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Dynamics of the Multifaceted Pakistan-China Relationship

GlobalVillageSpace

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Mar 4, 2017
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In May, Pakistan and China will complete seventy years of an epic journey started together. Pakistan recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1950, and diplomatic relations were established on 21 May 1951.

Major General. N.A.M Raza was Pakistan’s first Ambassador to China, who served there twice, first from 1951 to 1954 and then from 1962 to 1966. I was the twentieth Ambassador in line and had a single stint of six and a half years from 2013 to 2019.

My extended stay enabled me to look closely at the dynamics of Pakistan-China relations, which is now viewed as a ‘model in inter-state relationships’ and envied by many. Over the years, politicians, officials and scholars have coined catchy phrases to describe this partnership; “Deeper than oceans; higher than mountains; sweeter than honey; strong as steel; all-weather friends; good partners; good friends; and good neighbors”- all encapsulating the depth of this relationship.


However, the best elucidation is given by no less than President Xi Jinping, who calls Pakistan an “Iron Brother” or “Batie.” This term is now etched in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people. They spontaneously address Pakistanis as ‘Batie’ when they meet them. No other country has deserved this accolade from the Chinese people.

It is puzzling for many, especially western scholars, to see these two countries, ideologically and culturally so divergent and economically different, to gel so well together and express such warm sentiments. However, the sustained effort to build this impregnable edifice is often unappreciated.

Both shared a common outlook on many issues, even when they were emerging as infant states. Both were developing countries; both had bad colonial experience; both opposed hegemony and imperialism; both had civilizational links dating back to the seventh century when Chinese Buddhist monks visited fabled valleys of Swat and Taxila and studied Gandhara Art and Buddhist scriptures, which were then introduced in ancient China.

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Dynamics of the Multifaceted Pakistan-China Relationship
 

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