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From Détente to Entente

V.P. Dutt

By Anwar Hussain Syed
Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1974, 259, 60.00

VOLUME I NUMBER 1 January - March 1976

In 1963 Maulana Bhashani met Mao in Peking and Mao spoke to him about Pakistan, USA, USSR, and China. China's relationship with Pakistan was extre­mely fragile at the time, Mao said to Bhashani, and the United States, Russia and India would do their utmost to break this relationship. Mao said: ‘You are our friend and if at the present moment you continue your struggle against the Ayub Government, it will only strengthen the hand of Russia, America and India. It is against our principles to interfere with your work, but we would advise you to proceed slowly and carefully. Give us a chance to deepen our friendship with your Government.’ The Maulana agreed and kept his word for almost six years, says Syed in this study of the development of ·Sino-Pakistan relationship. During this time the relationship between China and Pakistan developed and deepened and turned from detente to entente. As Syed says, the Chinese leaders said or did nothing to support the popular movement against Ayub Khan during 1968-69 or again the conservative and feudal rulers of Pakistan. Indeed, it is Syed's thesis that China scrupulously kept out of Pakistan’s internal affairs and never made any effort to encourage any revolutionary or dissident activity. Anwar Hussain Syed writes from Pakistan's point of view and is often contemptuous of Indian writings on relations with or developments in Pakistan, but if one overlooks the pro-Islamabad trappings from his book, one will not find his thesis sharply different from that of Indian students of Chinese developments. Syed, who lives abroad (in Canada or USA), had the advantage of long and significant discussions with Pakistani leaders and diplomats and has also used a good many available English language materials. He traces the development of Sino-Pakistan relations from 1949 onwards. He notes the early decision of the Pakistani leaders to join the US military alliance, the consequent abrasiveness in relations with Peking and Peking's occassional criticism of Pakistani policies. However, he notices that the thrust of Chinese criticism was generally directed against the United States but that China exercised moderation in its criticism of Pakistan itself, and he largely accepts the ‘Indian view-point’ that Peking had at a very early stage gras­ped the potentialities of a situation of Indo-Pak con­flicts. He, however, gives it a slightly larger canvas and believes that Peking's opening towards Pakistan was directed equally against the United States ...

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