Chinese Military Assistance To Pakistan And Implications For India


Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan acknowledged that no relationship between two sovereign states is as unique and durable as that between Pakistan and China.

Pakistan China relations started from 1950 when the former broke diplomatic ties with Republic of China and recognized Peoples Republic of China. With the passage of time relations between both the countries strengthened as they have India as a common enemy. Both the countries support each other on international issues too. China supports Pakistan on Kashmir issue while the later supports China on Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang issues.

Hussain Haqqani a senior Pakistani diplomat pointed out that “For China, Pakistan is a low cost secondary deterrent to India while for Pakistan, China is a high value guarantor of security against India.”

China also favours tension between India and Pakistan, as in this way India remains busy in South Asia region and it could not challenge China in international arena.

Chinese Military aid to Pakistan

Lisa Curtis of Heritage Foundation, a Washington based think tank, mentioned in an article that “Chinese policy towards Pakistan is driven primarily by its interest in countering Indian power in the region and diverting Indian military force and strategic attention away from China”

China is the biggest arms supplier for Pakistan. For transfer of technology and know-how also Pakistan depends on China in a big way. China transferred 36 M9 ballistic missiles though it officially acknowledged it only in 1992..

From then on, the defence ties between the two nations have gone from strength to strength s later on China also supplied JF-17, F-7 aircraft and different kinds of small arms and ammunition to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s 70 percent of armed forces aircraft and Main battle Tanks (MBT) were procured from China. China gave more than 400 military aircraft, 1600 MBT and more than 40 navy ships. Most of Pakistani missile projects are started by China.

China has not only modernized Pak army but it also established joint projects in Pakistan. J-10 and JF-17 are the latest Chinese version of Russian aircraft SU-27 and Mig-29. JF-17 Thunder aircraft was jointly developed by Chinese and Pakistanis at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra. It is an advanced multi role light Combat aircraft. Initially Chinese missiles would be fitted in JF-17 and later the aircraft would be equipped with more sophisticated radars and missiles.

Besides JF-17 other important joint projects include K-8 Karakorum advance training aircraft, Al Khalid Tanks, Babur cruise missiles,F-22 naval frigates, AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) etc. China also constructed Gwadar Deep Sea Port and assisted Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) in developing space technology. Heavy Rebuild Factory (HRF) at Taxila was established through Chinese assistance.

China helped Pakistan in the development of nuclear programme also. According to a US intelligence agency report, China had transferred not only the nuclear weapons designs but also weapon grade uranium so that Pakistan can build two nuclear bombs. China built two nuclear reactors in Chasma and also wanted to build two more nuclear reactors there but could not so far.

054A anti-submarine frigate which was built in Huangpu shipyard was sold to Pakistan navy.

Chinese Defence minister Liang Guangile, while meeting Noman Bashir, Pakistan Chief of Naval Staff in December 2009 in Beijing reiterated that Chinese armed forces would like to improve its friendly ties with Pakistani Defence forces. General Liang confirmed that Pakistani navy would receive a total of eight F-22 P 3000 tonner Frigates from China. However Pakistan wants to acquire 4000 tonner ships too besides F-22 P Frigates. Chinese leadership is willing to give 4000 tonner ships to Pakistan. Pakistan also acquired 120 Chinese C 802 long range anti-ship cruise missiles. China had also given second ERIEYE radar-equipped SAAB 2000 to Pakistan and would also give Shaanxi ZDK-03 airborne early warning aircraft.

China would be establishing military bases abroad. At least one military base would be established in Pakistan. A Chinese military base in Pakistan would pressure India and would counterbalance US influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not only this, Chinese military base in Pakistan would also facilitate China to curb the uprising of Uighurs who are demanding an independent nation in Xinxiang province.

China is liberally assisting Pakistan not only on diplomatic, defence, technical, nuclear fronts but also on economic front. More than 60 Chinese companies and about 10000 Chinese workers are involved in 122 projects in Pakistan. Chinese investment has already crossed $7 billion and it would enhance to $10 billion this year.

Visit of Chinese delegation

State Councillor and Minister for National Defence of China, General Liang Guanglie, led a 17 member delegation to Pakistan on May 23, 2010 on a two- day visit. The visiting delegation met Pakistani President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister and top military generals including General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Army Staff and General Tariq Majid, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee. Both General Kayani and General Majid appreciated China for its whole hearted support to Pakistan.

The defence ministers of both the countries signed three agreements ostensibly to enable Pakistan to fight terrorism. Under these agreements, cooperation and strategic communication between the armed forces of both the countries would be enhanced. Army, Navy and Air Force of Pakistan and China would participate in joint military exercises. The ministers also agreed to share intelligence to weed out the menace of terrorism. Chinese defence minister also promised to provide four trainer aircraft to Air Force and 60 million Yuan (US dollars 8.78 million) to Pakistani defense forces.

Both Pakistani President and Prime Minister highlighted the strong friendly ties between China and Pakistan. However during the talks President Zardari alleged that Indian intelligence is behind the terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also charged that there is ample proof that an Indian intelligence agency is assisting terrorist organizations in Pakistan through Afghanistan. Gilani stated that Pakistan wants to eradicate terrorism from its soil but it needs China’s support to counter terrorism. Gilani also lauded Chinese companies namely China National Electronic Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC) and China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) for giving credit to Pakistan Defence forces.

General Liang stated that China want to make Pakistan self-reliant and does not desire to keep it dependent on China. He promised that China would provide more spare parts, assembly units, over hauling facilities and additional joint venture projects to Pakistan in future.

What Next?

India should try to counter the nexus between Pakistan and China as the military and nuclear ties between both the countries are being strengthened. China is still clandestinely supplying nuclear and missile technology to Pakistan. Although United States has confirmed information about this unholy alliance but it appears that US does not want to give credence to these glaring evidence.

India has also not made any active opposition to this unhealthy relationship. India should muster international support against the illegal proliferation activities of China. It is high time when India adopted a tangible campaign against illegal proliferation of China.

Not only this, China should also comprehend that the pressure of Taliban is escalating very rapidly in nuclear Pakistan, which may be dangerous phenomenon for the world. China must utilize its clout so that the impact of Taliban reduces in Pakistan and terrorists are unable to gain control of nuclear devices.

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