Sino-Pak Fight Against Terrorism – OpEd


Efforts to combat terrorism in Pakistan will remain a collaborative venture with China, as both nations are invested in preserving regional stability and security. The recent attack that resulted in the deaths of five Chinese nationals in Pakistan emphasizes the necessity for greater cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism. 

Beijing has been supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, which has raised concerns about the potential for terrorism to spill over from Afghanistan into Pakistan. China has called for Pakistan to take stronger measures against terrorists on Afghan soil and has urged the Taliban to commit to no training, no fundraising, and no recruitment centers for terrorists within Afghanistan . Pakistan, on the other hand, has been reluctant to anger the Taliban, as it sees them as a faithful proxy across its border and is also dealing with an increase in attacks by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) since the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan.

China has invested heavily in Pakistan through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has led to increased economic ties between the two countries. However, the security situation in Pakistan has posed a threat to Chinese interests, as evidenced by the recent suicide bombing at the Dasu Hydropower Project, a Chinese company undertaking in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province . This incident has prompted China to call for Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the incident, hunt down the perpetrators, and bring them to justice, as well as to take effective measures to protect the safety and security of Chinese nationals, institutions, and projects in Pakistan.

In terms of security, the recent attack on the Dasu Hydropower Project has shown that terrorists are targeting Chinese interests in Pakistan. The security analyst Iftikhar Firdous believes that these attacks are part of a ‘larger plan’ to hurt the economic interests of both countries and sabotage their ties . The Taliban’s resurrection has added stress to the otherwise positive and productive bilateral relationship between China and Pakistan, but the two countries are likely to manage any emerging tensions as they prioritize their strategic interests.

Pak-China Interests Under Threat

Pakistan and China alliance, which is marked by extensive economic collaboration and strategic congruence, confronts diverse threats that have the potential to affect their shared interests. One of the central perils of Pakistan-China interests in the region stems from the complex geopolitical dynamics and security challenges in South Asia. The contention between India and Pakistan, fueled by historical disputes and territorial conflicts, has a direct impact on the stability of the region. The ongoing stiffness between these two countries, coupled with China’s strategic interests in the area, creates a delicate balance that can be easily disrupted by any escalation of conflict or security incidents.

Moreover, the influence of external powers, particularly the United States, in the region adds another layer of complexity to the Pakistan-China relationship. The historical transactional nature of the relationship between the USA and Pakistan, characterized by periods of cooperation and tension, has implications for China’s strategic interests in the region. The evolving dynamics of the US-Pakistan relationship, especially in the context of counterterrorism efforts and regional stability, can potentially impact the stability of Pakistan-China economic ties and cooperation.

Additionally, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), faces challenges that could affect the economic partnership between China and Pakistan. The political infighting and governance issues within Pakistan, coupled with delays in project implementation and security concerns, pose risks to the successful realization of CPEC. These challenges not only impact the economic benefits expected from CPEC but also have broader implications for the overall bilateral relationship between China and Pakistan.

Pakistan and China will collaborate to counter terrorism and enhance security for Chinese personnel, institutions, and projects. They aim to strengthen mutual trust through trilateral cooperation, recognizing the importance of regional stability. Safeguarding their interests in South Asia, addressing security challenges, and ensuring the success of economic projects like CPEC are crucial. Strategic cooperation and proactive measures are essential for long-term stability in the South Asian landscape.

Zubair Mumtaz

Zubair Mumtaz is a Conflict Analyst and M.Phil. Scholar at National Defence University in Peace & Conflict Studies, specializing in South Asian Conflicts and Conflict Resolution Strategies. He is currently working for Radiant Journal Foundation as a Research Associate, and explores the complexities of regional/Global dynamics, offering insightful perspectives on security issues and conflict.

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