Evolving Pakistani-Chinese Alliance to Face the U.S./India
In an analysis titled “A Looming Super Power Clash Triggered by Pakistan” (published on February 15, 2011), we pointed out to the rapidly growing danger of a U.S.-Pakistan clash which will involve – in addition to the Unite States, China and Pakistan – India, Russia, NATO powers, and other powers in the region.
In the past few months, the U.S.-Pakistani relations further deteriorated into an open sabotage of the CIA work in Pakistan by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
On May 17-20, 2011, this process took an escalating turn with the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to China. The China visit was described by Pakistan’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan as “historical” and one that “would certainly open a new chapter in China-Pakistan relations under the new international environment and historical conditions.”
Gilani’s four-day China visit acquired an unprecedented international importance in the wake of the May 2, 2011, killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a U.S. operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
Pakistani leaders saw bin Laden’s killing in a unilateral U.S. operation as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and national dignity, while U.S. politicians and media suspected that there was complicity on the part of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in providing the Al-Qaeda leader with a safe hideout for years in Abbottabad, right next to a Pakistani military academy.
Amid this explosive situation, the Gilani visit was seen as a move to protect Pakistan from possible measures taken by the U.S. against it and to undercut the U.S. and Indian influence in the region, which is perceived by Pakistan as a years-long threat to Pakistan’s national security. While Pakistan and China have been long-standing allies, a fundamental shift can now be observed in their strategic relationship, which is characterized by bolstering their military and other relations and by the huge rupture in Pakistani-U.S. relations.
This analysis reviews the multi-dimensional elements of the rapidly growing alignment of Pakistan with China to face an anticipated stand-off – and even an open armed clash – with the U.S./India.