The Beijing-Islamabad axis plays a central role in Asia’s geopolitics, from India’s rise to the prospects for a post-American Afghanistan, from the threat of nuclear terrorism to the continent’s new map of mines, ports and pipelines. China is Pakistan’s great economic hope and its most trusted military partner; Pakistan is the battleground for China’s encounters with Islamic militancy and the heart of its efforts to counter-balance the emerging US-India partnership. For decades, each country has been the other’s only ‘all-weather’ friend. Yet the relationship is still little understood. The wildest claims about it are widely believed, while many of its most dramatic developments are hid- den from the public eye.
This book sets out the recent history of Sino-Pakistani ties and their ramifications for the West, for India, for Afghanistan, and for Asia as a whole. It tells the stories behind some of its most sensitive aspects, including Beijing’s support for Pakistan’s nuclear program, China’s dealings with the Taliban, and the Chinese military’s planning for crises in Pakistan. And it describes a relationship increasingly shaped by Pakistan’s internal strife, and the dilemmas China faces between the need for regional stability and the imperative for strategic competition with India and the USA.