Friday, June 12, 2009

Will China play a more "direct" role in both the Pakistan and Afghanistan conflicts?

During the past two days, both Afghanistan (Here) and Pakistan (Here) are sending envoys to China to ask for China’s "direct" help in their fight against militant. The previous attempts to draw China into the conflicts by both NATO (Here) (Here) and US (Here) met with little success as China preferred to stay in the background and aid only in forms of financial and hardware support.

China’s previous rejection to joining the military coalition is understandable as others have noted; while China does not view NATO/US missions in Afghanistan with suspicion compare to other SOC state but allowing a military alliance to use China as a military supply route seem to undermine the Chinese Security-Umbrella that took 60 years and four wars to build. In addition, such an act violates China’s core foreign policy doctrine of noninterference in others internal affairs.

At the same time, the core Chinese military doctrine is changing with the release of the new “Outline of Military Training and Evaluation” which for the first time placed focus of Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) role for the PLA outside of China’s boarders and Anti-terror operation is considered part of the MOOTW. China is hosting the first “Non-traditional Security Forum of Armed Forces of ASEAN, China, Japan and ROK (Here), something unthinkable just few years ago. Maybe China is ready to move out of the “hide my capabilities and bide my time” phase to the “make some contributions” phase to be inline of what Hu coined the “harmonious world” (a.k.a, making the world safe for Confucianism) in his “Go Abroad” policy shift. (Here)

It is also noted that both the Pakistan and Afghanistan’s request is coordinated and without "US/NATO involvement" which makes the request a bit more politically acceptable in China and the statement by Rehman Malik "Pakistan has handed Chinese nationals accused of insurgent activity back to China and will continue to do so" is clearly aimed at audiences in China. Judging from China's Foreign Ministry Press Release (Here), China might be ready to take a more direct role.
China is ready to further expand and deepen our cooperation in various fields on the basis of mutual benefit so as to push forward our comprehensive partnership of cooperation"
Wait and see how "direct" is "direct".

PLA sets to boost support capability for MOOTW 2008-11-14

   When addressing the closing ceremony of the PLA intensive training of logistic support for military operations other than war (MOOTW), Liao Xilong, member of the Central Military Commission and director of the General Logistics Department of the PLA, noted that it is a must to bank on the national strength, base on the nuclear capability of the troops, integrate the three services, combine the army with the people, and make rational use of the support forces and resources for the purpose of offering vigorous logistic support to military operations other than war.

  Liao Xilong pointed out that it is required to sum up the experiences of performing logistic support tasks for military operations other than war in these years and on that basis, come up with practical and useful measures in the aspects of support scheme, logistic force, material reserve, logistic equipment and logistic training. It is also imperative to have a good command of the logistic support demands for executing the main patterns of military operations other than war such as anti-terrorism, maintaining social stability, disaster rescue and relief, emergency public health events, closing and control of the border, safeguarding the maritime rights, ensuring the security of maritime strategic channels and carrying out oversea military operations with the aim to enhance the pertinence and effectiveness of the work.

  Liao Xilong went on to stress that efforts should be made to keep firm hold of the main tasks of enhancing the capability of offering logistic support for military operations other than war, improve the logistic support planning system, have in store a moderate preservation of rescue material, build a contingent of professional rescue staff, develop rescue technologies and support equipment, improve the delivery system and enhance the auxiliary facilities for engineering security.

  By Zhao Jianwei and Fan Juwei

  (Nov 14, PLA Daily) Editor: Dong Zhaohui

Here is a follow up on Malik's visit

Pak to import anti-terror equipment from China
12 Jun 2009, 1845 hrs IST, PTI

BEIJING: Facing a tide of terrorist attacks, Pakistan has inked a key deal worth $300 million with China to import specialized mobile scanners
that can detect explosives from a distance.

"We have signed agreements worth $300 million to acquire state-of-the-art equipment to combat terrorism," Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said.

The first consignment of these most needed equipments, Malik said, would be reaching Pakistan within three weeks. China is one of the major suppliers of arms to Islamabad.

"We want to ensure that our law enforcing agencies are well equipped, so that they could thwart with full force militancy," Malik was quoted as saying by the state-run APP.

During talks with the Chinese leadership, Malik assured them that it was committed to defeat the evil forces of extremism, terrorism and separatism.

He said Pakistan would start employing these equipment in the metropolitan cities under threat of terrorism, like Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and then gradually cover the entire country.

Malik said that there was some "traces" of terrorist outfit of Xinjiang-based East Turkmenistan Independence Movement (ETIM) in Pakistan's FATA area.

The Pakistani minister was in Beijing from June 9-12 on an official visit where he met Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei on Thursday.


Anonymous said...

China and Pakistan have strong ties comprised of six decades. During this period they hardly faced any major difference. However, for the last one decade or so, terrorism has emerged a major issue between them with potential to slowing down their mutual relations.
This emerged in the wake of Pakistan’s support for Taliban in Afghanistan. After the US complete disregard for the region following Soviet withdrawal in 1989, Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas, became safe heaven for extremists and criminals. The members of East Turkistan Islamic Movement which China terms as separatist availed this opportunity and t established links with extremists in these areas and got training and refuges.
China conveyed its concerns to Pakistan at several occasions. In response, Pakistan adopted measures to break a link between its home-grown jihadi organizations and ETIM separatists. However, Chinese authorise were never fully satisfied by Pakistani measures though they did not convey their dissatisfaction publicly.
Irrespective of this fact, the issue did not affect Sino-Pakistan relations. Also because, link between the jihadis and ETIP were of small scale and had no government involvement in it.

The events of 9/11 profoundly changed the entire situation. A number of events pushed China and Pakistan to expand their cooperation against terrorism. The international community led by the US pushed Pakistan to control extremist groups on its territories. Pakistan was perturbed when these extremists groups started attacks on Chinese working in Pakistan. Moreover, China also availed benefits from the events to 9/11 to intensify its crackdown on the Uyghur separatists.
These events led China and Pakistan to launch cooperation against terrorism. Both counties have signed a number of agreements, have jointly conducted two anti-terror military drills one in China and other in Pakistan, have shared information, and more recently, China has agreed to provide military equipment to Pakistan to use in counter-terrorism.

After realizing the horrible repercussions of growing militancy with serious threats to Pakistan’s own existence, Pakistan has launched a full-scale operation against extremists. This would also benefit China in a number of ways. As you have mentioned, Pakistan has handed over a number of Uyghur captured in its tribal areas to China and has expressed resolve to do so in the future.
Keeping in view the trend of events, it is confidently stated that China would further increased its role in these two countries especially in Pakistan in its fight against terrorism.
The success of this war would benefit, Pakistan and China, individually as well as their mutual relations on the one hand and to this region and world at the large on the other.

Finally a greater Chinese role is also certain in this region since, the US has reached to the point of exhaustion and has requested China to come forward.

Ghulam ALI

Coatepeque said...

Thank you Sir for the good write up, but the question remind; will China send "advisers" and other training/support personnel to Pakistan? or is this not part of the request (package)

Anonymous said...

China will not be a great contributor. However, there is a possibility that Chinese will send pilots, flying PAF Q5s or even FC-1s for ground attack/close air support missions.

Sending in ground troops trained for conventional warfare makes little sense to Beijing and will draw unwelcome attn from India. PAP mobile divisions are better trained and therefore suitable for this kinda missions but chance is also low. As a result of one-child policy and 20 years of peace, Beijing is no longer willing to spill blood for others, aside from small scale UN missions.

PLAAF on the other hand, is gradually phasing out older generations of fighter/attackers. Capabler aircraft requires less but well trained pilots. This is an opportunity for PLAAF to temporarily relocate its manpower, and Pakistan is an ideal training ground for younger/tech savvy pilots and new equipments.

of course I am speaking for any one but myself.

Coatepeque said...

I do see that happening, but it will require a major break from China's doctrine. A PLAAF foreign deployment will allow PLA fly boys to gain some real-life experience from Asian's most combat tested AF.

China did conducted a joint anti-terror ex with Pakistan few years back as I recall.