In its annual report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments involving the People’s Republic of China 2020” the US Department of Defence stated that Pakistan is among the countries that have been chosen by the Beijing for “military logistics facilities.”
According to the report, the PRC is seeking to establish a robust overseas logistics and basing infrastructure to allow the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to sustain and project military powers in greater distances.
The report added, “Beyond its current base in Djibouti, the PRC is very likely already considering and planning for additional overseas military logistics facilities to support naval, air and ground forces. The PRC has likely considered locations for PLA military logistics facilities in Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola and Tajikistan.”
The One belt, One Road (OBOR) project of China in Pakistan that deals with pipelines and port construction is also intended to decrease Beijing’s reliance on transporting energy resources. This is via the strategic chokepoints like the Strait of Malacca. The report states that in support of its national strategy, the PRC is pursuing a range of goals using the OBOR. This includes strengthening its territorial integrity, increasing its energy security, and expanding its international influence.
“Given the Party views the PRC’s security and development interests as complementary, the PRC leverages OBOR to invest in projects along China’s western and southern periphery to improve stability and diminish threats along its borders. Similarly, OBOR projects associated with pipelines and port construction in Pakistan intend to decrease China’s reliance on transporting energy resources through strategic chokepoints, such as the Strait of Malacca,” the department said.
The Pentagon even noted that China’s Strategic Support Force (SSF) runs telemetry, command, and tracking stations in Argentina, Namibia, and Pakistan as well. Furthermore, with regards to its bilateral and multilateral engagement, China has good connections with foreign militaries which includes ASEAN nations, Pakistan, Russia, etc. This additionally will improve the PLA’s ability to actually organise and manage combined operations that integrate foreign forces.
The report adds that the PRC uses various multilateral forums and international organisations to generate new opportunities to expand its influence, promote strategic messaging which portray it as a responsible global actor, strengthen its political influence, advance its development interests and also limit outside interference.
“Towards these ends, the PRC has embraced multilateral organizations such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as forums and initiatives such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, the “17+1″ initiative between China and 17 Central and Eastern European countries, and the Belt and Road Forum,” the report read.