Pakistan has become a pawn of Chinese politics: IAF chief RKS Bhadauria
Pakistan has increasingly become a pawn of China and the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has opened options for Beijing to expand its influence in the region through Islamabad, the Chief of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff, said on Tuesday. air chief marshal, RKS Bhadauria.
In a speech at a seminar organized by think tank Vivekananda International Foundation, he said that Pakistan’s dependence on China is set to increase as the country reels under the Chinese debt trap.
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said India’s “most important” national security challenge is understanding China, its “possible game plan” and the deepening and evolving relationship between China and Pakistan.
“Pakistan has increasingly become a pawn in Chinese politics. Under a growing debt trap related to the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), we are going to witness more military dependencies in the future, ”he said.
“The exit of the United States from Afghanistan has opened greater options for China in the region, both directly and through Pakistan, allowing a possible entry into Central Asia, a region they have been watching for a long time,” added the head of the IAF.
The air chief marshal said that coercion and economic dependence are being used as tools to make weaker countries accept unilateral action, in an apparent reference to China.
“We are now witnessing an increase in attempts to alter the status quo through mindless disregard or selective interpretation of established international laws and norms. Coercion and economic dependence are being used as tools for the weakest countries to accept unilateral actions, thus undermining the very order established at the international level, ”he said.
“Fragile states find it convenient to align themselves with the dominant powers to guarantee the survival of the regime, which further affects the regional security scenario and is something that we must increasingly take into account in our national security matrix,” he added.
Responding to a question about possible military cooperation between India, the United States, Japan and Australia under the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition, he did not rule out such a possibility and indicated that discussions are ongoing.
“Quad, as a kind of execution, has not happened so far. But as an action plan, it is possible, ”he said.
Without naming China, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also referred to “debt trap diplomacy” to achieve geopolitical goals by trapping recipient countries with loans that cannot be repaid.
He said it has allowed ports and facilities “created and controlled by foreigners” very close to the Indian mainland and island territories. “With the new doctrines of the PLA underscoring the importance of developing force projection capabilities to counter the global dominance of the United States, there is a direct impact of such development on our security matrix,” he said.
“For example, what if China used one of those launching pads for action against us in a conflict situation? Does the port or launch pad of a third country become a target for us or not? What are the implications? It is something that we must take into account, it is something that must be included in our planning and thinking process, “he said.
Speaking about national security challenges, the IAF chief said that there are very few major states that still have unresolved borders to the extent that India does in its north.
“At our northern borders, the Himalayan barrier, which separated South Asia from China, has been literally crushed by huge infrastructure development and the time it takes to travel long distances has really been reduced,” he said.
“The western border has been active since the day Pakistan was created. In addition to the terrorism that they inflicted on us through actions of power, we have been frustrating the continuous attempts of our adversary to violate our territory and sovereignty on many occasions, ”he said.
The IAF chief said that the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific regions are witnessing a tectonic shift in the strategic sphere as maritime trade and the economic center of gravity shift towards them.
“With the West and the United States in a strategic retreat over the past few years, it has opened a window of opportunity for a geostrategic realignment and this is largely being shaped by China. China’s rapid economic growth and expanding economy have enabled it to invest heavily in military technology and research and development, ”he said. PTI MPB RC