Pakistani-Chinese Relations: An Historical Analysis of the Role of China in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

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Mavra Farooq


The purpose of this essay is to bring into focus the cordial relations that existed between Pakistan and China during the Bhutto Era from 1969 to 1977, and to highlight the role of China during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. Both countries had different ideologies and backgrounds. Relations between the two countries developed on the basis of national interest rather than ideology. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto writes: States deal with states, as such, and not with their social systems or ideologies. If such an argument was carried to its logical conclusion, Pakistan should have friendly relations only with Muslim states and should isolates itself from the rest of the world. It is a historical fact that Islam, as a political force, has suffered more at the hands of Christian states than of others... It is unlikely that China is going to be responsible for the fall of Granada or Pakistan or for wrestling of Jerusalem from the Muslim States. Our reactions are based on the Bandung principles and on the adherence to the concept of non-interference. Nowhere is it mentioned in the scriptures of Islam that fostering friendship with non-Islamic states involves a compromise of identity.1. This research article undertakes a historical, analytical and documented study of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's foreign relations and politics with China with the goal of explaining how and why Pakistan had friendly and cordial relations with China. The main question is if both countries have different ideologies why are they so close to each other? In international relations, there is neither a permanent friend nor enemy; interests are preferred.   1  Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, The Myth of Independence, (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1969,) Pp. 132-133         

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Mavra Farooq

Mavra Farooq is an assistant professor at Forman Christian College in Lahore. She earned an MA from Government College in Lahore and an MPhil from University of the Punjab. Currently, Mavra is pursuing a PhD at Government College and the University of Southampton.