The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics

The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics

The China-Pakistan axis plays a central role in Asia's geopolitics, from India's rise to the prospects for a post-American Afghanistan, from the threat of nuclear terrorism to the continent's new map of mines, ports and pipelines. China is Pakistan's great economic hope and its most trusted military partner. Pakistan lies at the heart of China's geostrategic ambitions, from its take-off as a global naval power to its grand plans for a new silk road connecting the energy fields of the Middle East and the markets of Europe to the mega-cities of East Asia. Yet Pakistan is also the battleground for China's encounters with Islamic militancy, the country more than any other where China's rise has turned it into a target. 

For decades, each side has been the other's only "all-weather friend", but the relationship is still little understood. The wildest claims about it are widely believed, while many of its most dramatic developments remain closely-guarded secrets. This book explains the ramifications of Sino-Pakistani ties for the West, for India, for Afghanistan, and for Asia as a whole. It tells the stories behind some of the relationship's most sensitive aspects, including Beijing's support for Pakistan's nuclear program, China's dealings with the Taliban, and the Chinese military's planning for crises in Pakistan. From China's involvement in South Asia's wars to the Obama administration's efforts to secure Chinese cooperation in stabilizing the region, it traces the dilemmas Beijing increasingly faces between pursuing its strategic rivalry with India and the United States, and the imperative to address a terrorist threat that has become one of the gravest dangers to China's internal stability.



"A work of stupendous research, rich in fresh insights. Extremely well-written" -- A G Noorani, Frontline

"Outstanding new book... Small pulls [the history] together deftly and with meticulous sourcing. But he supplements it with extensive interviews, and these paint a richer picture of Chinese foreign policy in motion." Shashank Joshi, *The Interpreter *

"Small is right, in his very readable account, that despite the importance of this relationship, it is one that is rarely looked at in any great detail. This is one of the few, and by far the most lucid and helpful, on what the dynamics between these totally different odd bedfellows actually is ... This is an excellent, succinct book, and written with great verve ... on China-Pakistan relations, and its regional and global context, it is hard to think of a better possible treatment.' -- Kerry Brown, Asian Review of Books

"This fascinating book disentangles the relationship between one of the oddest couples in geopolitics ... Small's remarkably frank interviews with Beijing policymakers illustrate that China has been caught between the desire to draw on US power to control the growth of Islamism that might stretch into China's western Xinjiang province, and reluctance to allow Washington further influence in Asia" -- Rana Mitter, Prospect

"An authoritative study of [this] pivotal entente ... the book is a wealth of data on a previously under-researched subject ... The region's dual axes and their evolving relationships -- India and America on the one hand, and Pakistan and China on the other -- will be central to the global order in our times" -- Bruce Riedel, Lawfare / Brookings

"An excellent book." -- Anatol Lieven, New York Review of Books

"An impressive account of a little-understood friendship" -- The Economist

"This unique and timely work provides fresh insights into one of the most important and most neglected new developments in world affairs -- China's turn to south and west Asia. As the US pivots toward (East) Asia, Andrew Small shows us how China is moving beyond traditional concepts of Asia." -- Barnett Rubin, Senior Fellow and Director at the Center on International Cooperation, New York University

The China-Pakistan Axis explores one of the most resilient and paradoxical bilateral relations of the post colonial era -- a superb illustration of the manner in which international relations can be determined by power considerations. Pakistan and China have been 'all weather friends' for more than fifty years in spite of their ideological differences. Andrew Small shows that their rapprochement resulted mostly from a real politik assessment of their common enemy, India, but that non material variables are back in the picture today because of the islamist connection in the case of the Uighurs, for example. The strength of Small's work lies in its analysis of the fascinating scope and trajectory of the Beijing--Islamabad relationship." -- Christophe Jaffrelot, Research Director at CNRS, Sciences Po and author of The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience

"Andrew Small's remarkable book paints a vivid picture of twenty-first century geopolitics by uncovering one of the most important and under-explored relationships. A gripping narrative of how China's rise meets nukes, terrorists and the Taliban" -- Mark Leonard, Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and author of What Does China Think?

About the Author

Andrew Small has worked on Chinese foreign and economic policy issues in Beijing, Brussels, London, and now Washington, D.C. He is a transatlantic fellow with the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which he established in 2006. He previously worked as the director of the Foreign Policy Centre's Beijing office; as a visiting fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and was an ESU scholar in the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. His articles and papers have been published in outlets including the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and the Washington Quarterly. *He is the author of the new book: "The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics", published by Hurst / Oxford University Press. *

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