The oceans cover more than 70% of the surface of our earth which -in return- indicates that it also plays a part in regulating our Earth’s climate. Likewise, oceans serve as a channel for approximately 80% of the world’s global trade. According to the director of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade on Goods and Services and Commodities, ‘The total ocean’s economy per year is estimated to be approximately US$3-6 trillion and over 350 a million jobs are connected to ocean economy’. This stat proposes that more than half of the world’s population’s income comes from the ocean economy.
Several analysts who have interviewed or maintain contacts with Chinese foreign policymakers have noted that according to their sources, China’s long-term priority in Pakistan has been to prioritize security concerns over economic ones. Several analysts who have interviewed or contacted China’s foreign policymakers claim that China’s long-term priority in Pakistan is to prioritize security over economic interests, according to their sources.
Apart from economic linkages, Gwadar port also provides a military base to China by opening up the passageway to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. The military groundworks in favor of both China and Pakistan as not only will China be able to create a regional control over other Asian maritime facilities, but Pakistan, with the help of China’s advanced oceanic surveillance, will be equipped with the monitoring capabilities to detect and counter any threat coming from Its regional rival India. Moreover, it is also essential for China to expand its political strength in the form of naval and military power to compete with the already developed control of the US over the Strait of Malacca that extends along the coast of Malaysia and Indonesia.
The evolving nature of Pakistan China Maritime security collaboration is mutually beneficial across multiple dimensions. It provides a joint front of peace and security in terms of regional stability as well as a channel for economic prosperity for all the stakeholders involved. Certain factors are necessary to ensure the vitality of this cooperative initiative.
The trade and investment programs of these countries would encourage economic opportunities in the region vis-a-vis other countries like Afghanistan and Iran. These countries also condemned India for its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and also encouraged peace, security, and stable Afghanistan, which is always thanked by Pakistan. Because of the geostrategic location of Pakistan, these countries have been emerging to show interest in the investment in Pakistan, which would benefit not only Pakistan but also the region.
While Pakistan is improving its ties with Russia, India has come close to the US. India too would be well-advised to strengthen its bilateral relationship proactively to prevent any deterioration of links in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as to develop new partnerships. Economic integration measures and a successful global action plan will be a priority for Indian countries to mitigate Russia’s tendency towards Pakistan. Russia should also be able to take account of Indian concerns so that its long-term relationship with an emerging force is not damaged.
India has very limited options. With this peace deal, it has become clear that the Taliban are bound to come into power sooner or later. So, India needs to prepare accordingly. In a recent visit to New Delhi, US Chief Negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad urged New Delhi to start a political dialogue with the Taliban and directly discuss their terrorism-related concerns. He said, “India is an important force in Afghanistan, and it would be appropriate for that [India-Taliban] engagement to take place.”
It has now become almost obvious that Pakistan and Bangladesh are in the same camp, with China leading from the front. This moment can be an opportunity for both countries to come closer to each other. Still, for that to happen, the two South Asian nations must be honest with each other so that they can capitalize on this moment to forge a lasting relationship.
The election of President-elect Joe Biden and his Vice-President Kamala Harris is most likely to end this vacuum of American policy for the region and engage with the region with strategic insight and assertiveness. Joe Biden was awarded Hilal-e-Pakistan, the second-highest civil-award of the country, and Kamal Harris has ancestral roots in India. The personalized nature of their relationships to both of these countries will indeed influence the interaction once the Biden administration leads the White House. However, in the spirit of previous American interactions with the region, the Biden administration’s interaction with South Asia will be clouded by two mega strategic matters: The rise of China and the Conflict in Afghanistan.
In the past Taliban have inclined towards Pakistan, with Pakistan playing an essential role in the peace deal between the US and the Taliban, however, the recent turn of events is showcasing a different stance taken by the Taliban. With the changing dynamic, the relation has been strained from both sides. Taliban on its front want to appease them and gain the support of the general public which is wary of Pakistan while at the same time they want to establish ties with other nation-states and build their own relationship with them that is independent of Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan is not seeking to support a full Taliban led government as it might have religious repercussions for the Pakistani state.