“No nation can have a sure guide as to what it must do and what it need not do in foreign policy without accepting the national interests as that guide” (Morgenthau)
Barry Buzan in his book People, State and Fear argued that the concept of security was very narrow, and he aimed at giving a broader framework and holistic approach to security by integrating the factors that were not previously considered as a part of the concept such as regional, environment, societal sectors.
As far as the security of Pakistan is concerned, its security problems are related to the geography of Pakistan as well as its historical experiences. The geography of Pakistan is an important factor as its borders expand from the Arabian Sea up to the mountains in the north and it further has borders on both sides. A hundred kilometers here and a hundred kilometers there. It has a little strategic depth. Moreover, security problems arise from the fact that Pakistan was carved out of India. However, both the states recognize each other but still in the psyche of India they regret that they had lost a big chunk of their territory back then and not to mention the bone of contention between the two states i.e., Kashmir.
In the International arena where numerous world orders are competing for power, Pakistan’s concept of security in its foreign policy is based on three factors i.e., hyperpower, rising power, and defensive power which include the United States, China, and Pakistan. Pakistan since its inception has sailed through murky waters and had adjusted according to the shifting dynamics and emerging strategic developments. Although having important strategic assets like its geography, historical experiences, population, and size, Pakistan remained reliant on internal as well as external factors.
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The relations of Pakistan with other states were dominated by the search for economic prosperity, cooperation for security, peace, and stability. Over the past years, Pakistan has succeeded in adjusting itself to the shifting geo-strategic security environment. From isolation to incorporation, descent to ascent, and compromise to cooperation, Pakistan’s foreign policy translates trends of challenges, trials, and prospects over the past seven decades.
Pakistan and India have traditionally been major actors in defining South Asia’s security environment due to their peculiar ties. Under Shahbaz Sharif and Modi, bilateral ties between Pakistan and India are likely at their lowest point in almost a decade. While Modi was the first politician to congratulate Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Sharif reacted with zeal, expressing a desire for “serious conversation” and a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir problem. The two presidents are also alleged to have communicated via diplomatic channels.
In the event of reconciliation between Pakistan and India during the present administration, the re-opening of Pakistan’s trade links with India may provide significant economic and geopolitical benefits to India. For example, reopening the Wagah border may allow India to link to Afghanistan and then to the Central Asian Republics. With such a scenario, India’s commerce in the area will significantly diversify. Strategically, unlocking the borders will allow India to infiltrate its spies and fund terrorism in Pakistan.
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Pakistan and the United States have seen highs and lows in their relations. The dynamics between the two were exploited by India in a variety of ways, including urging the US to pressure Pakistan in several forums, notably the FATF and IMF, which harmed not only Pakistan’s economic progress but also its international standing. Observing recent political upheavals in Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the United States of interfering with and ousting their legitimate government through a foreign-aided vote of no confidence. The topic was presented at a time when the country was approaching stability and there was little chance of an indigenous move. According to Khan, Pakistan was given no choice but to join the American coalition against Russia and China. The subject was presented at a time when the country was approaching stability and there was little chance of an indigenous move. According to Khan, Pakistan has been left with no alternative but to join the American camp against Russia and China or to join the opposing camp and face America’s hatred.
Previous governments made a lot of mistakes in their dealings with the United States, our main commercial partner and the state that influences international organizations’ decisions. Engaging in conflict with them would be suicidal. Because of this approach, the current government found it difficult to re-establish the connection. Shehbaz Shareef must make some headway in this area to build trust between Pakistan and Western powers and to engage all stakeholders in a calm and cooperative manner for Pakistan’s long-term interests.
The political changes in Pakistan had recently fuelled speculation about the possible impact on China-Pakistan relations, it remains clear that the high level of mutual trust between the two sides forms a solid guarantee that bilateral economic and trade cooperation won’t be affected. In a speech after winning the election, the newly elected Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif stated that he will vigorously promote the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Since Pakistan hosts CPEC -the flagship project of China’s BRI, which in turn is the linchpin of China’s rise to an economic giant, it pushes Pakistan to US’s attention default, even if the bilateral Pak-US ties are removed from the equation for a moment. For this reason, it is imperative to understand that the US would certainly want to have more than ever presence in Pakistan, be it through political maneuverings, military relations, or diplomatic clout. To confront China’s unabated economic as well as diplomatic embedding in the important South Asian country the US is expected to resort to several ways, often some with unwarranted consequences for Pakistan. In this regard, the impending FATF’s technical team’s visit to Pakistan assumes paramount significance given its arm-twisting attributes and the US’s leverage over it. What’s more concerning, given the Socio-Political dynamics of Pakistan, is the anticipated US pressure on Pakistan to recognize Israel.
Constructing a close affable relationship with Afghanistan is a high priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy and a vibrant module of our vision of a “peaceful neighborhood.” Pakistan advances its efforts for fashioning a friendly and good-neighborly relationship with Afghanistan, on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. but, all may not be smooth and well in a complex relationship between two neighbors. In the recent verbal contest between officials of the two states. the Afghan deputy foreign minister accused Islamabad of “receiving millions of dollars” from the US to allow American drones to fly over Pakistan’s airspace for conducting operations in Afghanistan after Pakistan’s PM address at the United Nations, in which he clarified that Pakistan shared the concern of the international community regarding up surging terrorist groups in Afghanistan. These kinds of hurly-burly debates have been playing a vital part in Pakistan and Afghanistan ties. To manifest Cooperative relations with Afghanistan are a strategic obligation for Pakistan but that does not diminish the many ongoing problems that stand in the way of achieving this.
While Pakistan has done a great job of thriving in an environment where it has political instability, is a hostile neighbor, and is at the crossroads of great power competition. It is important to take the emerging scenarios into consideration by focusing on all political, diplomatic, ideological, and realpolitik realities that serve Pakistan’s national interest, especially in the long run. The pivotal geographic location of Pakistan has made the state, the center of attention in the global political landscape, which not only provides many opportunities for Pakistan but also raises many challenges for the state. To design a balanced and cordial foreign policy in the current dynamic political picture, administrative, executive, and security institutions are playing their role to facilitate Pakistan’s national security and foreign policy.