Beijing growing strategic partnership with Pakistan to strengthen diplomatic, economic, and strategic ties is part of a wider strategy to cement China’s regional influence at Washington’s expense in the region.
China’s relations with Pakistan have been noted by a new level of bilateral engagement as the Chinese leadership & strategists broadened its role and wider influence in an area strategically linked to Beijing’s core national interest. China massively supported Pakistani ill-fated economic condition including soft loans for the gigantic Pakistan China economic corridor (CPEC) projects, estimated around USD 60 billion. This is a huge setback for Washington, which is perpetually trying to remain an influential actor in the region to counter China growing influence and possess a daring challenge to the U.S led regional security web.
Biden victory and US India centric policy also tend Islamabad to strengthen its strategic ties with Beijing. Despite Pakistan, staunch support against the war on terror US accusations that Pakistan serves as a safe place for Al-Qaeda and other affiliated militant groups created deep detest in Islamabad, which has repeatedly been accused of elicit support to the Jihadist groups within Pakistan and across the border. Mistrust with Washington giving an ample opportunity for Beijing to further strengthen the level of strategic cooperation with Pakistan. Pakistan giving a unique option to mitigate China growing strategic anxieties particularly in the south China sea and Indian ocean region. The given dynamics are alternative to China maritime encirclement designed by the US along with its security partners, and allies in the region.
Contrary to this, China’s massive interest to develop an infrastructure network of trade, connectivity, and linkage with the rest of the region through Pakistan. As part of its Belt and Road initiative (BRI) project – a clumsy infrastructure project covering almost 60 countries that are aiming to closely integrate China into the Broader vibrant economy – China’s huge investment in CPEC will provide the shortest route and shipping link from the deepest Pakistan seaport Gawadar with the Xinjiang region in northwestern China. In case of maritime blocked from the US and its allies in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, this magnificent route will provide a safe way to Chinese access into the international water bodies. The dilemma of the Strait of Malacca and the US-led quadrilateral alliance against China further illuminating Pakistan’s Geostrategic importance.
With changing Geopolitical, geo-economic, and geostrategic circumstances, strategic shifts in the last decade have turned Pakistan into a lucrative ally for Beijing, which trying to undermine Washington’s leverage and mend its presence in the Indian Ocean and Central Asia. In this regard, Pakistan is critically very important to provide direct and safe access to the Persian Gulf region and South Asia, which Beijing considering among the most pivotal entries and transit of energy supplies. It will also enable China to strengthen its physical presence in the Persian Gulf and strait of Hurmoz strategically very important for both Pakistan and China.
Beijing is highly dependent on fossil fuels, in 2017 China surpassed the United States as the largest annual importer of crude oil. Due to increase strategic anxieties, China wants to expand its military posture and Naval power projection in the region particularly sea lines connecting China to the oil-rich Persian Gulf region. China brazenly enhances its military presence in the Gulf region through the acquisition of a naval base in Djibouti and its presence in the Gawadar port, Jiwani peninsula as a strategic element boosting Chinese Naval projection in the region.
There is no second opinion that China’s diplomatic, economic and strategic cooperation with Pakistan has contributed to “truly all-weather friendship “between the two nations. Over the decades Beijing assisted Pakistan as a key military and security partner and providing sophisticated military hardware some of them with the joint partnership. Overall Beijing has offered massive contributions to accelerate Pakistan’s military needs and preparedness mainly to keep eyes on Indian military superiority.
Pakistan is the primary global consumer of Chinese weaponry accounts for more than 32% of China’s arms exports.
Apart from America’s presence in the region, China is now considered as a viable alternative to Washington and a growing region and global powerfully capable of addressing geopolitical, economic, and regional security challenges. Pakistan China’s strategic romanticism is a vivid consequence of Washington’s inability to the role and strengthens dignified ties with Pakistan. China Pakistan friendship is now converting to a new era consist of shared interest.
Qaiser Mahmood , graduated in international relations from International Islamic university Islamabad. Geo- strategic expert, freelancer, writer have published several articles in different national and international magazines newspapers. Currently working as researcher member with diplomatic insight Islamabad