Home Russia & China China India: The ‘troublemaker’ in South Asia – Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

India: The ‘troublemaker’ in South Asia – Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

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Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal |

President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as its flagship project, have connected Pakistan with China and the Central Asian States. Pakistan is emerging as a hub of economic connectivity among the South Asian, West Asian and Central Asian States. Therefore, many nations are contemplating to establish economic relations with Pakistan and invest in CPEC projects.

The government of Pakistan announced to establish nine special economic zones as part of CPEC. Indeed, these zones will be the ‘engines of growth’. The government is struggling to attract foreign direct investment in these zones. On November 13, 2018, Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said: “Connectivity is the name of the game of the century – every country wants to increase connectivity and Pakistan too is desirable of this.

Pakistan is emerging as a hub of economic connectivity among the South Asian, West Asian and Central Asian States.

After all, connectivity and mobility facilitate prosperity and well-being of the region.”
The Central Asian leadership had acknowledged the geo-economic significance of Pakistan. The President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon opined that: “Trade and economic opportunities of Pakistan, its geo-strategic position and influence in South Asia and in the Islamic world are of great importance for Tajikistan.”

H.E. Mr. Furqat Sidiqov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan pointed out that his country is interested to use Pakistan’s seaports for trade. Hence, CPEC will connect the landlocked Central Asia States with sea and create economic opportunities for Pakistan. Pakistan, presently, needs to undertake its Central Asia policy very seriously due to its energy needs, regional/global political and economic objectives.

Read more: CPEC’s potential to revolutionize regional cooperation and make Pakistan pivotal

Cultural, faith & custom affinities with the people of Central Asian States creates an advantageous environment for Islamabad to cultivate better relations with these nations. Islamabad needs to chalk out and execute economic engagement plans with Central Asian States through long-term economic projects, bilateral agreements and membership of multinational regional organizations.

The critical examination of Pakistan’s Central Asian policy reveals that it has successfully cultivated cordial diplomatic relations with all the Central Asian States since their independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. It is engaging the Central Asian States at the multilateral forums as well as bilaterally.

After all, connectivity and mobility facilitate prosperity and well-being of the region.”
The Central Asian leadership had acknowledged the geo-economic significance of Pakistan.

The positive development is that the Central Asian States are also interested to benefit from the CPEC. They realize that both geographically and historically, the only logical routes for the Central Asian States to the sea are through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Central Asian States supported Pakistan in securing the membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Pakistan’s full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June 2017 has further cemented its relations with the Central Asian states.

Perhaps, the SCO full membership enables Pakistan to share its experience in combating the menace of terrorism in the region. In addition, the materialization of the projects such as CASA 1000, TAPI, etc improve the connectivity between Pakistan and Central Asia States. While speaking at the seminar on November 13, H.E. Mr. Sherali Jononov, Ambassador of the Republic of Tajikistan claimed; “We believe the Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation between Tajikistan and Pakistan, the sixth session of which is planned to be held in Dushanbe this year, is very important for expansion of our relations.”

Read more: Reshaping foreign policy of Pakistan

South Asia, currently, is one of the least integrated regions. The regional economic connectivity is weak due to India and Pakistan strategic competition. For improving their national economies, the South Asian States need to expand their relations by improving economic cooperation among them. But they failed due to India’s hegemonic designs and non-acceptance of others as equal sovereign states in the region.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is virtually non-functional. India-Pakistan animosity and New Delhi’s ambition to isolate Islamabad resulted in a deadlock between them. Since May 2014, their relations have been spiraling downwards. Prime Minister Modi and his Party BJP are fanning the tension with Pakistan for their domestic political advantages. They have been using anti-Pakistan narrative to muster the support of Hindu fundamentalists in the forthcoming states and national elections. Indeed, these developments are not favourable for the regional economic connectivity.

To conclude, the BRI provides opportunities to enhance the economic connectivity among more than sixty States. CPEC is one of the corridors through which trade, commerce and people flow within and across countries. Perhaps, such flow is imperative for economic prosperity.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is also an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, London and a course coordinator at Foreign Services Academy for the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email: jaspal_99@hotmail.com. This piece was first published in Pakistan Observer. It has been republished with permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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  1. Pakistan should support people of Assam, Nagaland & Manipur. The Indian government if its paramilitary forces are killing the youth in Assam, Nagaland & Manipur while at the sane time it is looting all natural resources there. Indian paramilitary forces do not even spare women in these areas. As for China, it must stop buying more & more Indian products !

  2. This article is typical of Pakistani experts and writers. These people represent a failed and bankrupt country which is living from one financial bailout to bailout. But surprisingly these pseudo experts handout their opinions as if they represent a financial and military super power. The entire article is discussing the equally poor and squalid central Asian countries and discusses the hostile attitude of Indian leadership in one small para. Yet the title of the article is about India. What an obsession. India can not and will not support any BRI project coz this passes through part of Indian Jammu and Kashmir. Besides India has bypassed Pakistan by constructing Chabahar port in Iran which gives India access to Afghanistan, central Asia and Russia. Pakistan is no match with India in any field. It should stop acting as an equal to India. India is a world power now with matching financial political and military muscle. India is a peace maker whereas Pakistan is a rogue state. It harbours terrorists and uses them as instruments of state policy. It is maintaining an army of about 6 lakh soldiers. It’s financial condition does not permit it maintain an army of no more than one lakh at the most. Pakistan requires more forces for internal law and order to stamp out religious fanaticism and Jehadi elements. It does not face any threat from India whatsoever. All the wars between India and Pakistan were initiated by Pakistan army. Now it’s army and ISI are carrying out covert war against US in Afghanistan and against India. The sooner it gives up its war mongering the better. Otherwise one fine morning it will suddenly cease to exist if it keeps giving nuclear threats.

  3. Ajay kumar pakistan is a state which will exist till the end of this world. A day will come when you people will beg for survival.pakistan is not a weak state and jumu kashmir is not part of india rather its part of pakistan which india has annexed by force and we will get by twisting your arms and necks.

    • Yes Pakis are ahead of India in everything like

      1. Boasting
      2. A false sense of superiority induced by a belief that they are a superior martial Islamic race
      3. Their weapons always ‘maintain balance’ and strategic parity with India
      4. Space programme 😜
      5. Economy 😂😂😂😂
      6. Starting a conflict and when the spanking gets hard, do randi Rona in front of the world(ex: Bhutto’s speech in UN in 65 and Pak’s Randi Rona releasing stamps depicting pows asking for the awakening of world conscience, Nawaz Sharif running to Clinton in 99)
      7. Surrendering in troves(93,000 shameless cowards whose general boasted of fighting India for a 1000 years)
      8. Possessing divine missiles which are unstoppable by Kafirs’ inferior missile shields(jazaak Allah) 😜
      9. Possessing extremely advanced technology platforms like JF17 etc😛

    • Pakistan has lost all its race against India, be it in 1960 in Lahore, when Abdul Khaliq lost to Milkha Singh, along with all world cup matches and finally in defence. Accept it, it’s not in their genes to win against India.

      Inshaallah Boys played well. 😂😂😂

  4. Umar Javed, like Ajay has mentioned, you seem to be too demented to imagine yourself to be of any significance. With India’s support, Afghanistan is enough to bring Pakistan to its knees & we will do it. As for JK, you have been trying for the past 70 years. You are welcome to keep trying for the next 70, 700, 7 million years. By then we will outgrow you & crush you decisively. The blunder we made in 1971 by not dismembering West Pakistan would be rectified soon.


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