Chinese media has once threatened India after a terror attack at the East Bay Road in Gwadar, located in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Global Times, state media of China, has insinuated an Indian hand behind the attack.
Global Times said in its editorial, “The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become a target of some terror forces in Pakistan, which has something to do with the incitement of some international forces.”
It proceeded to add, “In this region, some US and Indian intelligence forces keen to infiltrate into Pakistan have held a hostile attitude toward China’s BRI. Blocking the development of the BRI has become their main target to contain China’s rise. And, the terror attack that targeted Chinese engineers who worked for the Dasu hydropower project is said to be fuelled by the Indian intelligence agency.”
The editorial went on to claim that “international forces must have influenced and incited terror forces in Pakistan.” It said, “China must be prepared for a long-term fight, together with the Pakistani government, against terrorism in Pakistan. China needs to resolutely support the Pakistani government to crack down on terrorism.”
In conclusion, the said, “China will not only support Pakistan to strike a heavy blow to these terror forces, but also warn all the external forces to stay away from those terror forces. Once China obtains evidence that they support terrorist forces in Pakistan, China will punish them.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan has demanded that authorities “conduct a thorough investigation on the attack, and severely punish the perpetrators.” “At the same time, relevant departments at all levels in Pakistan must take practical and effective measures to accelerate to implement strengthened whole-process security measures and upgraded security cooperation mechanism to ensure that similar incidents will not happen again,” it said in a statement.
Implications of the statement for Pakistan by the Chinese Embassy and Global Times
The stern words by the Chinese Embassy on the terror attack make it clear that China is building pressure on Pakistan to appropriately punish the perpetrators of the attack. Furthermore, it is also evident that China seeks to play a greater role in the internal affairs of Pakistan citing the battle against terrorism as an excuse.
The editorial by Global Times is particularly revealing as it is deliberately ambiguous on the role it seeks to play in the battle against terrorists operating within the territory of their ally. It says clearly that ‘China will punish them’ but remains ambiguous on whether it will punish the perpetrators on Pakistani soil or take the fight to India.
They say that they will assist Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism but it does not appear likely that Imran Khan has invited them over to assist the Pakistani military in Balochistan. It does seem that China is foisting its assistance on Imran Khan without taking into consideration his own opinion on the matter.
The main takeaway of it all appears that China may be tinkering with the possibility of violating Pakistani sovereignty by entering their territory, whether they approve of it or not, using the ruse of ‘India sponsored terrorism’ as an excuse.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan does not appear to be in a position to take a strong stance against China and his country has a historical record of having their sovereignty violated by bigger powers it allies with. For instance, US Navy Seals entered Pakistani territory without informing local authorities to eliminate terrorist Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Pakistan could suffer a similar fate as Chinese armed forces could enter its territory against its will to eliminate terrorists in their soil, which would be a gross violation of their sovereignty. But all things considered, it might just end up being another insult Imran Khan will have to swallow ‘for the greater good’.