China-Pakistan Strategic Ties: Eternal?


Pathik Hasan
When Mao Zedong sent General Geng Biao as Pakistan’s second ambassador in 1970, he was said to, “Look at Pakistan. This is the western window of China. “Mao’s words were correct both metaphorically and geographically. In the 1960’s, Pakistan acted as China’s diplomatic window with the West. Pakistan also played a role in normalizing Sino-US relations in 1971. And today, through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Mao’s words are literally coming true. Zhen Geng Biao later became China’s defense minister and later deputy prime minister. He played an important role in building Sino-Pakistani strategic relations. On the other hand, Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Ali Bogra and Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who later became the Prime Minister, played important roles. Sadly, the people of Pakistan, especially the youth, are not aware of this history and the depth of Pakistan-China relations. Some pro-Western Pakistanis even question China’s goodwill towards a strong Pakistan. Despite tensions in international politics and a change of leadership, relations between the two countries have survived because relations between the two countries are based on strong foundations and national interests. For the past five decades, Pakistan has strongly supported China’s unity and regional integration. They did their best for China’s legitimate position in the UN. And Pakistan has resisted criticism of China on human rights and its attempts to downplay its socio-economic achievements. On the other hand, Beijing has continued to extend comprehensive cooperation to Pakistan from the Chinese side as well. Between 2001-2021, the Taliban attacks (TTP) and the Baloch InsurgentMovements cost Pakistan hundreds of billions of dollars. This has shattered Pakistan’s economy. China is working to back up the economy. In 1965, China deployed troops along the disputed India border to prevent India from deploying troops on the Pakistan border. China has built other manufacturing infrastructure in Pakistan, including a heavy construction complex in Taxila. Besides, it has also helped with financial assistance on the basis of grants. China has supplied ballistic missiles to Pakistan despite US pressure and sanctions. They have also helped to develop Pakistan’s current missile capability system. China is the only country interested in selling civilian nuclear reactors to Pakistan. They have even blocked India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. For almost three decades, China has almost immediately opened up to Pakistan the new weapons that Chinese forces have acquired. – China has shown only interest in jointly building state-of-the-art military fighter jets and other weapons with Pakistan. – China-Pakistan will have all the tanks, warplanes, missiles, Sam, all the sophisticated weapons will work together, China-Pakistan will become the superpower. As China’s economy has improved, they have repeatedly extended a hand of financial assistance (loans, bank deposits, grants) to Pakistan. They have come forward in time of Pakistan’s emergency. As part of the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, China has decided to finance the implementation of Pakistan’s CPEC project.All road and bridges are being upgraded and built for free. China is in the Security Council in favor of Pakistan and They have influence in all the capitals, through which they are protecting Pakistan from various international pressures and negative measures. In the drama that is now unfolding in Asia, the relationship between South Asia and its neighbors depends on Sino-US, Sino-Indian and Pakistan-India relations. The United States has declared China as its rival in its latest national security document Biden Administration’s focus is also shifting towards China in case of countering-China. A trade decision against China has been started. Moreover, the Pentagon has a position on freedom of movement in the South China Sea. The United States wants to build relations with its neighbors to deal with China. China is easing tensions with disputed countries over maritime boundaries to add fuel to the US campaign. They are even trying to bridge the gap with Asia’s two main rivals, India and Japan. Of course, Beijing does not want inclusion of India in the anti-China US alliance. India sees itself as a natural rival to China. He wants to gain power like China. They still remember the defeat of 1962. Moreover, their border issue with China has not been resolved yet. Naturally a strong, anti-MuslimModi’s Delhi see the anti-China as foe, ‘democratic’ America as a “natural ally”. In this situation, Pakistan has no choice but to further strengthen its strategic relationship with China. The only option is to bow to the Indo-American kingdom. Despite the long and cordial partnership, Pakistan and China need to take urgent decisions to deepen and strengthen their relationship. These include cracking down on militant groups such as ETIM, which pose a threat to China’s security, eliminating external threats to the implementation of the CPEC, especially in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan, implementing the CPEC project efficiently, and assisting China in modernizing Pakistan’s economy and industry and trying to bring back peace there to end the US position, India’s Pakistan-conflict. To stand together against this threat, and to rapidly modernize Pakistan’s military and maintain the PLA’s strategic engagement with them.Naturally, both China and Pakistan hope that America’s current all-encompassing expansion will stop and that more responsible politics will be practiced – perhaps in the Biden era. Until that day comes, Pakistan and China will have to keep their western windows open.