Amid increasing nexus between Islamabad and Beijing, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Tuesday said Pakistan has become a pawn in the Chinese policy and its military dependence on China would increase further in view of the debt trap due to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
China has invested billions of dollars in the CPEC as loans to Islamabad and the already debt-ridden Pakistani administration would be under a lot of financial stress to repay even the interest as per the current fiscal situation there.
IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria was addressing a webinar on 'National Security Challenges and Air Power'organised by Vivekanand International Foundation. He said, "Pakistan has increasingly become a pawn in Chinese policy, under an increasing CPEC related debt trap there will be further military dependencies in future."
Bhadauria said the evolving uncertainties and instability at the global geopolitical front has provided China with an opportunity to demonstrate its growing power and indirectly it has also brought to fore the inadequate contribution of major powers to global security.
The Air Chief said any serious India-China conflict is not good for China on the global front. If Chinese aspirations are global then it does not suit their grand plan. "What could be possible Chinese objectives for their action in the north? It is important that we recognise what they have really achieved," he added.
Further elaborating his point on the nexus and its possible resultant impact in the region, the Air Chief Marshal said, "American exit from Afghanistan has opened increased options for China in the region both directly and through Pakistan."
After remaining in Afghanistan for almost two decades, American forces are scheduled to be withdrawn from there soon which is likely to leave the field open for other players to slip in the turbulent region strategically located as the gateway to and from the central Asian republics.
Pakistan and China have grown close military ties as the entire Pakistani missile programme has been fully supported by the Chinese.
The Pakistanis are also increasingly becoming dependent on the Chinese for their military hardware requirements including fighter jets, submarines and armoured vehicles.
All the major investments in Pakistan have also been done by the Chinese including the areas of Gilgit Baltistan and parts of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan.
On the use of small drones in warfare, Bhadauria said, "the low-cost and easy availability of simple disruptive technologies such as drones with small state and non-state actors have made them more lethal, agile and capable of generating disproportionate effects."
In recent times, there have been conflicts such as the one between Azerbaijan and Armenia where the use of drones tilted the outcome of the war.