Two of the most popular misconceptions among Indian defense planners are that a) China is allied with Pakistan in order to contain India and b) China needs a proxy in Pakistan to advance her interests in the region. On the contrary, India does feel a strategic threat from Chinese control over the so-called "Tibetan balcony", but one which is not intentional at all from the PRC standpoint. China has no need to contain India, as India poses no strategic threat to China. Most major Chinese industrial and population centers, after all, are thousands of kms away from the Sino-Indian border and also separated by the Tibetan plateau. Any attempt by India to wrest the "Tibetan balcony" from Chinese control would likewise be difficult, as, in wartime, the Indians would be pushing some of the steepest mountains in the world against an entrenched enemy, and in peacetime, long-term demographics on the Tibetan plateau favor continued integration of the region into China proper. Hence, the plateau is secure, and ergo, any threat by India on the Chinese core is for all intents and purposes zero. Nor does China needs Pakistan to do anything to advance Chinese interests--all China needs from Pakistan is to make room for a pipeline. China's interests in South Asia are limited to open sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, necessary to preserve energy imports from the Persian Gulf; China would like a pipeline to run from Gwadar to the Sino-Pakistani border. That's it--but, again, it's not essential, as China can simply link a pipeline from Iran to friendly client states in Central Asia (who already have their pipelines linked to China via Xinjiang). Hence, notions of a strategic rivalry between the two powers puzzle most Beijing planners, as to them, India is not a threat, and never will be one. Chinese command of the Tibetan "balcony" gives it the ability to use conventional precision strikes that disable large quantities of India's military and civilian infrastructure without giving India the ability to hit back absent nuclear weapons. China's energy deals in Central Asia make Indian interdiction in the Indian Ocean pointless. Ergo China doesn't need Pakistan, necessarily, to get what it wants in South Asia. So what does it retain Pakistan for? The simple answer is that Pakistan is China's window on the Muslim world. Much like Saudi Arabia is America's window, and Syria is Russia's window, Pakistan is there to serve as a conduit for Chinese influence into the Middle East and North Africa. And that's it. It is precisely because China demands so little of Pakistan that China can be seen as Pakistan's "all-weather" friend. China can afford to be Pakistan's friend because there are no strings attached to the relationship. Unfortunately, Indian planners still assume China needs Pakistan due to its South Asian ambitions.