Will Italy soon stop serving Beijing?

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)
07/10/22

Undersecretary of Defense Pucciarelli renewed Italy's closeness and support to the Pakistani people affected by the recent floods, and also wished to express “Great satisfaction for the excellent collaboration relationships in the field of defense materials, which constitute a precious added value in the consolidation of the already excellent bilateral relations between the respective sectors”.

"In this sense" - he continued - “I assure the national willingness to evaluate, in particular, further programs of transfer of material no longer in use by the Italian defense". 

Thanks to the Pakistani secretary Humayun Aziz, thanks for the open and constructive posture with which Italy carries out this bilateral relationship, also confirmed in today's meeting, underlining how: “Italy proves to be a strategic and reliable industrial partner, with many reality of its national defense industry already involved in fundamental projects for our military growth and to improve our production capacities". 

These institutional courtesies are the product of the recent meeting, which took place in Rome last October 3 at the CUFA (Officers Club of the Armed Forces), attended by the Undersecretary of Defense, Stefania Pucciarelli, delegated by the Minister of Defense Guerini, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense for Pakistani production lt. general Humayun Aziz, visiting the capital to attend the XIV Joint Committee Meeting on Defense Systems between Pakistan and Italy. 

During the meeting, the point was made on the advanced level of cooperation reached between the two nations in the industrial sector and defense equipment. This result was also achieved thanks to the structured dialogue between the respective staff established with the Bilateral Committee between the Italian Defense (represented by the National Armaments Director and Secretary General of Defense - DNA / SGD) and the Pakistani one, represented by the MoDP secretary. 

This structured axis seems to us not very strategic for the Italian system. Islamabad is the largest buyer of Chinese arms, we could say that the Pakistanis have formed a strong economic-military alliance with Beijing, cemented by the concession to the Chinese of the port of Gwadar, in the Balochistan region, for the construction of the Belt and Road maritime. Thanks to this port, the Chinese would have direct access to the Arabian Sea and therefore to the Indian Ocean, avoiding the control of the United States in the Strait of Malacca.

Il China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides for the construction of roads, railways, oil and gas pipelines that depart from China, cross Pakistan and reach the sea, aiming to commercially connect China with Europe, Asia and Africa. However, it seems that the inhabitants of Balochistan see no economic benefits for their land and have begun to rebel against the project.

Baluchistan is of fundamental importance, without it Pakistan would not exist. It occupies about 45% of the national territory and owns a large part of natural gas and minerals.

China, in the near future, would like to use Pakistan as a land route for its energy needs, this would allow Beijing to bypass the Strait of Malacca which, as previously written, is controlled by the US Navy's XNUMXth Fleet.

It would not be excluded that one of the AW-139 helicopters, purchased by both the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani Air Force, had already ended up in China to be studied and replicated on site.

The crisis between China and the United States in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean will soon reach a point of no return. Therefore, alignments will be formed: on the one hand the USA, supported by the UK, From South Korea, From 'Australia, from Japan and by 'India (as well as obviously from Taiwan); on the other the China, with Russia (perhaps), North Korea e Pakistan as allies.

Italy could certainly not play a role, even a marginal one, in this context (we have neither military nor political capabilities), we are a small country with very few resources.

What we can do is to do not continue to forge alliances with a nation controlled politically by the Chinese, which would use the port of Gwadar as a base for conducting attacks in the Indian Ocean. Instead, it would be better to start establishing an alliance with the Indians, an emerging regional power and, in the medium term, globally, both in the military and economic fields.

The times of the Cold War in which we could talk to both Israel and the PLO at the same time are over, the next government will have to give a precise direction to our foreign policy, if we don't want to find ourselves having to suffer the choices of others once again.

Photo: Ministry of Defense / MoD People's Republic of China

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