With the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in sight, Pakistan is gearing up to gather support from China to avoid the blacklisting. Reports suggest that Islamabad is likely to persuade the US to support it as it feels it can leverage its much-lauded role as a successful negotiator in the US-Taliban agreement signed on February 29.
“While Pakistan will have support from Turkey and Malaysia, Beijing is expected to push hard in Pakistan’s favour at the meeting,” says Shalini Chawla, distinguished fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies.
“Pakistan has been on the FATF grey list since June 2018 and even though Islamabad is getting its progress report ready, there is little evidence to suggest that its faith in the use of terrorism as a state policy against India will change,” she writes in her opinion piece in The Indian Express.
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Pakistan’s growing alliance with China has been a major factor that has alleviated international pressure on it, altering its strategic calculus. Beijing’s all-out support to Pakistan provided room to shrink Islamabad’s reliance on the West (especially the US).
“Importantly, Pakistan’s military build-up has continued with Chinese defence imports despite its economic slowdown and mounting debt,” she states.
According to her, China’s lavish military assistance to Pakistan has been on four critical fronts: Export of Chinese conventional military equipment; support in Pakistan’s nuclear build-up; assistance to Pakistan’s indigenous defence industry and intelligence sharing.
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“It looks like China wants its alliance with Pakistan to serve as an exemplar to smaller nations in South Asia and the Middle East to fulfil its boundless strategic and economic ambition,” states Chawla.
That is why she concludes: “The Sino-Pak nexus is expected to grow further in the coming years and India needs to be strategically prepared to deal with the implications of the alliance”.
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