The Russia, China and Pakistan superpower triangle is becoming a reality. Moscow has just announced it will hold trilateral Russian-Chinese-Pakistani talks next month.
As theories around the Russia, China and Pakistan superpower triangle continue to build up, Moscow has just expressed its interest in strengthening ties with Islamabad and Beijing. The agenda of next month’s talks will be establishing a wider regional partnership on Afghanistan.
Zamir Kabulov, Russian Foreign Ministry’s director of the Second Asian Department, announced on Monday that the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani consultations will be held in Moscow in December.
“We are discussing this with the Chinese, the Iranians, Indians, Pakistanis. There is work on specifics,” Kabulov said, adding that it’s in the regional nations’ “natural” interests to guard themselves from terrorist threats in the region.
China, Russia and Pakistan form a powerful nuclear force
The news comes amid rising war tensions between India and Pakistan. Although Russia remains India’s key weapons supplier, there is a number of reasons why the Russia, China and Pakistan superpower triangle is becoming a reality.
Russia has been actively strengthening its military, economic and diplomatic ties with both China and Pakistan. Even though Pakistan is Russia’s Cold War rival, Moscow is understandably keen on forming an alliance with Islamabad and Beijing. China and Pakistan have been traditional allies for decades. Beijing has always provided its military and diplomatic support to Islamabad against its historical enemy, India.
Forming the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani superpower triangle would not only allow them to impose efficient measures to counter the spread of terrorism and radicalism in the region but also stand up to America’s growing influence in the region. In fact, given that Russia, China and Pakistan are all nuclear powers, their alliance also makes them an intimidating nuclear force to be reckoned with.
Russia, China and Pakistan have about 7,620 nuclear warheads (according to the official figures provided by the SIPRI) combined. That’s a serious advantage in a potential military confrontation against any enemy of such a superpower triangle, whether it’s India or the United States.
Is Russia abandoning its ally India for Pakistan?
Interestingly, Russia announced the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani talks a few days after India, Pakistan’s traditional nemesis, signed a historical nuclear deal with Japan. In fact, it was the first-ever nuclear deal signed by Japan, which is the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, with a non-NPT nation.
India, like Pakistan, never signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Seeing that India is strengthening ties with its regional allies, Russia and China decided to ramp up their support for Pakistan. The Russian-Chinese-Pakistani talks in December will mark yet another indication of Russia and China’s growing interest toward Pakistan.
Last month, Russia and China backed Pakistan’s position against India during the BRICS summit. Despite the fact that Pakistanis were absent at the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping rejected the India-sponsored resolution to declare Islamabad a “terrorist state.” It then became apparent that Russia hasn’t ruled out the possibility of abandoning ties with its key weapons importer, India, for the sake of the China, Russia and Pakistan new superpower triangle.
Superpower triangle: Russia and China step up cooperation with Pakistan
Both Russia and China have stepped up their diplomatic efforts to prevent New Delhi from isolating Pakistan and making it a pariah state.
A few months ago, China blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. Shortly afterwards, Russia held its surprise joint military drills with Pakistan. In fact, the military exercises took place just weeks after India’s tensions with Pakistan reached its new peak, which certainly sent a message to New Delhi.
India is being careful not to scare away the Russians. New Delhi has yet to finalize a few major arms deals with Moscow. The purchase of those weapons would allow India to gain an advantage in a potential war against Pakistan. India and Russia are currently negotiating the purchase of S-400 anti-aircraft weapon systems, stealth frigates and a second nuclear submarine from Moscow.
However, Russia has been making military deals with Pakistan too. Although it was reported on Tuesday that Russia turned down Pakistan’s request to sell the advanced Su-35 fighter jet, the two countries still made quite a few crucial military deals. Last year, Islamabad purchased four Mi-35 helicopter gunships from Moscow. Meanwhile high-ranking Pakistani army officials have increased the frequency of their visits to Russia, which suggests the two nations are looking to ramp up their military cooperation.
Pakistan is the world’s seventh-largest importer of defense equipment, which is a huge factor for Russia when it comes to picking allies in Asia.
Donald Trump’s America vs. China-Russia-Pakistan superpower triangle
Pakistan finally realized that all the financial support that has come from the U.S. in past years only prevented the nuclear-powered country from becoming financially independent. Most Pakistanis believe that both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have played major roles in spreading sectarianism and terrorism in the country.
It’s also unclear how the U.S. will treat Pakistan now that Donald Trump has been elected to be the next President. But given their past grievances, it’s likely that Pakistan aspires to be part of the superpower triangle with China and Russia.
In fact, both China and Russia seem to be more reliable towards Pakistan compared to the U.S. While Washington has weakened its diplomatic support to Islamabad, Beijing and Moscow seem to be eager to continue defending Pakistanis on the diplomatic sphere.
Pakistan is on the winning side; India, not so much
China has repeatedly pledged to help Pakistan in case of any foreign aggression. It also adds to the fact that China supplies Pakistan with more weapons than any other country in the world. For Russia, meanwhile, Pakistan is a potentially lucrative buyer of its advanced weapons.
Aside from strengthening military and diplomatic ties with Islamabad, Beijing is also actively building nuclear reactors in Pakistan. So basically, the superpower triangle between China, Russia and Pakistan can become an intimidating force in the region.
While India is stronger than Islamabad in terms of army power, Pakistan has more nuclear weapons than its historical enemy. In the modern world, having a more powerful nuclear arsenal is the ultimate way of winning any war.
India also loses in terms of its geopolitical support from other nations. While India seems to have the support from Japan, it can’t fully rely on the U.S. It remains a mystery to what extent Donald Trump will be willing to help India in case of any military confrontation. In fact, it’s unclear if India is even going to get any kind of support from Trump at all. So Pakistan and its new superpower friends – Russia and China – appear to be on the winning side.