Pakistan’s foreign policy is mostly based on the fact that it lives in an unsafe place, which continues to shape its way of thinking. The biggest worry for Pakistan is the threat from India, which is much bigger. However, India, Afghanistan, and the US hinge their relations with Pakistan on the success of militant groups. Pakistan’s international relationships are based on such narrow concerns, which do nothing good for the country and only draw bad attention. Pakistan needs to add more options to its foreign policy. The idea that everything can be seen through an Indian lens can be looked at again in a more sophisticated way. For Pakistan to make the most of its potential, economic input needs to be a regular part of foreign policy. Parliament can set rules and keep an eye on or check some of the basic policy assumptions to make sure they are true.
Indocentrism: A Dangerous Fallacy
Pakistani nationalism is judged by how much it negates India and how little it stands on its own. People are becoming more and more aware that having tense relations with India is a major foreign policy problem. Most of the time, Pakistan’s foreign problems can be solved by not having to compete with India. Pakistan tends to look at many issues of foreign policy through the eyes of India. India and Pakistan have many disagreements about things like Kashmir, water, and the Siachen glacier.
One reason Pakistan helped the Taliban government was to keep India from having any power there. Pakistan has about the same amount of hope for bigger countries as it does for the US. During the Cold War, Pakistan thought that the US would back it no matter what. Because of Indocentrism, we can not look at political problems in our own country without being biased. A nuanced approach to foreign policy is not based on a black-and-white scenario.
When dealing with India, Pakistan does not always treat it as a country that has real political problems with Pakistan. Instead, “Hindu India” and “Muslim Pakistan” are shown to always be at odds with each other. The whole idea of citizenship, which is that everyone should be treated the same no matter where they come from, is upside down.
Understanding domestic social facts
Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be assessed without taking into account how it affects domestic order. Our land and people are a big part of our relationships, especially in our area. For a more successful foreign policy, you can not just ignore what is going on at home or how the policy affects them. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been cared for as if it were a holy relic. Still, the Chinese seemed surprised at first and gave a few different reasons.
As China’s economic network in Pakistan grows, it will have to deal with many different political players. Pakistan’s policy of helping Islamists in Afghanistan began in the 1970s, when Pakistan thought that Afghanistan was helping Pashtun nationalists. Nationalist leaders who are thought to have hidden agendas can help ease tensions between the two countries in a big way. Pakistan’s close ties to Islam can affect how it gets along with China. The best way to avoid a backlash is to make sure that Pakistan’s foreign policy choices reflect its many different people.
The country is too big for many voices to be heard, but important voices who have a seat in Parliament should be heard. Foreign affairs committees in parliament can keep an eye on the area.
Non-State Actors as a Threat
How well Pakistan and Afghanistan get along depends a lot on how things go with the Afghan Taliban. When the Taliban attacked in Afghanistan, Pakistan got bad press. Pakistan’s “role” in making peace was seen as a good thing at the time. A single major attack by the Taliban could hurt efforts to make things better. The actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan have an effect on the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and so can attacks by militants on Indian soil.
Some of the militant groups seem determined to pit the two nuclear states against each other so that they can make their own order out of chaos. Pakistan’s inability to investigate these cases gives the impression that it is either involved or does not care. The biggest physical threat to China comes from militant groups in the western part of the country that are linked to the tribal areas of Pakistan. Even for groups that do not like India, China’s vetoes of plans to stop them can not last forever.
Economy: A Tool of Security
Concerns about security can also be addressed through economic means. The two countries’ economic ties set the tone for their relationships with each other. The two countries’ economic ties set the tone for their relationships with each other. Afghanistan is a good example. As Afghanistan’s trade moves away from Pakistan, the people who live near the border will suffer a lot. The best way to move forward is to keep the long-standing relationships between people and to create economic opportunities.
With China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which CPEC is a part, geoeconomics and regional connectivity are becoming more and more popular terms in a world that is changing. How Pakistan will handle this is its own challenge.
China is becoming more important in the world, and Pakistan has always paid close attention to China’s concerns. This makes it likely that China can change Pakistan’s view of the world. When you add this to China’s goal of becoming the biggest economy in the world through regional connections, it seems likely that China could affect Pakistan’s policy toward its neighbors.
In 2018, a meeting of the foreign ministers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China was held in Beijing. It said that Afghanistan would be added to the CPEC and that “improving livelihoods in border areas could be one of the first things to do.” In a similar way, China has been pushing for the Indian-funded port of Chahbahar in Iran to be considered a sister port to Gwadar. Some news stories even said that China and Pakistan might talk about changing the name of the project from “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” to something else to make India less worried.
Source: Rethinking Pakistan a 21st Century Perspective by Muhammad Ismail Khan