JNN 22 April 2011 : China is a Time Tested Friend of Pakistan and strategically it should be noted that in the years to come and the World to be China will prove to be the right choice for Pakistan , while US Relations with Pakistan have always been Opportunistic , and due to which Pakistan have suffered a lot , Pakistan have always end up Paying big prices for keeping such relations , rather is still paying the heavy cost of Making US the World’s Only Super Power in terms of Terrorism and Instability , economic degradation.
Pak-China friendship is as old as the Pakistan itself. Pakistan became the first Muslim country to initiate diplomatic ties with the new People’s Republic of China in 1951. Pakistan and China have witnessed robust growth in terms of bilateral ties and economic cooperation over the past decades. The two Asian neighbors have fortified a traditional friendship and enhanced cooperation in terms of economic development, trade as well as exchange of human resources. The recent visit of Chinese premier Wen Jiabo and the establishment of Pakistan-China Friendship Center, a Chinese-aided cultural complex built in Islamabad to promote exchanges among students, media and academic circles, provided another boost towards cooperation between the two countries. China and Pakistan concluded nearly 35 billion dollars’ worth of deals in total which included 17 agreements, four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and one joint venture. China has extended strong support for enhancing cooperation in defence and economy as well as in space programme. It has vowed to extend full support for the promotion of trade, exploration of natural resources and development of energy sector, agriculture, livestock, finance and banking.
China is our time tested trusty worthy ally. In the past also, it extended full cooperation to make Pakistan self-reliant by strengthening and ensuring territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. Projects like Karakoram Highway, Gwadar Port, and Chashma nuclear reactors are established with Chinese assistance. Pakistan and China’s joint ventures in the field of defence to produce JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, K-8 Trainer aircraft, Al-Khalid Tank and F-22 Naval Frigates, Heavy Rebuild Factory (HRF) at Taxila, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, Sandak project, development of communication network and construction of dams, are some of the examples of growing Sino-Pak strategic cooperation. At the political and global horizon, China always supported Pakistan on Kashmir issue. President Asif Ali Zardari appeared at a Pakistan-China renewable energy forum in Shanghai in July 2010 and was especially invited by Chinese Government to attend the inaugural session of the 16th Asian Games in November.
For its part, Pakistan has always supported China on issues like Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan and Xingjian. Pakistan also helped China to become a member of the United Nations and has been instrumental in helping it to maintain relations with the Muslim countries of the West Asia (Middle East) and Central Asia by providing trade routes and transport linkages. Pakistan also acted as a viaduct in the establishment of relationship between US and China. Among the projects under consideration is a proposed railway track to link Kashgar (the southern hub of the Chinese province of Xinjiang) to the southern port of Gwadar. If accomplished, it would give China direct access to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan. China direly needs Pakistan’s advocacy in the global politics and specifically in South Asian region when rest of the major powers are mustering up India against China and supporting India to achieve the status of regional hegemonic power and to attain permanent seat of United Nation Security Council.
While for the growing needs of Energy of China , which is growing in leaps and Bounds , Pakistan’s Strategically is also very important , and Pakistan can become the energy corridor for China , as China is already Purchasing its more than 60% of its Fuel in shape of crude Oil and gas , from Iran , and if the Pipeline is Built between China and Iran is Made , then Pakistan can act as a corridor for the supply of the fuel Line .
Compared to China, Pakistan-USA alliance is an excellent example of op portunistic relationship based on self interests, where US has always kept an edge. US needed abbb lies in Asia to contain communism while Pakistan needed security and economic benefits. A brief history of the Pak-US relations indicates that they commenced in 1954/55, with the signing of the SEATO/CENTO pact, after which Pakistan started receiving weapons and financial aid from America. During the Indo-China war in 1962, despite Pakistan’s objections, the US supply of defence equipment to India soured the Pak-US relations. In 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars, US did not come to Pakistan’s aid despite having a pact for mutual defence, thus forcing Pakistan to denounce its SEATO and CENTO membership. The relations took a positive turn during Soviet Invasion when USA provided training, financial and military aid to mujaheddin through Pakistan. Following the collapse of Soviet Union, USA shifted its policy towards India. Pakistan’s nuclear test in 1998 gave another blow to Pak-US relations. Historically, no US ally has faced as many economic and military sanctions from it as Pakistan.
The terrorist’s attack of 9/11 forced USA to reassess its foreign policy towards Pakistan and finally these sanctions were uplifted. Pakistan suffered serious implications in terms of religious militancy, military operations in Tribal areas, reversal in its Kashmir policy, change in its educational curriculum and check on madrassah system. U.S and NATO forces have always violated Pakistani territory in the so-called Global War on Terror. The drone attacks continue and despite Pakistan’s serious commitment and causalities in the war against terrorism, Washington expects it to “do more”. U.S has always targeted Pakistan’s nuclear programme, contrary to their unflattering support to Indian nuclear programme. The Indo-US nuclear deal, Obama’s recent visit to India and his backing up of India for a permanent UNSC member seat are the clear cut examples of US biased attitude meant to undermine Pakistan and to thwart Chinese growth and influence. These self centred policies of USA are totally ignorant of there drastic implications for peace and stability in South Asia and particularly for Pakistan.
Reviewing, Pak-US and Pak-China over half a century relationship, it is now critical time for Pakistan to redefine its strategic alliance. United States, the contemporary super power is located thousands of miles away from Pakistani soil, whereas the rising global power China has a geographical contiguity with Pakistan. USA has always exploited Pakistan’s strategic position in pursuit of its own regional and global interests. It is now making long-term strategic alliance with our traditional adversary India due to trust deficit in Pak-US relations. China, on the other hand is desirous of having smooth relationship with India unlike U.S, provided their alliance is not against interests of Pakistan. Today, China is a factor of stability in the region. It is the world’s most populous and industrious nation, the world’s third largest economy and trading nation. It has been there for Pakistan at every moment of trial and tribulation. It helped Pakistan in building its economy and military infrastructure.
As a nation, to cement and advance the all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation with China should be our ultimate strategic choice. We should preserve the tradition of close exchanges at the leadership level, step up communication and coordination on issues that concern our respective core interests like economy, trade, defence and security. China and Pakistan have common interests and broad consensus on major regional and international issues as the UN reform, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, climate change, transport, food and energy. At individual level, it is not the money or goods that matter; it is time proven true friendship, affection between two nations, people, which would not fade away. Both countries will celebrate this Year of 2011 as a “Year of Pak-China Friendship”. In the upcoming year, Pakistan should reconsider its foreign policy towards China and should make Pak- China joint efforts to meet challenges and to promote harmonious and sustainable development of the world and of the South Asian region.