called on for Chinese benefit.

By showing that it cares and demonstrating with physical and personal investment, China is moving African and Asian nations closer to it. They would need their help when they do become a serious contender to the US.