China and Pakistan: An alliance is built

James Lamont and Farhan Bokhari in the Financial Times:

ScreenHunter_04 Jul. 02 23.09 The interference of the Chinese in what Delhi calls Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and considers Indian territory conjures in the minds of India’s security establishment bitter memories of a brief Chinese invasion of its Arunachal Pradesh state in 1962.

Some political analysts go so far as to refer to Pakistan as a “client state” of China and predict that the US will be displaced as the country’s long-term ally. They consider Pakistan as a test-bed for Chinese exports of sophisticated arms such as submarines as well as nuclear reactors and, in time, finance. “The pattern of trade and investment between Pakistan and China suggests that the US has little chance of retaining its status as Pakistan’s major ally,” says James Brazier, an analyst at IHS, a US-based political risk consultancy.

Referring to nearby Burma, he adds: “Pakistan’s relationship with China could soon resemble that of Myanmar, another former part of British India which is now closely dependent on China.”

Pakistan has made little secret about its fondness for Beijing. Aware that its stance irks India and the US, its leaders call China an “all-weather friend”, striking a deliberate contrast with others they consider less dependable. Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, has returned the compliment with his own rhetorical flourish. “No matter what changes might take place in the international landscape, China and Pakistan will remain forever good neighbours, good friends, good partners and good brothers,” he said in the days following Osama bin Laden’s killing by American forces on Pakistani soil in May.

More here. [Thanks to Mohsin Hamid.]