Pakistan using China’s weakness to ensure support

Indian analysts believe that China uses Pakistan as a tool to contain India’s growth into a major competitor and economic powerhouse
Pakistan PM Imran Khan

BEIJING: Pakistan is working on China’s vulnerabilities to ensure its continued support during the military conflict with India, informed sources said.

 China depends heavily on the Pakistani military for different reasons, one of which is the protection of Chinese citizens employed in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and a range of other areas.

An estimated 60,000 Chinese live in Pakistan. 

The Chinese government also needs support from the Pakistani military to make sure that Taliban militants do not cross the border into the disturbed region of Xinjiang in western China. 

Separatist militants of Xinjiang are known to have received assistance from Pakistan- and Afghanistan-based militants in the past.  

Pakistan’s main worry is dilution of the support it enjoys from China, which provides credibility to its actions besides heavily financing it. 

Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday that Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism. 

This kind of blatant support for Islamabad even after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj briefed him about the Pulwama attack shows that Pakistan has been able to persuade Beijing to continue supporting it. 

China has its own sources in the Pakistani military to gauge the mood of the armed forces in the neighbouring country. 

Informed sources said the Chinese government has a direct relationship with the Pakistani military which is separate and distinct from its connect with the political leadership in Islamabad. 

Pakistan’s military generals regularly visit China to interact with top officials of the People’s Liberation Army. 

The close relationship is also strengthened during China-based training programmes for Pakistani forces and joint military exercises. 

The $50 billion CPEC project is being built with close support from the Pakistani military establishment. It is a showcase project for China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, which has not been particularly successful in other parts of the world. 

Indian analysts believe that China uses Pakistan as a tool to contain India’s growth into a major competitor and economic powerhouse. Pakistan also acts as China’s link to the Muslim world, including Afghanistan.

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