‘Islamabad’s fears of Moscow are misplaced’

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Prof Zhou Rong, the chief of South Asia Bureau of a Chinese daily the Guang Ming, on Thursday argued that since India had become a world sought-after country and was gravitating towards the US, the Russians would also be interested in sorting out differences with Pakistan, adding that Islamabad’s fears of Moscow were misplaced. He described Pakistan as the best friend of China and listed Russia the second best. Speaking at a roundtable discussion, organised by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Zhou said China would welcome improved relationship between two of its friends but cautioned against the Pak-US ties, based on incongruent and at times divergent interests.
He said that Russia’s reach had shrunk significantly after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 and it was now far away from Pakistan to threaten it militarily. He also did not think that Russia would be interested in doing that at any point in the near future. Therefore, he emphasised Pakistan should improve relations with Russia while putting aside its fears based on strayed thinking. Zhou maintained that Pakistan was emotionally pro-China, but psychologically pro-US because of the long-standing institutional relationship it had enjoyed with the latter. He attributed the good relations between the two countries partly to the fact that many among Pakistani elite had studied or stayed in the US and still preferred sending their children there for studies.
He said though China was never bothered by Pakistan’s relationship with the US and it actually benefited from the process in developing its own ties with America.
Summarising US policy interests with respect to Pakistan, Zhou said, “The US wants to utilise, restrict and reform Pakistan.”
He elaborated that the US aimed at utilising Pakistan in the war on terror, restricting its growing religious radicalism and reform it to make it a liberal secular democracy.
He added that Pakistan could not become a secular democracy because of its strong Islamic roots while modern undercurrents in the society prevented it from turning into a theocratic state ruled by Taliban.
Zhou said Pak-China relationship was exceptional because of being instinctive, adding that the two countries needed to develop a energy and trade corridor through the sea routes that had been talked about for the past six years. He also wanted Pakistan and China to develop a train route across the Pak-China land border through Xinjiang and Gilgit-Baltistan.
He added that Pakistan would have to proactively persuading the Chinese government to initiate the rail-link between the two countries.

1 COMMENT

  1. I would love to see China get Pakistan and Russia shake a hand of lasting friendship. I will take it as a debt repaid to Pakistan for taking Henry to China. As for Henry, he paid Pakistan by getting rid of Bhutto. Uncle Sam is still paying us through NATO.

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