14:01 GMT05 August 2021
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    Jabin T Jacob, a senior regional security analyst based in Delhi, told Sputnik that despite the recent change in Islamabad’s diplomacy vis-à-vis Beijing, the mechanisms underpinning the relationship between the two countries remains the same.

    The Pakistan-China friendship that has often been termed as 'higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the ocean' is likely to change under the new government in Pakistan. Further, the positive change in India-China relations, particularly after the Wuhan informal summit between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping has been a significant development likely to impact China's dynamics with Pakistan.

    READ MORE: Saudi Arabia Sends $3 Billion to Pakistan to Deal with Financial Crisis

    While Pakistan, situated at the crossroads of South, Central and West Asia and the Middle East, holds immense geostrategic significance for China, Chinese cooperation in the hour of deep economic crisis is equally important for Pakistan.

    Sputnik spoke to Jabin T Jacob, Adjunct Research Fellow at National Maritime Foundation and Associate Editor of the 'China Report' about the changing Pakistan-China dynamics.

    Sputnik: How do you view Pakistan's ties with China after Imran Khan took over as Prime Minister?

    Jabin T Jacob: Ties have certainly got complicated and there are hectic parlays going on before Khan makes his visit to China early next month. The Chinese have been forced to step up their public diplomacy and I think also to accept some demands for transparency or shift in emphasis on certain projects to meet Khan's expectations and to remove the Punjab bias in CPEC.

    Sputnik: How do you view Pakistan's ties with China after Imran Khan took over as Prime Minister?

    Jabin T Jacob: I don't think China can be the economic savior of Pakistan. Pakistan's economic problems are also political issues — the fact that very few people pay their electricity bills in Pakistan is a political issue ultimately and speaks of weak state capacity and poor governance.

    Sputnik: There has been speculation that Pakistan is scrutinizing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. Will this jeopardize its relations with China?

    Jabin T Jacob: I don't think it will 'jeopardize' ties with China. The Pakistanis are ever more dependent on China — politically and economically given the state of their relations with the US and India. But for Islamabad, the bargaining chip is that with the bad publicity that OBOR or BRI is receiving, the Chinese need the 'success story' of CPEC more than ever. Both sides will compromise to keep the relationship going.

    READ MORE: Pakistan Plans to Buy High-End Drones in China Amid India's S-400 Deal

    Sputnik: There is a growing perspective that Pakistan in danger of becoming a Chinese colony. What are your views on this?

    Jabin T Jacob: Not if the Pakistan Army continues to remain a strong political actor in Pakistan. And if it weakens, then not if Pakistan decides to improve its relationship with India. India will be a key factor.

    Sputnik: Do you see an opportunity for India in case China-Pakistan relations become soured?

    Jabin T Jacob: The opportunity might be in China persuading Pakistan to stop being interested in cross-border terrorism as a central element of its competition with India and switch to building economic ties with India as a way of both developing its own economy as well as achieving greater balance in civil-military relations in Pakistan. I don't think the Chinese see there is much to gain from India-Pakistan conflict. Such conflict would only make CPEC more vulnerable.

    READ MORE: Pakistan, China Call Media Report on CPEC 'Distorted', 'Ill-Intentioned'

    Sputnik: Do you see any kind of Pakistan-China-Russia axis emerging in the subcontinent and its possible impact on India?

    Jabin T Jacob: No, I don't see any possibility of a Pakistan-China-Russia axis. The Russians also have their problems with the Chinese and have too close a defense relationship with India to risk it.

    The views and opinions expressed by Jabin T Jacob in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.


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