The following are the comments sent by me in response to some E-mailed questions received from a journalist of Al Jazeera, English:
How much does China's consistent support for Pakistan affect India's policy towards Pakistan--particularly defense policy? For example, some analysts believe that India usually over calculates the need for troop deployments at certain fronts because it factors in china's unbending support for Paksitan..
MY Comments:India has to take into account likely military threats from Pakistan as well as China---individually as well as by their acting in tandem ---in deciding on its military requirements, deployments, strategy and tactics. This is what any country similarly placed will do.
What do you think of the two different sorts of reaction to attacks linked to Pakistan: Mumbai attacks vs recent China. The chinese reaction wasn't too harsh, it allowed Pakistan room to respond without going on the defensive. Pasha flew in right away and all seems to be well. Whereas in Mumbai, Pakistan was forced to get on the defensive. Do you think India can learn something from China's reaction-- to react in away where Pakistan will cooperate rather than go on a stubborn defensive?
My Comments:Pakistan does not use State-sponsored terrorism as a strategic weapon against China.It does so use against India.So, it is natural that the reactions and responses of India and China to terrorism emanating from Pakistani territory are different.
And China's treatment of Pakistan vs US's? China seems to give Pakistan room to breath and only crack the whip when necessary, whereas US seems to be on their throats all the time--at least recently.
My Comments:It depends on the individual experiences of countries in interacting with Pakistan.Al Qaeda's 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland were planned and orchestrated from Pakistani territory. China has never faced similar terrorist strikes.Fear of another 9/11 planned and carried out from Pakistani territory is an important factor influencing US policy towards Pakistan.
What does china's unconditional support for Pakistan means to the region's stability--specially since US and China seem to have diverging interests in the region, particularly in Afghanistan? More recently, the US seems to be moving towards the direction of conditional funding--that if Paksitan does not oblige to its regional goals, it might cut off funding. But since China is always there for Paksitan-- Pakistan does not feel the threat as much as it should.
My Comments: Both the US and China are equally important for Pakistan.The US is important with regard to its strained relations with India as well as its regional aspirations in the Af-Paki region and Central Asia. China can't help Pakistan in achieving its regional aspirations. The Chinese role will be limited to helping Pakistan militarily against India.The Pakistan Govt will ultimately ensure that its relations with both the US and China remain in good shape.