Geopolitics, analysis of the geographic influences on power relationships in international relations. The word geopolitics was originally coined by the Swedish political scientist Rudolf Kjellén about the turn of the 20th century, and its use spread throughout Europe in the period between World Wars I and II (1918–39) and came into worldwide use during the latter. In contemporary discourse, geopolitics has been widely employed as a loose synonym for international politics.
Geo-strategic position of Pakistan: Pakistan has most unique geo-political position in the region. No other country across the world has hostile countries on two sides of its border. Various features of geo -political position of Pakistan are as under;
- Hostile countries: Two countries in the world who have shady and hostile relation with Pakistan are Afghanistan and India. Both of them share borders with Pakistan. On the eastern border exists India which has not been able to accept Pakistan since its independence and always try to overpower Pakistan in bilateral matters and internal arena. On the other hand Afghanistan is Pakistan’s Western neighbor who was the only country to oppose the inclusion of Pakistan in United Nations.
- Neighbouring two major power: Pakistan shares border with China one of the major socialist country of the world. Secondly Russia is also very near to Pakistan. Before 1991c break up of USSR, the distance between these two countries was around 24 kms of Afghanistan. This proximity of Pakistan with these two major players of world politics was the reason that US and other Western powers needed support of Pakistan in controlling them. The inclusion of Pakistan in SEATO and CENTO was also due to this proximity.
- Eastern border of Muslim block: Out of 50 Muslim majority countries of the World most of them are located in Asia. There is a cluster of Muslim countries starting from Turkey (part of Turkey is in Europe) in the West. From Turkey if we move towards East the last country with Muslim majority in this Muslim Bloc is Pakistan.
- Bordering two most populous countries: Pakistan share borders with the two most populous countries of the world, China (no1) and India (no2).
- Bordering biggest Shia Muslim state: Pakistan shares border with Iran, which has the largest Shia population in the world. Within the Muslim world there is a tug of war between the two major sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia. Pakistan due to its geo-political position face dilemma of making choices when it comes to choose between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
- Closest sea route to Central Asian countries: Many scholar are of the view that USSR attacked Afghanistan to get hold of the sea ports of Pakistan, which they would attack once Afghanistan was captured by them. If we observe the map of Asia ports of Pakistan, such as Pasni, Gawader, Ormara, Jiwani and Karachi provide the shortest land route for the exports and imports to the countries in North of Afghanistan. USSR was fell in 1991 and 14 new states became independent which need to work for their economic prosperity.
- Changing regional apparatus In the arena of international politics there is no stability. Yesterday’s enemies become today’s friends and vice versa. In modern times the international relations have become more vibrant than any other time in the past. Various regimes taking control of different countries means change in policies and foreign relations. In the last two decades the transfer of power from BJP to Congress and back to BJP in India has tremendous consequences on the external and internal matters of Pakistan. In India the elections are fueled by the show of hatred towards Pakistan. On the other hand, politics in Afghanistan is also not polite towards Pakistan. Afghanistan never accepted the demarcation of Durand Line. Since its announcement they have a position that it has wrongfully taken land away from Afghanistan and given it in India. Later when Pakistan became independent they still have the claim over many parts of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s unrealized geopolitical importance stems from its strategic location at the closest land routes to the sea from land locked Afghanistan, Central Asian states and Western China.
- US interests in the regions to contain the Growing China, nuclear Iran, terrorist Afghanistan, and to benefit from the market of India.
- Security and Business are two main US interests in the region while Pakistan is playing a front line role against terrorism.
- Today the political scenario of the region is tinged with pre-emption policy and US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear program, India’s geopolitical muscles (new strategic deal with US) to gain the hegemony and to counter the ‘The Rise of China’ which has earned all the qualities to change unipolar world into Bipolar world.
- In all these issues, Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved, especially after Al Qaeda operations.
- The American think tanks have repeatedly accepted that war against terror could never be won without the help of Pakistan.
- Pakistan has rigorously fought, and ongoing military operation in Wazirstan is also targeting the suspected Taliban in the bordering area.
Main threats to Pakistan (India)
- Balochistan and Wazirstan conflicts are posing threats to any economic project like IPI gas pipeline. Negative role of India, US, Iran in this conflict ridden area.
- Kashmir is flash point, accelerating nuclear race in the South Asia. Instable governments in Pakistan have contributed in weakening the strong position.
- India has shared interests with the U.S. and NATO in the subjection of Pakistan.
- CHINA PERSPECTIVE Pakistan’s territory as land routes for China’s access to the Gulf Region Pakistan’s location in close proximity to the Hormiz Straits.
- critically vital for US strategic interests and valuable as a Chinese counter-pressure point against the United States Convergence of Chinese and Pakistani strategic interests in Afghanistan and so
- also against India Islamic fundamentalism insurgency in China Xinjiang
- CPEC would enhance pakistan’s role in region.
- Chinese investment about 65 billion dollars to complete this project, the main project of silk route.
RUSSIAN INTEREST :
- RUSSIAN INTEREST Faster strategic reinforcement capability in the region and eliminate Western submarine based threat from waters of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.
- Exertion of military pressure on Iran and Saudi Arabia through potential threat to their oil trade and be on the flanks of NATO countries.
- PAK-STEEL MILL was built with the help of Russia in late 70’s.
- Russian Military exercise with Pakistan Army has paved the new ways of relationship,
- Aghanistan did not recognize Pakistan’s establishment in 1947.
- Afghanistan is situated to the West of Pakistan. When the English got the control of sub-continent, according to a pact with Afghanistan in 1893
- the permanent border between the two countries was marked which is called Durand Line.This line is about 2240 kilometers long with the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- Afghan’s territory always used against of Pakistan’s interests before sovient invasion and post afghan Taliban Goverenment till now.
- Pakistan trained afghan Pashtun against sovient union which resulted in massive success.
- India’s 3500 troops in Afghanistan.
- India’s endorsement to TTP elements and other terrorist activities to induce tumultuous in Pakistan.
Iran perspective :
- To the West of Pakistan is the border of Iran along province of Balochistan. It is our Islamic brother country. Iran was the first country which recognized the existence of Pakistan in 1947.
- Iran has made political and trade pacts known as R.C.D.
- Its name is E.C.O which means Discipline for Economic Cooperation. Iran openly helped Pakistan during the wars of 1965 and 1971.
- Pakistan proves its friendship with Iran in every hour of need. Islamic revolution has come in Iran by the end of kingship.
- Indian investment in chabahar port against china trade in indian ocean.
- Hassan Rouhani again won the election because of his new initiative against traditional politics via opening his doors to US and other world
Central Asian Countries:
- Pakistan is the only country that provides them the nearest sea route and transport facilities.
- These countries lie in the North West of the Pakistan.
- Silk route from gawadar to CARs will provide enormous benefit to these landlocked states,
Trade Through Arabian Sea :
- Arabian Sea is in Indian Ocean. Most of the trade between east and west is done through Indian Ocean. Pakistan through Arabian Sea is linked with the Muslims Countries of Persian Gulf.
- All of them are rich in oil. In Karachi Bin Qasim and Gwader are important seaports of Pakistan.
- In this respect South-East Asian Muslim countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Burunai, Darussalam) and South Asian Muslim countries (Bangladesh, Maldives and SriLanka) are important.
Pakistan produces huge quantities of wheat, rice, sugar and fertilizer, but a significant portion of these commodities are smuggled to neighbouring countries. The plugging of the porous border and formalizing trade with India, Iran and Afghanistan would increase Pakistan’s export manifold. It is estimated that nearly one million tons’ wheat and half a million tons’ rice and sugar each is smuggled to the neighbouring countries.
Pakistan’s agricultural and industrial production has remained low due to the absence of policies encouraging greater value addition. Pakistan is among the top five largest cotton producing countries, but its share in the global trade of textiles and clothing is around two percent. The country needs to establish industries that can achieve a higher value addition. Pakistan should export pulp rather than exporting fruits that have shorter shelf life.
Another example is to follow Bangladesh, which does not produce cotton but its export of textiles and clothing is more than that of Pakistan. This is because Bangladesh has focused on achieving a higher value addition, while Pakistan continues to produce low quality and low priced items. This is a waste of a precious resource and to be honest, the value addition is negative.