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The China-India-Pakistan Triangle


Latest at the Diplomat thinks through China’s Pakistan options…

This is nothing new.  China and Pakistan have seen each other as (semi-) reliable allies since the 1950s, when tensions between China and India grew over Tibet and other issues. With the increasing strategic complexity associated with growing Chinese and Indian military power, however, the relationship takes on multiple new dimensions. The Pakistan-China-India triangle (with, as Dalton notes, one antagonistic, one competitive, and one cooperative leg) is embedded within a larger set of triangular relationships, including Japan, Russia, and the United States.

Pakistan is, in an important sense, Beijing’s answer to every step India takes to expand its influence in the South China Sea. To the extent that India evinces a willingness to either support the aspirations of China’s smaller neighbors (such as Vietnam) or ally with China’s more serious antagonists (such as Japan and the United States), China can respond by increasing the size and sophistication of its arms shipments to Pakistan, as well as supporting Pakistan in various international fora.



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