Pakistan moving closer to Russia to resist Indian supremacy in South Asia

Note: This Opinion was originally published in Russian language. It has been translated by Dispatch News Desk (DND) monitoring team.

Pakistan Foreign Office indicates that Chief of Pakistani Army Gen Kamar (Qamar) Bajwa will visit Moscow in first week of October and will have meetings in Ministry of Defence.

“Visit of Gen Bajwa will set the stage for “translating political goodwill into a substantial partnership, in particular, in the field of defence, reports Russian online newspaper “Mixed News”.

Newspaper says that the beginning of the era of changing the balance of interests and forces in South Asia has begun. The matrix of the new era led to the emergence of a strategic partnership of the three key powers, which today occupy a central place in the solution of many regional issues, and whose joint decisions may further determine the political atmosphere in South Asia. It’s about partnership among China, Pakistan and Russia.

China with its economic power and global influence, Russia with its determined foreign policy and military force, and Pakistan, whose geostrategic position determines its place at the forefront of the fight against terrorism – their emerging tripartite relationships have the potential to play a decisive role in regional and global political balance of power.

New events of global importance, such as the launch of the implementation of the ambitious economic initiative of China, One-Belt, One Road (OBOP), Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and its relationship with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the geostrategic position of Pakistan have become one of the key prerequisites for new trends in relations between the three powers, the motivational factors underlying the convergence of their interests, as well as the degree of influence of this trio on the new Asian order.

From the point of view of Pakistan, the Chinese people’s desire to intensify business cooperation and trade through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a key component to intensify regional ties and pave the way for China’s access to the Indian Ocean by developing a transport link between Xinjiang Province and the Pakistani port of Gwadar .

The basic common interests of China and Russia in the current international situation are linked to the confrontation of the world hegemony of the United States.

As for South Asia, Russia’s current approach to relations with Pakistan is a clear rejection of previous hostility Pakistan imposed along with United States over former Soviet Union.

Russian-Pakistani bilateral relations are still in the embryonic stage and need a cautious and balanced approach. It is worth mentioning here that the traditional rivalry between Pakistan and India, with which Russia has a long-term strategic partnership since the Cold War, does not go well with strengthening ties between Russia and Pakistan. Russia is the second largest exporter of military equipment to India, and according to forecasts, by 2025 the volume of their bilateral trade will reach $ 30 billion.

On the other hand, Russia and Pakistan have common strategic interests. Russia seeks to resolve the crisis in Afghanistan, as Moscow fears the penetration of terrorist groups into Central Asia, in particular, the emergence of militants there, the Daish (so-called Islamic State) faction, which threatens the stability of Russia itself, given that it includes numerous Chechen descendants. In addition, Russia is concerned about the current presence of US troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s interests largely coincide with those of Russia. First, Pakistan seeks to strengthen its position in the region through interaction with the world’s second nuclear power. Secondly, Pakistan is interested in a peaceful settlement of the Afghan crisis. Third, Pakistan seeks to provide Russia with access to the deepwater port of Gwadar.

India’s access to American armaments, coupled with American support for its actions in the Indian Ocean, is an alarming signal for Pakistan, saying that it is necessary to review international relations and strengthen cooperation with regional powers in order to counter the prospect of Indian hegemony in South Asia.

The geostrategic interests of China and Pakistan go beyond their own territories and also play an important role in resolving the crisis in Afghanistan. As for the Chinese interests in Afghanistan, their range is very wide and includes such elements as development assistance, investment projects and the strengthening and finding peace. To implement Beijing’s strategic objectives, Pakistan needs a more favorable security environment.

The basic common interests of China and Russia in the current international situation are linked to the confrontation of the world hegemony of the United States. Moscow and Beijing participate in the work of many international platforms and institutions, such as the BRICS and the SCO, in an effort to strengthen the strategic partnership for achieving common goals, both regionally and globally. Russia, with its initiative of the Eurasian Economic Union and China and its project, the OBOR, seek to revolutionize world trade and stimulate world economic integration through trans-regional ties and cooperation in order to achieve the common goal of transition to an era without a global leader.

Outstanding political commentator Pepe Escobar noted that Russia and China not only defend their fundamental national interests, but also enhance their complementarity. Russia’s superiority in the aerospace, defense and heavy industries is complemented by China’s superiority in agriculture, light industry and information technology. Both countries enjoy the support of such prestigious international organizations as BRICS, SCO, CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Union. Russia and China have a common position on peace and stability in Afghanistan and in South Asia as a whole, giving Pakistan the role of a geostrategic stronghold. Both countries strive to ensure that Eurasian integration ultimately brings peace to the fragile and explosive Middle East region.

Pakistan moving closer to Russia to resist Indian supremacy in South Asia
Pakistan moving closer to Russia to resist Indian supremacy in South Asia

On the other hand, India’s access to American armaments, coupled with American support for its actions in the Indian Ocean, is an alarming signal for Islamabad but Pakistan has no desire to disengage with Washington while trying to strengthen cooperation with regional powers in order to counter the prospect of Indian hegemony in South Asia. There is a strong view in Pakistan Foreign Office that Pakistan should maintain relations with the United States of America at the same level, as the transition to strengthening relations with Russia should not be carried out at the expense of Pakistani-American relations. The only goal of the reorientation of Islamabad is the desire to prevent the establishment of Indian hegemony in the region.

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.

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