Turkey and China’s Confidence in Pakistan Creates Regional Dynamics

December 28, 2010


President Obama was massaging the Bharati ego when he said that “India has arrived”. He however did not comment about the other emerged powers and alliances in South and West Asia. There are news reports in the the media which describes the utter furstration of thAmericans and the chagrin of the Bhararits. Maha Atal in an intersting article published on the Forbes blog essentially describes the emerging facts that have now become news. She says that “As the Great Game grows in significance, it would seem, Pakistan’s value to Chinahas increased”. She discusses Reko Diq, Gwader, and the fact that the world’s largest non-commercial bank is Chinese and now present in China providing loans and resources to the Pakistani economy. She takes an inventory of the $30 billion in Chinese investment in Pakistan and describes China’s new strategy on Pakistan. Maha describes Bharati concerns as “If the weekend’s MOUs lead to new engagement on political stability, that is much more significant than the big ticket energy projects that have dominated the headlines so far.”

Ashraf Javed in an article in The Nation describes the same story in different terms. Javen titles his story as “China thwarts Indian attempts to isolate Pakistan.” According to Javed, Beijing has stopped the Bharati propaganda against Pakistan by making a colossal commitment towards Islamabad. As we have written in previous columns, the Americans see doom ang gloom East of the Duran Line, and the Bharatis see gloom West of the Radcliff Border. The Chinese on the other hans see opportunity and profit in the land of the Indus. While Bharat is unable to resolve its disputes across the Manmohan line, the Chinese relationship with Pakistan has gorwn by leaps and bounds. Javed sees Premier Wen’s moves ” as a Chinese effort to retain balance of power in the region and to maintain Pakistan as a potent regional state.” the $35 billion in investment in Pakistan and the nuclear and space cooperation is unprecedented and will go a long way in shattering the US paradigm in South Asia. Javed is right when he says that the “US probably will need to revisit its notion of dominating Asian resources through India. In this rapidly transforming world the concept of having absolute supremacy is already outmoded. With the knowledge and technology explosion dominance of nations through military might or coercion is no more a viable option. The only way forward is mutual cooperation based on win-win propositions as China’s unprecedented support to Pakistan has blocked all Indian ambitions to isolate Pakistan on nuclear front”.

Malik Ayub Sumbal writing for the American correctly describes the new tone in Islamabad “Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s three-day visit to Pakistan in accompaniment with a huge business delegation, as well as subsequent statements and body language of the Pakistani politicians is a clear message of goodbye to the West.

Wen’s visit and the finalizing of forthcoming investments worth $20 billion raised serious concerns among the U.S. lobbyists here in Islamabad.

China has already invested $20 billion in Pakistan and has another $17 billion worth of projects ongoing. Approximately 10,000 Chinese workers are engaged in 120 projects in Pakistan, which includes heavy engineering, power generation, mining, and telecommunications.”

Sumbal is not alone in this analysis–the writing is on the wall for Americans–if they can get beyond the “do more mantra” and their paranoia of FATA.

The Chinese optimism about Pakistan puts  a spanner in the Bharati machinery and its local acolytes within Pakistan. Beijing’s confidence and support for the people and economy of Pakistan is raising eyebrows in theMiddle East and West Asia. Turkey, the seventeenth largest economy and a major regional power is working with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran to rebuild the ECO–a grouping of Muslim countries who were formerly shackled by the USSR. Their independence and the discovery of oil and gas in the Central Asian Republics, create opportunity and profit for the Muslims of West Asia. This reality is being recognized by the Muslims all over the world. The Chinese and Russians are building the infrastructure to get their goods to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. Pakistanis are willing participants in becoming the new trade corridor for China, Russia and the new Tans.

This week Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan are meeting in Ankara–rebuilding the ECO and trying t resolve the Afghan conflict among themselves. This trilateral dialogue is has become a powerful voice in presenting solutions to the Afghan quagmire. As the American prepare to leave, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey want to fill the vacuum so that outside forces do not take advantage of the ensuing dialogue. There is consensus that only the Muslim neighbors should resolve Afghanistan. Turkey is an acceptable broker for Iran, Pakistan, Kabul and the Taliban. There are rumors that the Taliban are meeting with Mr. Karzai in Istanbul, though this has not been publicly announced.

President Obama’s new review is being described as old wine in new bottle. The US is leaving Afghanistan–there is no doubt about it. Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors have committed themselves to fill the vacuum. This brings hope for the future of Afghanistan.



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