The Future of Iron Brotherhood

Zaka Uall

There are good reasons to believe that Pakistan and China’s brotherhood will stand the test of time Pakistan and China have maintained warm and cordial relations throughout their 70 years of diplomatic relations. There are no parallels in the region of the extent of cooperation between the two countries. There are numerous instances where this mutual cooperation has delivered the good. Peaceful border settlement of 1962, The Karakorum Highway, the majestic highway running through Gilgit/Baltistan of Pakistan, Pakistan’s active role in bringing China closer to the West especially in developing its relations with the United States and now the huge Chinese investment in Pakistan in the shape of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) stamping the emblem of friendship in the shape of highways, economic zones, and industrial development along the lengths of Pakistan.
This historical cooperation between two countries is likely to grow in the years to come. The current regional and international dynamics and the inherent behavior of both the states reflect that the iron brotherhood is likely to strengthen with time.
One key feature of Pak China relations is respect for their mutual sovereignties. China is a global power whereas Pakistan is a developing country. Normally, a great power always tries to intrude the sovereignty of smaller state in the name of extending cooperation. We have seen such a trend in the US and Pakistan’s relations over the years. Pakistan and US relations are a continuous struggle between the two countries where the US always demands to mold Pakistan’s foreign policy in the context of its own and Pakistan resisting such a move. That’s why the ups and downs in their bilateral relations. China, on the other hand does not middle in how Pakistan carries its foreign and domestic policy. China has shown from its behavior that it has no objections on how Pakistan maintains its relations with Global powers and its neighboring countries. Similarly, Pakistan has never objected on China’s growing trade with India and its investment in Iran. Mutual respect of each other’s sovereignties increases mutual trust.
United States, in order to decrease Chinese influence in the region is propping up India against China. In such a scenario, to maintain regional balance of power China and Pakistan cooperation is inevitable. To achieve such a balance China is continuously helping Pakistan economically and, strengthening and developing Pakistan’s military industrial complex.
China’s policy for the region is peace through trade. Belt and Road initiative visualize peace in the region through promotion of trade and commercial activities. We already have a European model of peace realized between countries through trade. Europe which was the main battle ground of the two world wars is now at peace, thanks to European Union’s trade policies. China has a similar vision of bringing regional countries closer and avoiding strife by tying them up in trade. China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a flag ship project of BRI, the main Chinese weapon for lasting regional peace.
One more indicator of why Pakistan and China’s relations will go a long way is the attitude of the leadership and people of both countries towards each other. There are frequent exchanges of visits of dignitaries and mutually organized cultural events between the two countries. That’s a sign of the commitment of both countries to further strengthen the iron brotherhood.