“Ally is a technical word.”

–Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, 1963.

The quote above was about China, and Bhutto, Foreign Minister at the time, said that Pakistan did not need to enter into military collaboration with China to obtain Peking’s support on the Kashmir issue. This was a good thing- a confidence that China could be relied on, without having to bind them with a treaty. This created uncertainty in the minds of Indian leaders about how far China would go to support Pakistan. Pakistan’s position at the time helped it to keep the US in its corner, using the threat of closer involvement with China if the US did not support it in the region. However, China still maintained neutrality on the Kashmir issue as it does today. Chinese support is a major boon to Pakistan, however, the benefits have evolved to be only economic, China will probably not help in any conflict resolution. China has its own border disputes, with India and Taiwan for example, so it cannot help dangerous precedents be set. Thus, the country that has championed rights to self determination since World War 1, the US, might be the one to sort out the Kashmir problem, if it can ever gather the will to do so.