China's recent decision to provide Pakistan with the military version of Beidou, its hi-tech ballistic missile tracking and monitoring system, has once again certified a well known strategic view that Beijing uses Islamabad as the first choice exporting nation for testing its weaponry under supervision.
According to an opinion piece published in the www.strategypage.com web site, China and Pakistan have little in common historically or culturally and Beijing sees Islamabad more as a "client state.dependent enough on Chinese goodwill to provide (sic: the latter with) security."
The opinion piece in the web site says, "Pakistan needs China and never the other way around. After all, democratic Pakistan is run by its military and intelligence services, which use Islamic terrorists to attack its neighbors. China has employed such tactics in the past, but has since moved on to more sophisticated methods."
It further goes on to say that China is okay Pakistan's military backing its homegrown and dangerous Islamic terror groups so long as Beijing's huge investments and Chinese personnel in Pakistan are not affected by their brand of coercive violence.
"The military lets their pet Islamic terrorists understand that this risk (of Islamic terrorism) is well understood by the generals and that any "protected" Islamic terror group that decides to forget that will be eliminated and the survivors constantly hunted," says the article.
".China (has) told the Pakistanis that any Islamic terrorist violence against these projects or the Chinese personnel in Pakistan to ensure everything was built on time and according to spec would result in Pakistan losing the support of China. Pakistan could not afford that. China was not only the major supplier of weapons to Pakistan but also the only major power ally Pakistan had. In short, Pakistan needed China more than the other way around," it adds.
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The testing of the Chinese GPS (Beidou) in Pakistan is not the first instance of the two countries collaborating at the defence level. Pakistan was the first foreign customer for Chinese stealth aircraft. Pakistan is often the first customer approached by China for testing and purchase of new types of warships.
"If there are any problems with these ships, and that is normal, China will quietly fix things and the Pakistanis will ensure their media does not make an issue of the problem," the article in the www.strategypage.com web site says.
Pakistan is willing to do all this because (of) the patronage China gives Pakistan without looking to establish control politically over the latter.
"The article says, "There is little danger of China seeking to take control of Pakistan because that is not how China operates. China does not like trying to rule and absorb large alien populations. It has enough problems with less than ten million Turkic Uighurs and would not want to deal with over 160,000 more Moslems.."
China, however, possesses the "economic clout to demand certain things from Pakistan and Pakistan find providing that level of security to Chinese investments and personnel (is) a useful exercise in counter-terrorism. This also makes Pakistan one of the few South Asian nations that take comfort in rising Chinese military and economic power in the region," the opinion piece concludes.
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