The US-China Strategic Conflict and the Pakistan Dilemma

The consequences of deteriorating relations between the United States and China are already beginning to show in South Asia, creating a situation of immense embarrassment for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which maintains close ties with both Powers. It is very likely that Pakistan will soon find itself in a complicated to dangerous position from a High Strategic point of view, not only because of the pressures it will face to take sides in the Sino-American confrontation, but also because of the expanding partnership between the United States and of India.

The future of US-Pakistan ties will increasingly depend on how Washington handles its relations with China and India. A Joe Biden administration is very likely to continue to treat Beijing with some relative leniency, relative to the way a Donald Trump administration would. However, a major change in the way the Americans see New Delhi seems highly unlikely, while the rivalry with China is expected to continue for years. Islamabad will need to strike a tightrope to keep its relations with both China and the United States intact, a balance that absolutely favors its interests.

The evolution of the US-India partnership is likely to be key to the difficult future decisions that the Pakistani leadership will be asked to make. If the US wishes to maintain regional peace, things become quite simple for the Muslim South Asian country, if it chooses to deepen its relations with India so much as to support it even in an attempt to overturn the status quo in the region, the Pakistan is about to find itself in a difficult and undesirable position. Creating a common front with Beijing would seem like the only option in this case.

India, for its part, has decided that it will be very interesting to watch how far this cooperation with the Americans can go. Since 2016, India’s expanding partnership with the US has tended to evolve into a strategic relationship, as evidenced by agreements such as LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement), COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) and – more recently – BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement).

The above agreements are of a military nature and open wide the gates for a very close and long-term cooperation between the two parties in the fields of intelligence, military technology and war industry. India’s relations with the Chinese giant remain extremely strained in the Himalayan region and the Indian leadership, sensing the magnitude of the pressure exerted by the growing power of the L.D. of China, would very much like to share the burden of containing Beijing with an ally as powerful as the United States.

The so-called “US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific”, on the other hand, which was declassified in the last days of the Trump administration, provides for unlimited US aid to strengthen the military capabilities of the Republic of India, in order for the latter to play the role of counterbalance factor of Chinese ambitions.

India, however, still relies on its northern neighbor for trade, so a purely military aid will not exactly achieve the goals sought in Washington. India needs both financial assistance and know-how to distance itself from China. China continues to be India’s top trading partner, accounting for 16% of the latter’s imports, despite an unresolved dispute over the Ladakh region and rising calls on Indian social media for a boycott of Chinese goods. Therefore, cutting off all relations with China is not a realistic scenario.

If the political elites in Washington eventually decide to further strengthen relations with India in order to counter China, Pakistan fears that it will itself suffer the negative consequences of the Indo-US military alliance. L.D. China is constantly increasing its military power, essentially wanting to challenge American primacy on a planetary level. The excessive growth of Chinese power is a second factor (besides trade relations) that discourages India from further provoking the Chinese, risking a military conflict.

India’s upgraded military arsenal can nevertheless be used against Pakistan, and Islamabad sees the new Indian weapons as more likely to be directed at Pakistani targets than Chinese ones. If, on the other hand, Pakistan chooses to respond by modernizing and expanding its arsenal, that alone is likely to lead to regional instability—not to mention the devastating effects an arms race could have on Pakistan’s troubled economy.

Pakistan’s foreign policy therefore has as its primary objective at the present stage to present this potentially dangerous situation for South Asia to the main Great Powers. In other words, to explain how the enlargement of the military aid of the United States to India can lead to an uncontrolled escalation of tension and a war between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan knows very well that there is really little chance of overturning the US-India alliance precisely because of its strategic nature. However, it seeks to remind the United States of its traditional role in the region – that of a regional stabilizer. And to lead them to a re-examination of the nature of their relationship with the Indians, so as to set some limits on it, essentially guaranteeing the security and territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The security dilemma facing Pakistan, however, forces it to rely on parameters far more tangible and realistic than US goodwill, in order not to put its national security in mortal doubt. Because of this rather self-evident truth, Pakistan is bound to maintain strong ties with China.

Also, China is the main alternative source from which to procure cutting-edge military equipment, a condition necessary to maintain a minimum balance of power with India. The possibility of the country being locked in a hybrid conflict with the Republic of India also increases the possibility that it will lead Pakistan straight into the Chinese arms, since the Chinese can secure access to know-how, particularly in the fields of cyberspace, autonomous systems , artificial intelligence, air defense systems and quantum computers.

It is abundantly clear that cooperation with China would greatly advance Pakistan’s economic and military position. Traditional (from the Cold War era) ties with the United States, however, should not be put on the back burner. But it is clear that both nations must recognize each other’s national security issues and adopt a more impartial stance if Islamabad and Washington truly wish to overcome the current mistrust and open a new chapter in their relations. countries.

Pakistan could take a neutral stance on issues like Hong Kong or the South China Sea. Accordingly, the United States should not support either India or Pakistan in their bilateral disputes, which it did not do during the Pulwama/Balakot crisis in 2019.

The Trump administration had many reservations about the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) plan, a plan that essentially creates an alternative (via Pakistan) energy route, ensuring the smooth flow of oil from the Middle East to the DR. of China. The plan also foresees the creation of a series of infrastructures in Pakistan with Chinese funds, a chain of large projects that are expected to give a huge boost to the economy of this Muslim country.

The US had formulated its objections very early on, which it communicated to the government of Islamabad: doubts regarding the completion of infrastructure projects and the possibility of total control of the Pakistani economy by China, through loan contracts whose terms the country would be unable to fulfill Pakistan. By putting a civilian in charge of the project, Pakistan took a step on its part to allay Washington’s concerns. The Biden administration should also stop giving Pakistan an absurd choice: us or the others. The Pakistani government could additionally take advantage of some opportunities offered by the United States and promote bilateral cooperation in the areas of education, immigration, and public health.

The involvement of the United States in Central Asia during the last two decades has decisively affected the bilateral relations with the states of the region as well as the overall issue of security in South Asia. The partnership between the United States and Pakistan is long-standing, deep, and meaningful.

Pakistan will always have a special place in Washington’s strategic planning (despite the highs and lows of the bilateral relationship), and there is no greater proof of this than the pivotal role it has recently assumed in the peace process in the turbulent field of Afghanistan. This involvement of Pakistan in the developments in Central Asia, in the role of a reliable (for all sides) mediator brought the country closer to the United States. However, the US should also pay due attention to the possibility of causing regional instability due to its strong military support to India.

The example of Pakistan and the strange situation that is gradually forming in its relations with the United States and the D.R. of China, prompts us to reflect on the new balances of the coming multipolar World. In other words, we see that the confrontation between two emerging Powers (India, China) decisively influences the policy of an old Power (the USA) and gives it the opportunity to promote balancing maneuvers.

At the same time, however, it also affects the traditional relations of the old Power with third countries, powerful regional “players” (Pakistan), threatening to completely derail the overall interests of this Power in a large area of the World. Because indeed continued military support to India will mathematically undermine US popularity in Pakistan and drive the latter into China’s arms, jeopardizing broader US interests in the region and especially those related to with Afghanistan and regional stability.

About the author

The Liberal Globe is an independent online magazine that provides carefully selected varieties of stories. Our authoritative insight opinions, analyses, researches are reflected in the sections which are both thematic and geographical. We do not attach ourselves to any political party. Our political agenda is liberal in the classical sense. We continue to advocate bold policies in favour of individual freedoms, even if that means we must oppose the will and the majority view, even if these positions that we express may be unpleasant and unbearable for the majority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *