PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
Xinjiang province is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2. It bordersRussia,Mongolia,Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan,Afghanistan,PakistanandIndia. It has abundant oil reserves and isChina’s largest natural gas-producing region. Xinjiang is situated in the border area of northwestChinaand occupies an area of 1.6649 million sq km, accounting for one sixth of Chinese territory. It has a land border of 5,600 km bounded by eight countries. This province is considered one ofChina’s five autonomous regions for ethnic minorities. Its population is more than 19.25 million. Other than the Uighurs, the vast majority of whom is Muslim, there are 47 ethnic groups in Xinjiang including the Hans. Because of its Muslim majority the Xinjiang province has always been a target of all anti-Islamic forces of whichIndiais no doubt the leading actor. It is because of the Muslim majority in this area that the western media in collaboration with the Indian think tanks has been yelling at the so-called flourishing Islamic extremism in Xinjiang for the last many years.
IndiaandChinaare having a very unfriendly type of relationship since very beginning. The nature of this relationship became more hostile somewhere in 1950s when the People’s Republic ofChinastarted construction of a 1,200 km long road which connected Xinjiang and westernTibet. 179 kilometers of this road ran to the south of the Johnson Line through the Aksai Chin region which was claimed byIndia. Unluckily the Indians could not learn of the construction of this road until the road was shown in Chinese maps published in 1958. The construction of this road gave birth to a series of never-ending mistrust and suspicions betweenIndiaandChina. Since thenIndiais always busy in creating disturbance and disorder in the Xinjiang region. The terrorists’ attack on the police station ofXinjiangProvincein July was also one of such childish efforts through whichIndiatried to kill two birds with one stone. This attack not only took the lives of innocent Chinese people but also tried to generate an air of disbelief between Pakistan and China.
There have been reports that the agents of Raw have tried many times to invade Xinjiang in the guise of Islamic extremists. The RAW has provided them fake Pakistani identities. These agents are directed to create law and order disturbance in the peacefullandofXinjiang. Most of these agents are the Hindus by creed but they are so well trained that it would be very much difficult to recognize their actual identity. According to the details some of these agents intentionally surrender them before the security forces ofChinaafter being involved in some act of terrorism. The only purpose behind is to give the Chinese government an impression thatPakistanis trying to promote religious extremism in Xinjiang.
Pak-China friendship is not as fragile as misunderstood byIndia. The two countries have a very long history of cordial relations. The whole of the Chinese nation is thankful to the people ofPakistanfor their precious support on issues concerningChina’s sovereignty, such asTaiwan, andTibet. The Chinese leadership has always acknowledged the significant role ofPakistanin the early 1970s, which enabledChinato break its isolation from the West and theUS.Pakistanalso helpedChinabecome a member for the United Nations.Pakistanhas always played an effective role in bringing the Muslim world closer toChina. On the other handChinahas always proved itself a very strong support toPakistanthrough every time of trial and tribulation. The people ofPakistancan never forget the role ofChinaduring Pakistan-Indian tensions in 2008.That was the time when the Chinese leaders very openly promised unlimited financial and military aid toPakistan. It is something next to impossible for anyone to create any type of misunderstanding and confusion between the two countries with the help of baseless propaganda. With the increasing influence and interference ofUSAin the region and after the rapidly growing US-India closeness,Chinais supposed to play a very important role in the south Asian region. The importance of Pak-China friendship can neither be denied nor minimized.Chinais the only force which can guarantee the balance of power as well as peace and prosperity in the region. The people ofPakistanare very well aware of the fact that by joining hands with theUSA;Pakistanhas faced very serious type of losses. It is the most urgent, logical and rational requirement of time thatPakistanmust say good-bye toUSAand strengthen its ties withChina. In the presence of time-tested friends one must not waste ones time in running after new relations, based on nothing but temporary gains and achievements.
The writer is a Pakistan based analyst on defence and strategic affairs.