China - Pakistan Economic and Defense Cooperation: Global and Regional Impact

Pakistan was the first predominantly Muslim country to recognize China’s Communist regime in the autumn of 1949. The following year, the two nations established diplomatic relations. A relationship that began with economic cooperation has over time become what Pakistanis see as an ‘all weather friendship,’ especially when compared with Pakistan’s sporadic alliance with the United States.

Since inception, Pakistan has sought a major power ally that would build Pakistan’s capabilities against India. Since the 1960s, Pakistan have seen China as the international guarantor of Pakistan’s security and a reliable partner in the quest for military and nuclear parity with India. China’s antagonistic relationship with India has led Pakistan’s leaders in perceiving China as more trustworthy than long-time ally the United States, which is now seen as building close ties with Pakistan’s neighbor and perceived existential threat India. While the U.S. openly criticizes Pakistan’s support for terrorism and the expansion of its nuclear arsenal, China has helped Pakistan in avoiding the terrorist tag at the United Nations and has actively assisted in Pakistan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

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