China – A Potential Ally?
Southasia published a very timely cover story on the emerging role of China in the region. I particularly liked the focus on China’s involvement in Pakistan and its implications on the future of US-PAK relations. The recent nosedive in rela- tions between the two countries does not bode well for either of their futures. The Pakistanis may forgive but they never forget. Too long has Pakistan been dictated by the United States and its policies. It is time to slowly start disengaging from specific alliances and explore newer and more diverse options. To be too tightly tied to one option is not in the best interests of the state. China has always been a steadfast friend and an ally that needs further attention and investment. From a regional and strategic standpoint, China will provide Pakistan with the advantage necessary to maintain a strong presence in South Asia. Economically, China provides Pakistan with a ready market for goods and a stronger partnership with it will allow Pakistan to regain the dignity and respect it has lost through an unworthy alliance with the West.
Ahmed Alvi Lahore, Pakistan
(2) Having read your cover story on China – The Backup Plan - I was impressed by the balancing arguments presented in Southasia magazine. However, I am of the opinion that China will be unable to fill the void if Us-pakistan relations completely disintegrate. China has its eyes on becoming a global superpower and it will not let petty issues act as a hindrance to its plan. Furthermore, Pakistan currently receives unmatchable aid from the U.S. Following the floods, the U.S provided $19 billion as part of its recovery and rehabilitation program. China was not able to match even half of that and nor will it do so in the future. Solely depending on China would be a mistake and Pakistan is bound to be disappointed. Furthermore, China is making headway with infrastructure projects in other South Asian countries like the Maldives and is expanding its markets in the region. Pakistan has always been possessive of its friends and any slight IndoChina interaction will undoubtedly cause concerns in government and army circles. Strategic, military and occasional developmental cooperation should certainly continue but if Pakistan believes that it can play the China card and call it a win, it is seriously mistaken. Nadia Rehman New York, US