The new bloc on the horizon

The new bloc on the horizon

Pakistan is blessed with a geostrategic location, which always comes into play when it came to the vested interests of the United States and Russia. However, Pakistan has not tried to reap the advantages from them. Although a colossal amount of capital was injected into the country, only the scant penny was spent on amelioration of socio-economic resilience.

China revealed a network of ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR)’ to ensure regional connectivity. A part of the OBOR is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which gives China a shortest possible route to access the Arabian Peninsula, African States, Europe and far west Asian states.

Meanwhile, India is scrambling to assume a regional role across South Asia by containing China’s rise. For this, the US has been providing it with every possible military support. Not only India but states of Pacific Rim are also backing India to impede China’s expansion. Similarly, Indian belligerency seems unfettered despite Pakistan raising voice against Indian covert fomentation of terrorism in the country.

Russia has regained its former vitality which was once diminished. The paradigm shift initiated following the transition of civilian leadership in America. The growing hegemonic role of Russia in the Middle East displays dwindling power of the US. Both countries have fallen into proxy wars in Syria to justify their power at the cost of innocent civilians.

Then there is theNorth Korean issue. It is engaged in augmentation of nuclear weapons to confront the US. Despite the imposition of several sanctions by the UN, North Korea has not ceased its nuclear armaments. Recently, it conducted several tests of nuclear weapons, most of which resulted in failures. Even China seems to have failed to halt NK’s nuclear programme, which has further intensified the situation at Korean peninsula.

China is investing in Gawadarport, while India has taken Chahbahar port from Iran. Both the ports are located closer to each other; however, Gawadar port lies across Strait of Hormuz, hence bearing more significance.

Likewise, the US and China want to restore stability, security and peace in the post-9/11 scenario of Afghanistan. Without reviving peace in Afghanistan, Gawadar and Chahbahar port cannot function properly. But unfortunately, due to the prevailing wrath of Afghan Taliban and the foreign forces, peace remains to be a distant dream. Pakistan has already disclosed the fault lines of Afghanistan, which need to be addressed at the earliest. But the US’ attitude has remained indifferent.

Pakistan has repeatedly been betrayed by the US under the dark clouds. Yet, Pakistan never thought to break the relationship with the US. Pakistan`s relations with the US began to strain in May 2011, when Americans discovered Osama bin Laden in a compound in Abbottabad. Since then, the US has regularly accused Pakistan of allowing terrorists to use its tribal belt to attack targets inside Afghanistan. Pakistan rejects these charges as incorrect and says that it launched two major military offensives in the area, eliminating militants` sanctuaries and killing hundreds of terrorists. After all, the US acknowledges the success of those operations.

The ascendancy of US worldwide cannot be denied for which China may need time and space to overshadow it. In fact, China itself does not want to worsen its relationship with the US despite US’s containment policies against it. A recent improvement in US-China relations can create a `comfort zone` for Pakistan as Washington views Beijing`s growing influence in Afghanistan as a positive development. While Pakistan has closed and tested friendship with China, it also desires strong and mutually beneficial ties with the United States. However, Pakistan is pretty convinced that the convergence of US and China is short-lived, since ‘Pivot to Asia’ is likely going to be substituted for Pivot to Central and South Asia.

Due to the turbulence across South Asia and the Middle East, America has yet to come out with the foreign policy of South Asia.

The recent emergence of the bloc among Pakistan, China and Russia is the harbinger of change in the global sphere. Russia has contacted with Afghan Taliban to revive the sanctity of stability and peace. Because maintaining peace in Afghanistan is also imperative for Russia. Russia wants to reach the warm waters. Gawadar port will provide Russia with access via China to African and Arabian states. Certainly, it will enlarge Russian gas market's outreach.          

There are challenges for the bloc to cope with.

The primary challenge is Indian belligerency. Itis indulged in fomenting terrorism in Pakistan by using Afghan soil. So, peace in Afghanistan cannotbe restored unless Indian influence, as well as foreign forces,are removed from the country.Secondly, the US is continuing to deploy forces in Afghanistan. It cannot afford to stay away from the limelight of the world. It is feared that after the exit from Afghanistan, a vacuum would be created that to be filled by emerging Russia. Thirdly, Saudi-led 41 states Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) headed by the exalted former army chief of Pakistan may dent the bloc on account of Russia’s support for Iran and its opposition towards the alliance.

Lastly, the US may confront the threat of North Korea. If their actions damage either party, then the bloc may be jolted owing to Russian and Chinese concerns. So dialogue process should be initiated by the bloc to counter the threat of NK to (or “intending to”) maintaining global order intact.

The writer is an independent journalist and political commentator