New Alliances

Cross Post: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/09/12/new-alliances/

BY  ArticleYAA

US-Pakistan dropping out with each other, US-India cosying up with each other, China-Pakistan moving closer. Move missing:  Pakistan: not cosying up to Russia along with China.

It is important to view the present ground realities to analyse the emerging new alliances. The Cold War dynamics have been replaced and ideological policies have faded in the background. Both India and United States have a deep concern regarding a growing China – India is worried about Chinese aggression at her borders and US is worried about China’s increasing space  reference to South China Sea. On May 16, 2016, US and Indian officials had met for ‘maritime security concerns.’ Further, “Indian military officials and policymakers, for decades obsessed with Pakistan, are now growing increasingly worried by what they see as potentially threatening moves by China. Beijing’s growing blue-water navy is becoming more active in the Indian Ocean, with bigger ships spending more time there than ever before. China is inking port deals across India’s watery backyard, from Sri Lanka to Djibouti, that many in New Delhi see as a threat to Indian security.” (Foreign Policy May 2, 2016)

There are other reasons involved for the love affair: If we look at it from US point of view, India is a natural ally in their present and future strategy.

According to Dr. Namrata Goswami, a MINERVA Grantee of the Minerva Initiative awarded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, also a Senior Analyst for Wikistrat, formerly Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi and a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington and a recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Senior Fellowship, 2012-2103, For the United States, having India as an ally and trusted partner in the world is a good thing. It means it has, literally speaking, 1.2 billion friends that would come to its aid in times of need. It means Washington could rely on India’s diplomatic and military support in case there is conflict escalation in the Asia Pacific. Most importantly, the United States can count on Indian Muslims to challenge and question the barbaric ideologies perpetrated by groups like ISIS to spread terror in the world. The United States could also count on Indian support to tackle challenges of climate change. Most importantly, it could count on India to support and strengthen a rules based international order that sustains peace and prosperity in the world.” (June 14, 2016)

Dr Namrata Goswami missed mentioning other reasons ie Beijing has reached for access to deep-water seaport in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, it has drawn close to Pakistan over the CPEC that India sees as a threat. India has been vocal in expressing its concerns over the project. In a meeting held on the sideline of G20 recently, India raised the question of CPEC with China. It means an investment of $46 billion into Pakistan, which has traumatised India as it not only makes Pakistan a strong entity but also allows route to China shortening by 12,000 km energy imports from Middle East. Both being bad news for India. The decision of All India Radio(AIR) to host a programme in Baluch language makes more sense in this backdrop, official reasons of ‘atrocities in Baluchistan” notwithstanding considering the atrocities being conducted in Indian Occupied Kashmir, with death toll rising to 90,100. (Pakistan Today September 4, 2016)

Dr. Namrata Goswami also missed the gross human rights violations being conducted by India in Indian Occupied Kashmir. How can such a nation help in bringing world peace if it cannot do the same for an area it governs?

India has always taken decisions based on her economic interests and needs to accept the same by other nations.

Unfortunately, Nawaz Sharif government has failed to give due importance to foreign relations- with no Foreign Minister and no foreign affairs strategy focusing on other nations in place.

In a multi-polar world, with US offering more space to India in Afghanistan, ingress of terrorists from that side of border, an increasingly pro-India Afghan government, US moving close to India having formalized a defense agreement to use each other military facilities to not only fight against terrorism but also checking China’s increasing impact in Asia; is akin to sound of a trumpet clearly laying down lines between two ‘teams.’ “It is useful for US to gain access to the tremendous Indian bases without having to build facilities virtually up from the ground. The ‘pivot’ to Asia and the plans to deploy 60% of its surface ships in the Asia-Pacific, arguably, makes LEMOA a useful platform.” (Asia Times, August 29, 2016)

The Indian Express reports, “Attempts by India to join US’ alliance could “irritate” China, Pakistan or even Russia and bring “strategic troubles” to New Delhi while making it a centre of geopolitical rivalries in Asia, China’s state-run media commented on Tuesday. In an editorial written ahead of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter signing a logistics agreement, state-run Global Times said India may loose strategic independence if it leans towards the US.” (August 30, 2016)

Pakistan will be smart to move closer to Russia, creating a Pak-China-Russian axel to cover her flanks. Baby steps towards this were taken between both. They entered into a defence deal including four Mi-35 ‘Hind E’ helicopters to Pakistan. Russia is choosing her own pivot to East- in spite of her relationship with India, sealed a massive $400 bn gas deal with China.

Pakistan Foreign Policy Makers must, and I repeat must get out of the Cold War relationships. It is dead, gone and buried. Get over it. Look at the realities as it stands today. Develop alliances in light of a better Pakistan. A stronger Pakistan. No delays can be sustained.

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: yasmeenali62@gmail.com and tweets at @yasmeen_9.

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