Wed. Aug 12th, 2020

Will China-India border clash strengthen China-Pakistan military communication?


Muhammad Masood


The recent hostile conflict between the military forces of two nuclear powers, which reportedly resulted in several casualties on both sides, has raised serious concerns across the world. The world’s leaders are appealing to dialogue, including President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, none has spoken about what we learn from the history that whenever India had large-scale hostile conflicts with either China or Pakistan. The all-weather (China-Pakistan) friends communicated confidential military information. Even India has openly alleged China and Pakistan many times over secret defense cooperation, particularly in the controversial regions like Gilgit-Baltistan, to diminish India’s influence in Asia.

Given the current border clash between China and India over the disputed Galwan valley could be (or is) another opportunity for China-Pakistan to strengthen the mutual defense relationship, especially in the field of security and military intelligence communication. Geopolitically speaking, the stronger the bond between China and Pakistan, the more problematic it becomes for India, especially when India is recently having border issues with Nepal too. For instance, if tension escalates between China and India, what will happen in the region? We are not sure which country in the region will support which contesting nuke powers. However, it is somehow sure that the third atomic nation in Asia, Pakistan, will support China’s claim.

This ongoing phenomenon demands further attention if we see out of the box. It is all happening when the United States’ troops are leaving Afghanistan after a controversial peace deal with the Afghan Taliban. Not to mention, Pakistan played a critical role, and the country is a direct stakeholder of this agreement and has largely effected during the United States war on terror in the region, thousands of its citizens lost lives and cost billions of dollars. Besides, while the United States has been going through COVID-19 outbreak and massive social instability due to the Black Lives Matter movement, one of its strategic allies in the Asia-Pacific, India, faces China in the controversial border area.  In conclusion, while no one exactly knows what will happen between India and China over border conflict, it could be a fortuitous moment for China to expand its influence in the whole region with the help of its all-weather alley, Pakistan.

The author is a Ph.D. student of media and communication and holds expertise on China-Pakistan-India diplomatic relationships in the context of Gilgit-Baltistan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Aksai Chin. His recent research focused on how Indian and Pakistani newspapers framed China’s presence in Gilgit-Baltistan.

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