Emerging new world order – and its implications
Forced by evolving new economic and regional strategies, a new world order is seen emerging. Pakistan has moved closer to China and Russia. There is a fear of ISIS operating in Afghanistan. There is also a fear that US may use ISIS as a proxy in Afghanistan.
Some reports point towards fighters in large numbers moving to Afghanistan from Syria spelling further destabilization in Afghanistan leading inevitably to a spillover effect in Pakistan. The ISIS fighters in Afghanistan will help China stay on a back foot and counter a reviving Russia.
China and Russia support Pakistan’s stance in a suggested solution to Afghanistan. There was an understanding between the trio to work towards moving certain Taliban members off the sanction list of UN to be able to engineer an all-inclusive negotiated settlement between Taliban and Kabul. A suggestion that was rejected by Washington. Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, killed by a drone strike, strongly supported this as an initiative to bring those not supportive in his group around in order to broker a peace agreement.
The rise of Turkish-Iranian-Russian triumvirate is a huge development. Buried is their history of rivalry as they brokered a cease-fire in Syria. China’s involvement in Pakistan’s CPEC is a reality. Pakistan and Turkey in 2017 alone inked deal to manufacture four warships, three defense agreements have been inked to develop a strategic partnership which earlier was collaboration in defense industry.
On the other hand a nexus is forming between India, US and Israel. The latter two have historically enjoyed good relations. The latest Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that becomes effective in 2018 will give Israel $3.9 billion a year in military aid for 10 years (2016). Since in office, Modi has focused sharply on foreign policy and India has grown close to both US and Israel. Though New Delhi’s strong economic relations with Tehran are a thorn in the side.
India’s new closeness with US is watched with great unease by Islamabad especially because of India’s growing space in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs to engage with the US specifically on Afghanistan issue. PM Nawaz has recently issued a policy statement to this end, it is based on peaceful relations with neighbors especially Afghanistan and deeper ties with the US. This needs to be followed up by a team of two diplomats (preferably those with hands on knowledge of Afghanistan; Tariq Aziz-ud-din’s name comes to mind) to start a dialogue with Afghanistan on multifaceted issues. Pakistan should also make use of SCO platform to engage other member states for peace process in Afghanistan.
An interesting question is posed in light of the new developing alliances. Can India use her economic ties to disrupt the economic commitment of China with Pakistan? China’s economic involvement with India is far from insignificant. In 2016, the trade between both was at in excess of $70 billion as opposed to approximately $12 billion with Pakistan. Balance of trade between India and China is however unequal with India exporting a meager $8 billion worth in 2015-16. India offers a healthy market for Chinese goods. With a huge investment of $46 billion on Pakistan’s CPEC projects, India can create barriers to Chinese exports in India. This will undoubtedly damage China’s economy that shows sluggish growth.
For India, it makes sense to increase economic support with China to keep the latter engaged. It will increase the chances of China playing neutral between both the arch enemies in case of a serious situation. On the other hand, India in her desire to emerge as the regional power and with the US and Israel to support her may decide to use the economic bond as a tactical weapon against China. India has border conflicts with China, however, the recent suspension of Indians’ to Lake Manasarover and Mount Kailash is a jolt for India to review her Tibet Policy.
Recently “China also asserted that any such boycott would not have much impact on its exports, but “without proper substitutes, the biggest losers of the boycott of Chinese goods will be Indian traders and consumers”. (Oct, 28 2016) The statement makes a lot of sense.
However, China needs to cover her back nonetheless, should India decide to use economic leverage. China connects international borders with fourteen sovereign states. China needs to shape her choices and analyze future markets in her neighboring countries. Having said thus, since China and US are intertwined at many levels; may it be economic or academic, or collaborating in other spheres, including China’s investments in US in financial markets, real estate and manufacture of supply chains, any damage to China will damage India’s latest ally, the United States of America.
The new alliances at many points will overlap with old alliances. Politics is not only driven by regional and international outreach but also by economics.
The China-Pakistan-Russia-Turkey nexus nonetheless needs to consolidate the alliance by gaining economic markets and good diplomacy to achieve objectives that converge. The efforts must be both at individual and combined levels, both short and long term. Since Pakistan became a permanent member of SCO, a trip to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is envisaged in August 2017 to explore and reach trade deals that are mutually beneficial between the countries by arranging meetings between business houses and other relevant bodies.
A proactive approached is need of the day.
The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @yasmeen_9