The Pakistan Factor in the India-China Standoff
Even though the extent of China’s moves along the border remain fuzzy, it’s clear that Beijing is putting heavy military pressure on India and its territorial claims. For Islamabad, seen from the zero-sum perspective that often frames India-Pakistan relations, this is an unequivocally good thing.
For now, it’s easy for Islamabad to be smug about its great friend pinning down its great enemy high up in the Himalayas. It can revel in the bad optics for India; the boost to Pakistani foreign policy goals; and the opportunity to highlight Indian policies in Kashmir that it disdains.
And yet, the India-China standoff is not a case of everything coming up roses for Pakistan. On the contrary: It undercuts Pakistan’s public messaging about India, and it furthers New Delhi’s relationship with Washington.
And the jury is still out on what the outcome of the crisis will mean for Pakistan.
Michael Kugelman is senior associate for South Asia and deputy director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center.