China stands by Pakistan at a time when the latter badly needs it. Pakistan faces isolation in the region for which Islamabad’s own policies are partly responsible. At a time when few are interested in investing in Pakistan, China has brought the largest single investment in the country’s history through CPEC. China has condemned the US drone attack in Balochistan. That the condemnation came three weeks after the incident indicates Beijing had to hold serious internal discussions to determine its response. China currently leads the resistance to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Islamabad hopes that if New Delhi is given membership through exemption China will press for a similar treatment for Pakistan. It would however be unfair to China if Pakistan’s policy makers develop unrealistic expectations from it. China is a world power which acts cautiously and gives priority to its national interests, which is how it should be. China’s interests require peace in the region to enable Beijing to develop its economy.
China would not like Pakistan to be totally dependent on it. Islamabad’s relations with Washington have soured on account of recent events that included denial of F-16s, the US drone attack and because the US has shown a visible tilt towards India. The US, however, is still keen to maintain friendly ties with Pakistan. There is a need, therefore, to give diplomacy a chance. Meanwhile, those spreading panic and creating paranoia should be discouraged. It is being wrongly propagated that the US has already got military bases in India and that it would fly drones from these bases to launch attacks inside Pakistan. Pakistan should create conditions which ensure that there are no drone strikes.
No responsible country puts itself in a position where it is short of options. Pakistan needs to cultivate as many friends as it can. It also has to make efforts to win over opponents. It has to reduce the level of confrontation with those who still remain opposed to it.