Defence & Diplomacy
This is an era of challenges and opportunities that can only be handled by highly competent and confident leadership where dependence on the US and her allies is reduced significantly to realistic levels and more self reliance is resorted to.
Pakistan and Regional Cooperation
By Raja G Mujtaba
Pakistan is fortunate enough to be located where it is that’s strategic and full of potential for Pakistan’s that can Pakistan a jump start as a regional or a global player but not merely by lip service or the caliber of the leadership that we have. The present leadership being inept and visionless has turned it into a quagmire for Pakistan. It’s never too late provided the people can put in place a more determined, visionary and honest leadership in place. This is an era of challenges and opportunities that can only be handled by highly competent and confident leadership where dependence on the US and her allies is reduced significantly to realistic levels and more self reliance is resorted to. It would also mean greater cooperation amongst the regional countries like China, Iran and Turkey. Off course in this new assessment of our foreign policy, the role of Russia and Central Asia would be equally important.
If we study the emerging pattern, new groupings are taking place, new partners are being found and so are the new enemies. It’s no secret that the US has turned into a Zionist power dogmatically opposite to the vision of her founding fathers, has allied the NATO members in her quest for wars against Muslim countries. As Commander William Guy Carr in his prophetic book Pawns in the Game said that the third world war would be against Islam and he mentioned no 4th world war, thereby meaning that this would be the last round that would destroy the world to such an extent that it would be centuries before the powers to be would be in any position to wage a war of any sort. Now in the emerging scenario, Zionist Israel and Hindu India are the instigators whereas the US and her allies have become puppets or tools in their hands. After having milked Soviet Union, now India has is milking the US based on China bogey. India being clever and cunning enough would never dare to fight China but would push forward the US into this fire if there is any war.
As Akram Zaki said, “Pakistan falls in three regions, namely South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia.” Historically Pakistan has been on the ancient trade routes that now again are gaining importance. Pakistan has thousands of years of attachment with Iran, in the times of the Mughal empire, Persian was the court language, Iran was the first country to accord recognition to Pakistan, it stood to our great help in our 1965 and 1971 wars against India therefore the friendship of Iran is also proven. There are certain elements who either out of ignorance or design fanning some sort of discords but that should be checked with a iron hand in both the countries. In today’s scenario, both Iran and Pakistan have become each other’s need to fight a common enemy, develop common strategies for our economic development that should be supported by free trade, students exchange programs, development and integration of infrastructure to enhance travel and communications etc. Here a rail link needs to be expanded and exploited to it’s full potential. If this rail link is extended to China via Gawadar, it would provide an alternate and safe trade route for Iran in case its attacked by the US or Israel.
Gawadar has the potential to become the world’s biggest oil and gas trading hub. Pipelines from central Asia and Iran can be brought in here for onward transportation to the world. For doing so, an agreement with China must be signed and given a fair share to involve her interests in this project that would by default also ensure the defence of Pakistan against any foreign aggression. Not only that Pakistan should sign a few bilateral and trilateral agreements with China and Iran, these agreements should include defence, civil aviation, communications, trade and commerce, education and science and technology etc. The tariff structure should be people friendly, this would go a long way to boost a longer lasting bonds and provide desired base for the strength and development of the region.
Working through Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), here Central Asia must also be fully integrated into this development process. Like Iran, Pakistan also has historical linkages with Central Asia. According to late Professor Dani, over 65 percent of Pakistan’s population has its roots in Central Asia, what happened in 1947 was the move back of the same population from India to Pakistan that now claim and mislead the people by their grafted linkages with India.
ECO has a population of over 440 million much more than that of the US and landmass almost to the same size as that of the US but with all the resources that this region needs for its development and economic integration like that of the European Union. As a first step, we should develop a common currency but till its modalities are worked out, the local currencies should be given a free legal status where the traders can exchange goods through their local currencies or barter.
Today sensing that Central Asia has untapped resources more so the hydrocarbons to satisfy the ever growing appetite of the West there are contingencies being worked out by the US to capture it in a dramatic way, this can only be averted if ECO along with China and Russia play its effective and coordinated role.
To check the US sponsored Indian hegemony in the region, its imperative to give China a permanent membership in SAARC. If Afghanistan could be included why not China that shares a common border with many of the SAARC member states.
The weekly TV talk show ‘Defence and Diplomacy’ hosted by S M Hali on Thursday, 21st July where the panelists were Mr Akram Zaki, a career diplomat and Raja Mujtaba a defence analyst participated in a lively debate clippings of which are attached below.