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Beijing Downplays Possibility of Pakistani Naval Base

© AFP 2022 / STRA Pakistan security personnel stands guard near the the Beijing-funded "megaport" of Gwadar, in southwestern Pakistan
A Pakistan security personnel stands guard near the the Beijing-funded megaport of Gwadar, in southwestern Pakistan - Sputnik International
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Chinese officials have dismissed predictions that the People’s Liberation Army Navy will build a new base in Pakistan as Saudi Arabian and American influence in the region deteriorates.

Discussions about a Chinese base in Pakistan are "pure guesswork," Defense Ministry Spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday.

Sputnik has reported that Pakistan is actively seeking an increased Chinese presence in Pakistan to balance the strength of India. "We need an equalizer against India. Previously it was the US and Saudi Arabia. Now it’s China," a Pakistani diplomat told NBC, according to a June 19 report.

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In May, the US Defense Department issued a report stating, "China most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan."

The Pentagon combed through diplomatic cables and determined that China’s growing naval presence might call for the construction of a base at Gwadar Port in Balochistan.

Collaborating with major world powers has been risky for Pakistan in the past. Cooperation between the CIA and Pakistani intelligence services to "contain" the former Soviet Union resulted in the flourishing of radical Islamist elements that perceived the country’s elite to be American puppets, The Diplomat pointed out.

"While a permanent naval base in Pakistan extends China’s military outreach to safeguard its maritime interests, it reduces Pakistan to the status of a client state with higher risks of unintended consequences and few gains," the news service reported on June 24.

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