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Meanwhile, China can help counterbalance Pakistan's arch-rival, India, including in Afghanistan.

I'm not sure about the function of "in" in the above sentence.

If I write 'including Afghanistan' instead of 'including in Afghanistan', is it grammatically wrong? It there a difference of nuance between these two different phrases?

  • Yes, you would be wrong. "In Afghanistan" refers to the political reach of China, Pakistan and India in terms of Afghanistan. So your sentence is talking about the actions of China, Pakistan and India in Afghanistan. – JMB Oct 23 '15 at 8:51
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It's a pretty unwieldy sentence, personally I would look to rephraise it if posisble. I don't have enough context to know what exactly to suggest.

I think the "in" here basically says we're treating Afghanistan as a location for this purpose, not an entity. It suggests that China can help Pakistan compete with India, including where those two countries have interests in Afghanistan.

If you remove the "in", China can help Pakistan to compete against India including Afghanistan, which seems to suggest that for this purpose Afghanistan is PART of India (obviously that's not true, I'm just trying to elaborate on what the sentence is saying).

I hope that helps

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I have gone through the full article,which mentions this line. http://www.economist.com/node/18682839

In summary i come to know that China was being very good and friendly with Pakistan and was behaving like his best friend during the Ambassador meet. But China also tries to keep the relations harmonious with Pakistan's arch rival countries like India and Afghanistan too. So China is trying to balance and keep happy to both the parties- 1) Pakistan as one unit 2) India and Afghanistan as other unit. So the sentence can be modified into this:

Meanwhile, China can help Pakistan's arch-rival, India and Afghanistan.

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