Pak-China Relations

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PAKISTAN CHINA RELATIONS

1. Introduction

2. The India Question

3. A Deepening Military Bond

4. Bolstering Ties

5. The Balancing Act

6. Regional Cooperation

Introduction
Since establishing diplomatic ties in 1951, China and Pakistan have enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship. Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China in 1950 and remained a steadfast ally during Beijing's period of international isolation in the 1960s and early 1970s. China has long provided Pakistan with major military, technical, and economic assistance, including the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology and equipment. Some experts predict growing relations between the United States and rival India will ultimately prompt Pakistan to push for even closer ties with its longtime strategic security partner, China. Others say China's increased concern about Pakistan-based insurgency groups may cause Beijing to proceed with the relationship in a more cautious manner.

The India Question
China and Pakistan have traditionally valued one another as a strategic hedge against India. "For China, Pakistan is a low-cost secondary deterrent to India," current Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani told CFR.org in 2006, when he was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "For Pakistan," he said, "China is a high-value guarantor of security against India." Mutual enmity between India and Pakistan dates to partition in August 1947, when Britain relinquished its claim over the Indian subcontinent and divided its former colony into two states. Since then Pakistan and India have fought three wars and a number of low-level conflicts. Tensions remain high over the disputed territory of Kashmir with periodic military posturing on both sides of the border. India has long been perturbed by China's military aid to Pakistan. K. Alan Kronstadt, a specialist in South Asian affairs at the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service,writes  that observers in India see Chinese support for Pakistan as "a key aspect of Beijing's perceived policy of 'encirclement' or constraint of India as a means of preventing or delaying New Delhi's ability to challenge Beijing's region-wide influence." China and India fought a border war in 1962, and both still claim the other is occupying large portions of their territory. "The 1962 Sino-Indian border conflict was a watershed moment for the region," says John W. Garver, professor of international relations at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Both China and India incurred heavy costs on their economic development, and both sides shifted their policy over time to become more accommodating to growth."

A Deepening Military Bond
China's role as a major arms supplier for Pakistan began in the 1960s and included assistance in building a number of arms factories in Pakistan and supplying complete weapons systems. "Until about 1990," write South Asia experts Elizabeth G. M. Parker and Teresita C. Schaffer in a July 2008 , "Beijing clearly sought to build up Pakistan to keep India off balance." After the 1990 imposition of U.S. sanctions on Pakistan, China became the country's leading arms supplier. Collaboration now includes personnel training, joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, and counterterrorism efforts. While the relationship is not quite balanced, it has been critically important to Pakistan. "Pakistan needs China more than China needs Pakistan," says Huang Jing, a China expert at the National University of Singapore. Pakistan has benefited from China's assistance with the following defense capabilities: • Missile: Pakistan's army has both short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the Shaheen missile series, that experts say are modifications of Chinese imports.  • Aircraft: The current fleet of the Pakistani Air Force includes Chinese interceptor and advanced trainer...
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