Pak-China defence partnership: Addressing emerging threats

by Dr. Abida Rafiq
THE defence partnership between Pakistan and China has emerged as a vital component of both nations’ security strategies. With a longstanding friendship and a shared interest in regional stability, Pakistan and China have deepened their collaboration to effectively address emerging threats. This article explores the significance of the Pakistan-China defence partnership in countering evolving security challenges and enhancing the national security of both countries. Pakistan and China have long-standing and close defence ties. Over the years, both countries have collaborated extensively in various areas of defence cooperation, including military training, joint exercises, defence equipment sales and technology transfer. The strategic partnership between Pakistan and China dates back to the early 1950s and has evolved into a multi-faceted relationship, with defence cooperation being a key component. Both countries share a common interest in countering regional security challenges and have often cited mutual trust and understanding as the foundation of their defence collaboration. China has been a major supplier of defence equipment to Pakistan, including aircraft, naval vessels, missiles and other military hardware. Additionally, China has assisted Pakistan in developing its indigenous defence capabilities by providing technology transfers and joint production ventures. China has been a major supplier of military hardware to Pakistan. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) operates several Chinese-origin aircraft, such as the JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, which are jointly produced by both countries. Additionally, Pakistan Navy has benefited from Chinese-built submarines, frigates and patrol vessels, bolstering its maritime capabilities. Pakistan and China have collaborated on defence industry projects, leading to the co-production of military equipment. Notably, the Kamra Aviation City Complex in Pakistan serves as a hub for joint production and maintenance of aircraft, including the JF-17 Thunder. This collaboration enhances Pakistan’s indigenous defence manufacturing capabilities and reduces its dependence on external sources. Furthermore, Pakistan and China regularly conduct joint military exercises, aimed at improving interoperability and sharing best practices. These exercises involve the army, navy and air force of both countries and serve to enhance coordination and cooperation between their respective defence forces. China has played a crucial role in training and capacity building of Pakistani military personnel. Chinese institutes, such as the National Defence University in Beijing, provide specialized training programs for Pakistani officers. These programs cover a wide range of areas, including military strategy, technology and counterterrorism. Such training enhances Pakistan’s military readiness and fosters professional development. In recent years, there have been efforts to further enhance defence ties between Pakistan and China. These efforts include the signing of agreements to deepen defence industrial cooperation and promote joint research and development in defence technology. China’s investment in Pakistan’s infrastructure development, particularly through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has indirect implications for defence. By boosting Pakistan’s economy, CPEC indirectly contributes to its defence capabilities. Moreover, defence expenditure in Pakistan has consistently accounted for a significant portion of its budget, reflecting the importance placed on national security. Pakistan’s deepening defence relationship with China can indeed be seen as a measure to help Pakistan address emerging threats. The longstanding friendship between Pakistan and China has been characterized by close cooperation in various fields, including defence and security. This partnership has provided Pakistan with valuable military and technological support over the years. Enhancing defence relations with China can help Pakistan in several ways as China has been a major supplier of military hardware to Pakistan, including aircraft, naval vessels and missiles. This collaboration helps strengthen Pakistan’s defence capabilities and modernize its defence forces. Also China provides training opportunities to Pakistani military personnel, allowing them to acquire advanced skills and knowledge. This helps Pakistan enhance its military readiness and operational capabilities. Furthermore, Defence collaboration often involves intelligence sharing which can assist Pakistan in dealing with emerging threats. China’s expertise and information can contribute to Pakistan’s situational awareness and counterterrorism efforts. For regional dynamics, China’s support can bolster Pakistan’s position in the region and provide diplomatic backing in international forums. This can help Pakistan address emerging challenges by enhancing its geopolitical influence. The defence partnership between Pakistan and China extends to joint research and development in defence technologies. Cooperation in areas such as missile technology, aerospace engineering and naval systems fosters innovation and allows both countries to stay ahead of emerging threats. By pooling resources and sharing technological expertise, Pakistan and China can collectively develop advanced defence capabilities that enhance their overall security. The Pakistan-China defence partnership holds significant implications for regional security dynamics. It has helped Pakistan in countering potential threats from neighboring countries and addressing regional challenges. The cooperation between the two nations has also been viewed as a response to the growing strategic influence of other powers in the region, further solidifying their mutual security interests. While Pakistan’s alliance with China offers certain advantages, it’s essential for Pakistan to maintain a balanced approach to its defence relations and consider a comprehensive national security strategy that encompasses diverse partnerships and cooperation. The Pakistan-China defence partnership plays a vital role in addressing emerging threats and bolstering national security for both nations. Through the exchange of military equipment, training, intelligence sharing and strategic alignment, Pakistan enhances its defence capabilities, readiness and ability to counter evolving security challenges effectively. Additionally, the partnership contributes to Pakistan’s geopolitical influence and regional stability. As both countries continue to collaborate in defence and security, their collective efforts will shape the future landscape of security cooperation in the region. —The writer is research officer, CISS, AJK. Email:

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Stay Connected

Follow and subscribe

Contact CISS AJK

Center for International Strategic Studies AJK, King Abdullah Campus Chatter kalas Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir