By Sajjad Shaukat
We are living in a world where shift occurs in international politics from time to time, depending on the relationship of big countries. Now, new geo-political scenario is emerging rapidly in the world, focusing on Afghanistan, while Pakistan has become special arena of the major countiries’ rivalries.
Although leaders of all the concerned countries expressed cooperation among themselves, emphasising stability in Afghanistan in various summits and conferences held in the recent years, yet all are preparing for the new cold war which US intends to initiate against China and Russia.
In this respect, during his Asia visit, on June 2, this year, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta disclosed in Singapore, “The United States will shift a majority of its warships to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020” as part of a new US military strategy in Asia. Panetta’s Asia visit came at a time of renewed tension over claims in the South China Sea between China and Philippines, a major US ally. Besides, US also backs other claimants like Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia by opposing China’s legitimate claim.
During his trip to Australia, on November 17, 2011, President Barrack Obama, while sending an unmistakable message to Beijing said, “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” and he would send military aircraft and Marines to Australia for a training hub to help allies and to protect US interests across Asia. Obama stressed that any reductions in America’s defense spending will not come at the expense of that goal.
Besides some other countries, America has also troops and security relationships with New Zealand and some Gulf countries. Disagreements also exist between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan issue. American strategic thinkers take China’s military modernisation as a great threat to its military bases in the continent.
While Russia opposes US intentions to deploy national missile defence system (NMD) in Europe, and expansion of NATO towards Eastern Europe. In this backdrop, the Russian President Putin had openly stated that his country was returning to its Soviet era practice.
Russia, on January 18, 2012 rejected the tough US-led western strategy of sanctions over Iran and Syria. In this regard, on February this year, Russia and China vetoed the UN Security Council resolution, calling the Syrian president to step down. Both Moscow and Beijing had also opposed the US-led NATO attack on Libya, while they have asked the US to resolve the question of Iran’s nuclear programme peacefully. But America and Israel are still acting upon a war-like diplomacy against Tehran.
Notably, old NATO ally Turkey also changed its policy. Now, by supporting the cause of Palestinians, Ankara is increasing trade with Iran—not to comply with sanctions against Tehran. Keeping new emerging geo-political scenario in the world, Pakistan is also strengthening its ties with Turkey.
While, since May 2, 2011, tension already existed in Pak-US ties when US commandos killed Osama Bin Laden, and the same received a greater blow on the November 26 incident which killed 24 soldiers on Pak Army outposts. In response, Pakistan blocked the NATO supply to Afghanistan and closed the Shamsi Airbase. Finally, Islamabad decided to reassess its engagement with the US. It also rejected American duress in relation to IP gas pipeline project with Iran, and is no more interested in the US-supported gas pipeline project, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP).
Taking note of US anti-Pakistan plans, besides China, Pakistan has also cultivated its relationship with the Russian Federation. Moscow and Islamabad agreed to enhance bilateral relations in diverse fields. In 2010, the then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin publicly endorsed Pakistan bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which includes Central Asian Republics as permenent members. Putin also remarked that Pakistan was very important partner in South Asia and the Muslim world for Russia.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari participated in the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization recently held in Beijing. While addressing the summit, hinting towards US secret designs, Chinese president Hu Jintao said, “The international situation has been complex, thus bringing many uncertainties to the regional situation. He explained, only when SCO member states remain united can they effectively cope with emerging challenges.” President Putin said, “SCO should enhance security cooperation.”
After the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014, US has decided to establish six military bases in that country having eyes on the energy resources of Central Asia, with multiple strategic aims against Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.
Meanwhile, during his recent visit to New Delhi and Kabul, by reviving old blame game, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta allegedly remarked that drone attacks would continue on terrorists’ safe havens which Pakistan “offers to insurgents in Afghanistan.”
Leon Panetta also encouraged India to take a more active role in Afghanistan in training the Afghan forces. India which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a wide-ranging strategic agreement with that country on october 5, 2011.
In fact, it is due to the Pakistan’s province of Balochistan where China has invested billion of dollars to develop Gwadar seaport which could link Central Asian trade with rest of the world irritates US and India. America which signed a nuclear deal with India has been providing New Delhi with sophisticated defence-related arms to make it a great Asian power to counterbalance China, control Balochistan and subdue Iran. For these purposes, American CIA Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have been supporting subversive acts in various places of Pakistan and separatism in Balochistan besides backing similar acts in the Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan including Tibetan regions of China.
At this delicate hour, when Pakistan’s diplomats were negotiating a complex issue of resumption of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan with America and no breakthrough occurred, drone attacks killed more than 50 people in FATA. This action is part of anti-Pakistan campaign.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar reiterated that seeking apology from the US on Salala incident is essential for reopening the NATO supplies. But top US officials refused to tender apology. Pakistan’s civil and military leaders remain firm on their stand that the issue of NATO supply lines would be decided in light of the parliamentary guidelines.
However, rapidly developing geo-political differences among global powers in Asia show that the next cold war is likely to be waged between the Russia-China alliance and the US-led block in Asia, while Pakistan has already become its arena. Hence, US-backed infiltration of militants from Afghanistan and unrest continues unabated in our country.
Pakistan is the only declared Islamic nuclear power. It has a strategic geo-political location at the corridor of world major maritime oil supply lines, and has close proximity to oil rich central Asian countries. Pakistan’s location could influences Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. So, Pakistan is focus of attention in wake of emerging geo-political scenario.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
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