Book review: The China-Pakistan Axis by Andrew Mall
The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics
Author: Andrew Small
Oxford University press
China-Pakistan Axis is a good effort by Andrew Small; it covers most of the part of Sino-Pak relations throughout the history. This book contains seven chapters from which first three chapters are about the history of Sino-Pak relations and chapter four and six explains the bad condition of relationship due to terrorism and five and seven chapters argue the current scenario of relationship. This book is based on the literature review and interviews. It has fruitful knowledge about Sino-Pak friendship.
Greater than Himalaya, deeper than sea, is a mantra or a specific quotation which is mostly used to express Pak-China friendship. Another quotation is also used to express this friendship is, All-weather-friend. Pakistan and china are neighbor countries. They have very deep and good relations. China supported Pakistan most of the time. China supported Pakistan economically, morally and also helped Pakistan to advance the technology. China also helped Pakistan to establish the nuclear bomb. But this friendship has ups and downs, sometimes good and sometimes bad. In this book author’s main focus is Pak-China relations from the beginning and until now. Current scenario is in favor of good relationship and it is also helpful in peace building. According to the author the China-Pakistan axis is almost ready to step out of the shadows.
Main Theme of Book
In 1962 Tibetan territorial conflict between India and China opened a first way of China-Pakistan friendship. At that time Pakistan was ally of U.S. Pakistan also signed the agreement of bilateral cooperation with U.S. but on the other hand China and India were close friends. India was bedfellow of China at that time, anti-colonial and non-aligned neighbor. But unfortunately Tibetan territorial conflict emerged between these two bedfellows and their good relations turned into war. Indian army failed to meet the victory. At that time Pakistan was also supporting Tibetan rebellions. But at the end of war Pakistan was feeling that it is the good time to solve the Kashmir problem with India through war. Pakistan was planning to send the troops in Kashmir after 1962 war. China was also favoring the idea of Pakistan. So in 1965 India and Pakistan were at war with each other and China was supporting Pakistan openly. China was not only the arm supplier but also was a moral supporter and participator in the 1965 war. That was a bad time for India and Pak-China friendship was growing rapidly. 1965 war cultivated the seed of all-weather friendship. During the days of 1970 Dhaka became headache for Pakistan. People of Dhaka turned into rebellions rather than patriot. Pakistan’s full attention was to suppress the rebellions. At the same time India was supporting rebellions in Dhaka. Pakistan was in bad condition. They asked to China to participate in the war of Dhaka. Russia also threatens that who will attack on India we will attack on that country, U.S was also threatening China to do not participate in this war. China refused to take part in the war and it became the reason of fall of Dhaka. The result was that Pak-China relationship has limits.
After the fall of Dhaka China promised that we will share army experience with you and we will make you capable that never will happen again. China started to train the army of Pakistan. They also helped Pakistan to establish a nuclear bomb. In 1989 Pakistan tested Hatf missile, which have range of 80 kilometers. Western world strongly discouraged the Pakistani missile technology. Pakistan again asked China for help and at that time China helped Pakistan and China gave their latest models M9, M11to Pakistan and by the help of that models Pakistan developed his missile technology. During that time china also supported Pakistan economically.
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 was the key factor of unrest in south Asian region. President Zia-ul Haq created Muslims militant groups against the Soviet Union. Most of the western countries were funding these militant groups against Soviet Union. They became successful against the Soviet Union. In 1989 they left the Afghanistan. After that U.S stopped to aid Pakistan because they were involved in establishing a nuclear bomb. At that time Pakistan was not economically strong. It was the time to worry. At that time China funded Pakistan and they were able to continue their nuclear program.
9/11 incident suddenly changed the position of relationship. At the time of Soviet Invasion Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) was the training center of militants groups in Islamabad during Zia’s period of time. In 2007, vigilante
Groups from Lal Masjid raided a Chinese massage parlor and acupuncture center near to the Lal Masjid. Their claim was that this massage center is involved in illegal sexual activities and this is prohibited in Islam. Seven Chinese and two Pakistanis were abducted to Lal Masjid. That was critical situation for both countries. Pakistani government tried their best to release the hostages. After the long conversation Ghazi Abdurasheed released the hostages and announced that we have good relations with China so that’s why we are releasing Chinese people. After that Chinese diplomat Luo Zhaohui announced that Pakistani government will punish them those who were involved in the abduction. Tension between Pakistani government and Lal Masjid turned into very bad condition. Pakistani president Parvez Musharraf launched a full-fledged operation against the militants of Lal Masjid. At the end of the operation total 103 were killed from which six were Chinese Uyghur’s. Militants announced that Pakistani government took this step because Chinese government puts pressure on them. They clearly announced that Chinese are our enemies. They started to kill Chinese in Pakistan everywhere. Chinese engineers were working in Chashma Atomic Power Plant and Gawader port. Militants started abduction and killing of Chinese in these areas.
Chinese were not safe in Pakistan. During that days Xinjiang, region of Chinese territory, was in the hands of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). They were Chinese Muslims. They were also fighting against Chinese for their rights. They were involved in Beijing attacks. They also have good relations with the Talibans. Chinese government announced the eight most wanted men’s names which were involved in the terrorist attacks in China. Chinese government also claimed that they are living in Pakistan’s territory. Good relation turning to bad relation at that time. Pakistan suffered a lot but China also suffered same as Pakistan.
In 2008 Pakistan People’s Party came into power after the killing of Benazir Bhutto. Asif Zardari became the president of Pakistan. Chinese was thinking that this government will not survive. Pakistan was passing through economic crises. Asif Zardari visited China for help but China refused to help and suggested that IMF is the best way.
During the same time Chinese were planning to connect china with Arabian countries through oil pipeline. This project was more costly. There was another way, old trade route from China to Gawader port. But the situation was not in favorer. At the arrival of JF-17 thunder to Pakistan Chinese also offered their suggestion of connecting china with Gawader through the ancient route and Asif Zardari replied that this is happiest moment of my life.
Election of 2013 was the favorable moment of Pak-China friendship when Muslim League N won the election. Nawaz Sharif became the prime minister of Pakistan. This is the good time to invest in Pakistan. China signed different projects related to energy crises. Now Pak-China friendship is in good phase. Pakistan promised to China giving a legal cover to Gilgit Baltistan which is route of that road connecting Gawader to China. Now China-Pakistan axis is almost ready to step out of the shadows.