BEIJING: There is no military alliance between China and Pakistan, but China’s arms exports to Pakistan is a powerful weapon to safeguard the South Asian country’s military sovereignty, a report published in the Chinese official daily the Global Times said on Saturday.
Pakistan had been shunning the United States (US) in favour of Chinese weapons, the Global Times reported earlier this week. Since 2010, US arms exports to Pakistan plummeted from $1 billion to just $21 million last year, according to the report, while China had become Pakistan’s most consistent supplier of military hardware.
Pakistan had the right to buy arms from any country in the global arms market, which had long been dominated by the US, the report added.
Washington had been known to impose conditions on its economic aid, the report said, while adding that military assistance worked the same way.
US arms export policy targeted the turbulent regions of the world and supported its allies in those areas through defence exports to maximise US national interests in different regions.
According to Reuters, the US said in January that it was suspending at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it took action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups.
With its military assistance, the US was aiming to force Pakistan to act according to a scenario that was being advocated by Washington. Onerous conditions imposed by the US on its military aid and arms exports was hurting Pakistan’s military sovereignty to a certain degree.
Due to these reasons, Pakistan had been busy making efforts to diversify the sources of its arms imports and the vacuum was filled by China. Although China’s overall strength in military technology was not equal to the military capacity of US, the country’s defence products have emerged in the world’s arms market with a high performance-to-price ratio.
China’s rising profile in this field gave options to arms importers like Pakistan to break Western hegemony in military sales.
As for China’s arms exports, the government had always adopted a prudent and responsible attitude to carry out strict management in accordance with relevant United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions and Chinese laws.
China’s arms exports would be beneficial in enhancing the capabilities of the recipient countries in terms of self-defence.
The Chinese government was also a preferred business partner for many countries since it did not impose any political conditions on arms trade, the report said. Beijing does not allow its arms exports to disturb the regional peace, and it also had no intention of interfering in the internal affairs of the recipient countries, it added.
China’s arms exports to Pakistan would not lead to a military alliance. Instead, they would strengthen the South Asian country’s military sovereignty, the report added.