Balancing Act: Pakistan's Strategic Navigation of Increasing Reliance on China

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Muhammad Naveed Ul Hasan Shah
Ataka Zahra
Zarar Bin Saleem


The shifting dynamics of Pakistan’s strategic partnership with China provide a fitting story of diplomacy and international interdependence which could be epitomized in the Pakistan’s official approach known as the ‘Balancing Act’. The development of diplomatic and operational ties with the outside world is key to the understanding and development of Pakistan and therefore as the tangle of these geometries intensify the role that China plays in Pakistan increases in proportions. This paper aims at examining Pakistan’s ability to develop a stronger strategic relationship with China as well as maintain its conventional relations with other states of the world to strike a balance in its diplomacy. Evidently, Pakistan’s main strategy is its socioeconomic reliance on China, which has been exemplified by the CPEC. This multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project improves the connectivity of Pakistan and entangles it further into China’s economic parameter. Nevertheless, during these economic reforms, there are several issues which complicate Pakistan’s positions of strategic independence and state sovereignty, including increasing tensions in South Asia and other parts of the world. Also, Pakistan’s relations with China are not only limited to cooperation in the commercial field but include a strong military cooperation, includes mutual exercise of forces and arms deal. The deployment of these forces is in defense of the country’s interests and also ensures that it is on the same side of the fence as China in the region. However, as Pakistan is aligning itself more and more with China, issues related with the repercussions on other allies and regional countries such as the United States as well as other regional and world powers are apparent, hence, illustrating the concept of the “Balancing Act” that is far from being achieved yet in case of Pakistan’s foreign policy strategy.

Keywords: Pakistan's Strategic Navigation, China’s Influence, CPEC, Balancing Act

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