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Pakistan moves up the power ladder on world stage

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Pakistan moves up the power ladder on world stage

By Ambassador M K BHADRAKUMAR
July 24, 2021 13:52 IST

Pakistan is once again becoming a frontline State in big-power rivalry.
But this time around, Pakistan stands to gain out of its geography, observes Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar.



IMAGE: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters
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Pakistan will soon control all of Afghanistan

When the whole world is lamenting that the US is quitting Afghanistan in ignominy, the Biden administration is snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. What an audacity of hope!

The agreement reached in principle in Tashkent on July 16 between representatives of the United States, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan to 'establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity' is a watershed event in regional politics marking the overnight transition in US regional strategy from the hurly-burly of battles to geoeconomics. It is breath-taking.

This QUAD idea stems from the Biden administration's realisation that 'peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing' -- something that China had discovered almost a decade ago.

The joint statement (external link) issued at Tashkent says the four countries recognise a 'historic opportunity to open flourishing international trade routes, [and] the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links and strengthen business-to-business ties'.

The parties agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus.

This major development underscores that Washington intends to remain involved in Afghanistan's stability. That augurs well for the intra-Afghan dialogue.

The US is intensely conscious that its prestige in the region is at its nadir today and it stands isolated, as the reported cheeky Russian offer (external link) volunteering to be America's gatekeeper shows.

Evidently, Washington is reluctant to accept the Russian offer, which can turn out to be an albatross.

That explains to an extent its thoughtful move to create a regional axis of friendly States who are manifestly keen to foster ties and willing to work with the US in the region.

Potentially, Washington may have use for the US-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan as a 'counterweight' to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which is dominated by China and Russia.

Despite their friendly relations with China (and Russia), both Uzbekistan and Pakistan are eager to deepen relations with the US.

And they are the two biggest countries in the Greater Middle Eastern arc stretching from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia's border with China.

Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan are also Muslim countries and they provide a market of around 300 million people.

No doubt, the US did its homework. This QUAD has viability unlike its insipid namesake in the 'Indo-Pacific'.

In recent years, the US has been paying extra attention to cultivate friendly ties with Uzbekistan, which is not only the biggest country in Central Asia but a relative success story regionally in political stability and overall developmental trajectory.

Tashkent has been receptive to Washington's overtures, as strong ties with America help it to balance Russia and will strengthen its strategic autonomy.

The new Quad signals the US' receptiveness to Pakistan's persisting demand for a bilateral relationship that goes beyond Afghan issues.

There are fault lines in the China-Pakistan relationship (external link), which are no more possible to conceal, and in Washington's judgment, Pakistani elites, civilian and military, have remained as Western-oriented as ever despite their alienation in the recent decade.

To be sure, with the curtain coming down on the Afghan War, the time has come for establishing rail/road links connecting Central Asia with Karachi/Gwadar ports.

The expected improvement in the security situation allows mega projects to be implemented.

Conceivably, the Taliban would have no reservations over the QUAD. The Pakistani ports are ideally placed to connect the resource-rich Central Asian region and Afghanistan with the world market.



IMAGE: US President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris at the White House, July 15, 2021. Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters
There are seamless possibilities ahead. The recent G7 summit in Cornwall had agreed on a new initiative to support global infrastructure investment.

A recent paper by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC saw this new global infrastructure initiative as a counter to China's Belt and Road Initiative [BRI] with emphasis on catalysing private capital to invest in global infrastructure.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after talks with President Biden at the White House that when Germany's turn comes next year to chair the G7, Berlin intends to implement the Cornwall Summit's decision.

Will G7 join the US' QUAD initiative in Central Asia?

Clearly, by having both the CPEC and the QUAD on its platter, Pakistan is tasing success in its foreign-policy shift toward geoeconomics.

Pakistan's geography makes it a turf for competition between China and the West in infrastructure development.

Simply put, the new QUAD will impact regional politics.

Indeed, the US hopes to wean Pakistan away from its heavy dependence on China.

The new QUAD will make India look an outlier drifting aimlessly without a sense of direction.

India turned its back on China's BRI, but Pakistan secured the $60 billion CPEC and is now looking forward to the US-led QUAD.

India's relations with China are in deep chill and its traditional friendly ties with Russia have become listless, whereas, Pakistan not only enriched its ties with China but is successfully exploring the multipolarity in the world order.

On July 16, Pakistan and Russia signed a mega deal for a 1,100 km gas pipeline project costing between $2.5billion - $3 billion connecting Karachi and Lahore which will transport imported LNG (for which it has separately signed a deal with Qatar whereby 200 mmcfd of gas will initially reach Karachi's LNG terminal in the beginning of next year that would be enhanced to 400 mmcfd in the coming years)/

Whereas, India's gas pipeline project with Iran has been languishing as pipe dream.

Pakistan is anxious to have President Putin inaugurate the groundbreaking of the gas pipeline project, which is expected to be held later this year or in early 2022.

Delhi should seriously introspect whether its passionate embrace of the US bandwagon through the past decade under successive governments, brought any significant dividends.

Pakistan is once again becoming a frontline State in big-power rivalry.

But this time around, Pakistan stands to gain out of its geography and hopes to create equity for its development.

Conceivably, the new Quad is the brainchild of Zalmay Khalilzad, US special representative on Afghanistan, who has for long advocated that the best way of stabilising Afghanistan is by encouraging the reset in the Pakistani calculus away from militancy and extremism to peace and development.

Pakistan's epochal journey is bound to be painful and will face uncertainties, as the past week's events in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (external link) province and Islamabad remind us.

The US can help cement it as an irreversible shift by offering a meaningful partnership to Pakistan.

In all likelihood, China will only welcome the US initiative as it is in the overall interests of regional security and stability from which Beijing also stands to gain.

China has huge stakes in Pakistan's and Afghanistan's security and development, and in this respect, a congruence of interests between Beijing and Washington is entirely conceivable.


Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar, an Indian Foreign Service officer for more than 29 years, headed the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan division at the external affairs ministry in the early 1990s.

 

Darth Vader

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Pipedreams WONT work,
Uncle Sam will not invest anything in Pakistan be it Afghanistan or not,
India is a much better cannon fodder against China then Pakistan.
1 Currently majority of Pakistan military supply chain is chinese based, Western platforms are at the end of shelf life Turkey,China are the only main suppliers
Italy and some what Russia can provide some equipment but that comes with its own strings.
Even with its flaws military knows in long term it can not depend on US yes they might try to get some goodies but they will keep its options open.

Chinese investment couldn't raise revenue as the whole project might sound great for a 200+ million population, but Majority of it was rasing infrastructure for roads and generating power, which after years of work Pakistan is still facing issues with loadshedding and gas shortage.
Very limited investment actually went to spaces which can generate large numbers of jobs for lower to middle class.
Biggest sectors Pakistan can actually work is redeveloping newer cities as these can help move alot of population and solve alot of issues and state can provide jobs which provide cheaper houses for governmental employees and low earning work force with human development programs pakistan can develop a large capable work force which can work in in factories
Agriculture & Industry with its growing population both sectors need huge investments and upgrade as Pakistan will need alot of work as in 30 to 40 years Majority of younger population wont be that young anymore that will raise its own issues.

Biggest issue of all is water shortage
Pakistan has still no actual plan to solve the issue its currently and will be facing in future.
 

PeaceGen

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Biggest issue of all is water shortage
Pakistan has still no actual plan to solve the issue its currently and will be facing in future.

Freshwater (industrial scale) from seawater, on sunlight | Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community

@waz @The Eagle *please* allow these links to stay here.
i know i'm breaking forum rules by posting a link to another forum, but many lives could improve or even be saved if this idea is ever implemented somewhere.

if you want to remove the link to the physics forums, you can do that, but that's where the idea got challenged and then counter-challenged, it contains a lot of useful extra technical info! :)
 

GumNaam

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Pakistan IS moving up the power ladder. but bhadrakumar is severely mistaken when he says Pakistan will soon control all of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a power that have beaten the living snot out of the greatest military & economic super power history has ever known. the Taliban don't puppet out themselves to anyone, they have no reason to. but yes, they will be our partners in peace and economic connectivity with both China, Russia and all the states in between. now if the bhadrakumar considers that as some how being a puppet just because the Taliban won't be pursuing any anti Pakistan policies then I'm afraid he's been riding his high horse for far too long without realizing that his horse has already died.
 

PeaceGen

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Pakistan IS moving up the power ladder. but bhadrakumar is severely mistaken when he says Pakistan will soon control all of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a power that have beaten the living snot out of the greatest military & economic super power history has ever known. the Taliban don't puppet out themselves to anyone, they have no reason to. but yes, they will be our partners in peace and economic connectivity with both China, Russia and all the states in between. now if the bhadrakumar considers that as some how being a puppet just because the Taliban won't be pursuing any anti Pakistan policies then I'm afraid he's been riding his high horse for far too long without realizing that his horse has already died.
You could well be right about Pakistan not controlling Afghanistan any time soon, but that depends on what China + Pakistan decide to do for the moderate Afghanis.
i hope they'll support those in their fight to stave off the Taliban take-over.

And FYI : the US and NATO weren't exactly beaten by the Taliban.. More like the other way around.. :

2,442 U.S. troops have been killed and 20,666 wounded in the war since 2001, according to the Defense Department

It's unclear how many Taliban have been killed over the past 13 years but estimates vary from 20,000 to 35,000
 

hydrabadi_arab

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Pipedreams WONT work,
Uncle Sam will not invest anything in Pakistan be it Afghanistan or not,
India is a much better cannon fodder against China then Pakistan.
1 Currently majority of Pakistan military supply chain is chinese based, Western platforms are at the end of shelf life Turkey,China are the only main suppliers
Italy and some what Russia can provide some equipment but that comes with its own strings.
Even with its flaws military knows in long term it can not depend on US yes they might try to get some goodies but they will keep its options open.

Chinese investment couldn't raise revenue as the whole project might sound great for a 200+ million population, but Majority of it was rasing infrastructure for roads and generating power, which after years of work Pakistan is still facing issues with loadshedding and gas shortage.
Very limited investment actually went to spaces which can generate large numbers of jobs for lower to middle class.
Biggest sectors Pakistan can actually work is redeveloping newer cities as these can help move alot of population and solve alot of issues and state can provide jobs which provide cheaper houses for governmental employees and low earning work force with human development programs pakistan can develop a large capable work force which can work in in factories
Agriculture & Industry with its growing population both sectors need huge investments and upgrade as Pakistan will need alot of work as in 30 to 40 years Majority of younger population wont be that young anymore that will raise its own issues.

Biggest issue of all is water shortage
Pakistan has still no actual plan to solve the issue its currently and will be facing in future.

You didn't read the article and respond to points, instead wrote BS rant. India pipedream was isolation of Pakistan and sanctions by USA, that will remain pipedream now. USA govt itself doesn't invest directly anywhere. Pakistan received $60b in exports and remittances last year. USA share was $10 billion, bigger then anyone else. USA is important source for Pakistan $$ and it will now grow even more in coming years.

Central asian QUAD which will also have infrastructure financed by USA controlled institutions. Starting with UZB-AF-PAK railway line which I'm sure will cost $15 billion if not more.

All this isn't possible if USA sanctioned Pakistan like India have dreamed for so long.
 

GumNaam

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You could well be right about Pakistan not controlling Afghanistan any time soon, but that depends on what China + Pakistan decide to do for the moderate Afghanis.
i hope they'll support those in their fight to stave off the Taliban take-over.

And FYI : the US and NATO weren't exactly beaten by the Taliban.. More like the other way around.. :



negative. if the silent but conservative majority of the afghan population is with the Taliban and actually want a military take over of the kabul government then so be it. Pakistan will work with what the nation decides. it's an open secret that western led so called "electoral process" has done a shit job and gaining the confidence of the afghan masses, all they got were these filthy corrupt no bodies like ghani and karzai that had no roots in the afghan society until uncle sam came into the picture. all they got was corruption, nepotism & insecurity. western forces had a chance to deliver an honest democratic government that conducted business based on merit but their own western insecurities about getting a government that would show them the door forced them to stick with the filthy corrupt karzai ghani et al. well, 20 years later, they've been shown the door ANYWAY with nothing in hand to show for. foot the average ultra conservative afghan, the liberation ofv their women means nothing and the safety of their women coming back home unscathe means eveything. Let's face it, taliban delivered where the west couldn't. results speak for themselves.
 

Darth Vader

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You didn't read the article and respond to points, instead wrote BS rant. India pipedream was isolation of Pakistan and sanctions by USA, that will remain pipedream now. USA govt itself doesn't invest directly anywhere. Pakistan received $60b in exports and remittances last year. USA share was $10 billion, bigger then anyone else. USA is important source for Pakistan $$ and it will now grow even more in coming years.

Central asian QUAD which will also have infrastructure financed by USA controlled institutions. Starting with UZB-AF-PAK railway line which I'm sure will cost $15 billion if not more.

All this isn't possible if USA sanctioned Pakistan like India have dreamed for so long.



CNN smuncle sam is giving prime to TTP
Uzb-afg-Pak railway who is funding that ? IMF ? Uncle sam ? When this project starts from uncle sams funding please do let me know.

Its not BS rant , simply stating Where Pakistan stands no chinese or western funding will save Pakistan from Pakistan itself.
US dont invest directly i dont think you know about the aid Pakistan was getting from states recently they stopped coalition funds which was about to be used for newer cobras and f16s

Do uncle sam really need to sanction Pakistan ? Pakistan dont have exports where exports of 200 mill country is lower the expacts remittance you know something is hugely wrong somewhere.

Pakistan is already in grey list, nothing to offer when it comes to agriculture, minerals , industry is almost dead so i dont understand even with that so called railway what will Pakistan achieve, after Shah of iran Pakistan trade has declined, Pakistan has almost no trade with its neighbours beside china and thats more dependent on import rather then exports.
 

PeaceGen

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negative. if the silent but conservative majority of the afghan population is with the Taliban and actually want a military take over of the kabul government then so be it. Pakistan will work with what the nation decides. it's an open secret that western led so called "electoral process" has done a shit job and gaining the confidence of the afghan masses, all they got were these filthy corrupt no bodies like ghani and karzai that had no roots in the afghan society until uncle sam came into the picture. all they got was corruption, nepotism & insecurity. western forces had a chance to deliver an honest democratic government that conducted business based on merit but their own western insecurities about getting a government that would show them the door forced them to stick with the filthy corrupt karzai ghani et al. well, 20 years later, they've been shown the door ANYWAY with nothing in hand to show for. foot the average ultra conservative afghan, the liberation ofv their women means nothing and the safety of their women coming back home unscathe means eveything. Let's face it, taliban delivered where the west couldn't. results speak for themselves.
ok.. i accept your viewpoint as at least semi-accurate.

now let's hope the Taliban stays true to their promise of not supporting alQuada and like-minded groups..
or the west is once again dealing with terror training camps in Afghanistan, and i don't think we can tolerate that.
 

GumNaam

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ok.. i accept your viewpoint as at least semi-accurate.

now let's hope the Taliban stays true to their promise of not supporting alQuada and like-minded groups..
or the west is once again dealing with terror training camps in Afghanistan, and i don't think we can tolerate that.
yeah Taliban need to stop all the meddling from cia proxies like alqaeda & daesh.
 

hydrabadi_arab

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CNN smuncle sam is giving prime to TTP
Uzb-afg-Pak railway who is funding that ? IMF ? Uncle sam ? When this project starts from uncle sams funding please do let me know.

Its not BS rant , simply stating Where Pakistan stands no chinese or western funding will save Pakistan from Pakistan itself.
US dont invest directly i dont think you know about the aid Pakistan was getting from states recently they stopped coalition funds which was about to be used for newer cobras and f16s

Do uncle sam really need to sanction Pakistan ? Pakistan dont have exports where exports of 200 mill country is lower the expacts remittance you know something is hugely wrong somewhere.

Pakistan is already in grey list, nothing to offer when it comes to agriculture, minerals , industry is almost dead so i dont understand even with that so called railway what will Pakistan achieve, after Shah of iran Pakistan trade has declined, Pakistan has almost no trade with its neighbours beside china and thats more dependent on import rather then exports.

Exports contracted because of stupid policies of past. Over valued currency was the reason. Now exports are increasing and so is industry. You need to update your self with latest situation on ground. CPEC have moved to industrial expansion mode. Its no longer roads and power plants, that was in 2014-2018.
 

Darth Vader

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Exports contracted because of stupid policies of past. Over valued currency was the reason. Now exports are increasing and so is industry. You need to update your self with latest situation on ground. CPEC have moved to industrial expansion mode. Its no longer roads and power plants, that was in 2014-2018.
Yes
Yes but has that sorted Pakistans power & gas problem , you have textile threating of leaving you still have electricity issues.

Only 1 major mobile company has actually plans to invest into Pakistani market

When it comes to Automobile even after years of this company is coming that company is coming got nothing to show for.

Saudis wanted to start a refinery that got no where

Farmers are actually dying
What else is left for me to update ?
 

hydrabadi_arab

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Yes
Yes but has that sorted Pakistans power & gas problem , you have textile threating of leaving you still have electricity issues.

Only 1 major mobile company has actually plans to invest into Pakistani market

When it comes to Automobile even after years of this company is coming that company is coming got nothing to show for.

Saudis wanted to start a refinery that got no where

Farmers are actually dying
What else is left for me to update ?

Again more BS. Realme, samsung, xiaomi, vivo etc isnt 1 company but many. And many more will come in coming years. Textile were highest ever. No power shortages now. Farmers dying lol Where do you get this BS?

For 20 years Pakistan govts kept buying rupees from market with $$. It was cheaper to import then make in Pakistan. That is changed now, one will see more expansion in industry in coming years.
 

SD 10

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Yes
Yes but has that sorted Pakistans power & gas problem , you have textile threating of leaving you still have electricity issues.

Only 1 major mobile company has actually plans to invest into Pakistani market

When it comes to Automobile even after years of this company is coming that company is coming got nothing to show for.

Saudis wanted to start a refinery that got no where

Farmers are actually dying
What else is left for me to update ?
farmers dying?? i am a farmer i dont know that we were dying??? when you dont know anything about the ground reality than perhaps staying quiet is the best option.
 

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