Emerging Role of China in South West Asia

Since her inception as the Republic of China, her role in South West Asia has been of immense importance. The paradigm of Chinese foreign policy has gradually changed since the socio-political change in China with the implementation of Deng Xiao Ping’s philosophy of socio-economic change at internal level; however, the foreign policy remained subject to the national interests. After achieving the goal of financial supremacy globally, the foreign policy approach seems to have changed from passive to active.

The initiative of President XI Ping of connecting Chinese economy with the global economy by road and railways has proven a game changer in the global politics. The CPEC in Pakistan has triggered a conflict between the USA and China for establishing an economic hegemony in South West Asia.

China is ambitiously struggling to reduce the distance and Indian- US threat to its trading ships in the Arabian and Indian ocean by utilizing the Gawadar Seaport option. On the contrary, the USA is well aware of the geo-strategic significance of Gawadar and Pakistan. Thus, USA is exerting pressure on Pakistan to “do more” in Afghanistan to bring Pakistan and China to the terms and references of its agenda. The USA is playing its card of Arab monarchies and narrative of their close cultural and Islamic ties with Pakistan to counter CPEC. The efforts to create rift between Iran and Pakistan is part of that agenda.

Gawadar has not only invited increasing interference of two major global political forces, the USA and China, in South West Asia, but it also has involved the neighboring states of Iran and India to jump into this global game due to their own politico-economic interests. The analysis of the situation reveals that Pakistan looks towards CPEC as an economic and strategic change for its economy and security.

Pakistani policy makers believe that CPEC can secure Pakistan from any foreign invasions and interference. Second, Chinese investment may uplift Pakistani economy. Third, the peace in Afghanistan can provide access to Central Asian Republics (CARs) which are rich in mineral resources. The land locked Afghanistan and CARs, if they use the land and sea route of Gawadar , it not only helps Pakistan to overcome its energy crisis using CARs natural gas, but will also enhance the trade between this region that might culminate into an economic block on the model of European Union. This is the focal point that actually Americans have taken seriously. They want to avert the situation in their own interest.

As far as the role of India in this region is concerned, Pakistan suspects Indian intelligence agency for its increasing cooperation with Afghan intelligence NDS to launch a proxy war in Balochistan to sabotage the CPEC and Gawadar project. However, it remains to be seen as to what extent the entry of IMF into Pakistan’s financial institutions may influence CPEC and Pakistan’s national security strategy.

The changing paradigm of China’s foreign policy of economic supremacy at global level has increased her role in the region. China’s emerging role cannot be ruled out straight away particularly when Pakistan has always been heavily dependent on China politically, militarily and economically . Undoubtedly, the Chinese economy is stronger than that of America despite the military might of America. But in fact, military might may fail to guarantee the national security and sovereignty. The disintegration of USSR in 1990 is a precedent in recent history. Deng Xiao Peng learned lesson from it. Will the Pakistani policy makers consider the example of USSR disintegration to save Pakistan?

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