Re-Alignment Of Foreign Policy: Options For Imran Khan – OpEd


After the end of the Cold War and especially 9/11 incident, the world political structure has changed. In contemporary twenty-first century, the states power has been increased in every means and every state wants to make it more and more powerful in realism lenses and in the context of economic, political, and diplomatic. Besides this, the national interests of countries force them to redesign their policies and their relations with neighboring and global countries.

Being an active player of World political Theater, Nuclear power and highly vigorous head of Islamic World, Islamic Republic of Pakistan is now celebrating its seventy two years of independence year under the headship of the twenty second prime minister of country Respected and Honorable Mr. Imran Khan. After the inauguration of new government under PTI (Pakistan Threek_e_Insaf) political party in 2018, besides the ambitions to make country “New Pakistan” with the pure rule & law, developed economic system, finest developments in every field, the currently prime minster of Pakistan has been facing very treacherous internal and external challenges including poverty, lack of standard education, corruption, internal political instability and particularly nastiest diplomatic approaches. 

From the very first day of his government, Imran Khan has done a potent commitment to make country more developed. With the best Geostrategic location, nuclear power, near to Middle East, active political player of South Asia, near to Central Asia region and having largest Arabian Sea which connected with Indian Ocean, Pakistan has got  more and more worth in world’s major power policy maker’s diaries.  With the structural change of world politics, states are seemed more active to reshape its policies, strategies, economic guiding principles and diplomatic paces.

National interests are the first priority and most important as well as crucial factors behind the transformation of course of action, strategies and building relations of any state with another. “There is no permanent friend or permanent enemy in international politics but permanent national interests, a friend of today may be the enemy of tomorrow and enemy of today may be the friend of tomorrow.” Under the premiership of respected Imran Khan, the current government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan needs to reshape its precedent foreign policy, re-examine the principles of foreign policy with passage of time and learn much more from the past mistakes before making potent diplomatic relations with regional, neighboring and extra-regional powers especially towards the rising powers of Asia e.g China, Russia, India and Japan.

With rapid economic growth, advancement in technology, military progression, and located in the North of Pakistan, China is the most powerful country in the Asian as well as world political theater. Both countries have been enjoying friendly diplomatic relations since their inauguration in late 1940s. Pakistan and China has indispensable story of diplomatic relations and help each other in the times of need. During the Indo-Pak War 1965 and 1971 and in any hitch time, People’s Republic of China supports Pakistan in every context.

Under the headship of president of Pakistan Yayha Khan, Pakistan play its vital role to rehabilitate the diplomatic relations between USA and China. By adoption of Ping-Pong Diplomacy, the Chinese table tennis team visits the USA and plays the series of Table Tennis. This event makes closer the two states. From nuclear support, foundation of heavy mechanical industry in taxila and Wah in Pakistan, advancement in arms and military technology, hold up Pakistan stance in Kashmir issue to CPEC, China support Pakistan with firmly believe that Pakistan-China friendship is higher than Mountains and deeper than Arabian Sea.

On the other side, the story of Pakistan-USA relations has also worth in history diaries. After the end of WWII, and the inception of Islamic Republic of Pakistan as independent state in South Asia, the diplomatic relations started between both countries. The formal relations was started, when Pakistan joined the US based security blocs named SEATO & CENTO against communism state USSR and ignore the USSR and China. From the very first day of independence, Pakistan always rise hand in the favor of the USA e.g. Join security blocs of SEATO & CENTO against communism, show her presence in the classroom of the US in Cold war between the two superpowers, play proxy war against USSR invasion of Afghanistan on the behalf of the US, the inauguration of China-US relations in 1970s and declare itself as ally of the US against War on terror after the 9/11 incident.

But the US never supports the Pakistan as Pakistan needs. After the disintegration of the USSR, end of the Cold War and especially after the horrible incident of 9/11, the priority of the US has changed and the US policy makers reshape its main concern from Pakistan to India. From “Bush Doctrine in 2001 to Howdy Modi-Trump meeting 2019 and coming Trump Visit to India Feb-2020” the two democracies are now indispensible for each other and Pakistan can feel sense of inferiority on this awful act of the US. But, apart from all the divergences e.g the nuclear deal with India and increase nuclear race in South Asia, paradox role during Indo-Pak Wars 1965 and 1971, the visit of Respected Prime minister of Pakistan Mr Imran Khan to the US declare that Pakistan always do respect to other countries especially the stakeholder of the peace United States of America because respect and dignity is also the principle of Pakistan’s foreign Policy. Besides these two major powers of this current global politics, Russia rapprochement towards Pakistan can also be considered.

Apart from the cold war divergences, in contemporary time Moscow tilt towards Islamabad is also meaning full. Due to admirably Geo-strategic location of South Asian region, very near to Middle East, Central Asia and Indian Ocean, the region is always in the eyes of policy makers of the world major stakeholders of politics. The re-emergence of Russia in Asia and ongoing Russia-China détente post 9/11 period and Russia-China-Pakistan South Asian political order are the positive sign for Pakistan and red signals for the policy makers of pentagon and New Delhi to think carefully about Pakistan and other South Asian states. 

With the transformation of twenty century towards twenty-first century and changes in structure of political theaters, changing in Geopolitics realities and national internets of the states, Pakistan should also revisit its foreign policy, renew priorities and make new friends according to new realities. Apart from past misunderstandings, divergences of interests, and to make puppet in the hands of other states like past, Pakistan should adopt independent and solid foreign policy and decisions to make itself more progressive country of the era. To overcome the economic challenges, Pakistan should signed economic, trade agreements and signed MOUs with economic powers and most priority is rising economic giant China. To resolve regional issues with India like Kahsmir, Sir Creek, and others, Respected Mr. Imran Khan should do direct dialogues with eastern neighboring country primer leader with independently approach, on SAARC and on other regional or international forums and the US, Russia and China should also play their vital role to resolve these issue for the peace and prosperity of the region.  Being a founding member of OIC (Organization of Islamic conference), Pakistan should play fundamental role to resolve the problems of Islamic Ummah and try its best to decrease the tension between KSA and Iran. Now, this is the time to change the priorities of country according to the national interests and must avoid making marionette in the hands of others. Furthermore, as a powerful nuclear power of South Asia region, Pakistan should change the format of diplomatic box files and make sensible foreign relations with both two active giant of world politics America and China with new realities because both countries are important for Pakistan. In addition, delete the options button to opt any single country and build up paramount diplomatic relations with all countries because in this ongoing globalized and complex political structure of world, state can’t survive independently especially without major powers like according to Aristotle “Man is social animal and can’t live independently”.

Imran Khan should focus the diplomatic relations with neighboring countries and try its best to resolve regional conflicts through peace process with Iran, Afghanistan and India. Due to military advancement and active appearance of Russia in Asian affairs and vigorous occurrence in Central Asia politics, can be helpful for Pakistan for the future fulfillment of energy as well as military equipments need. So, the story of relations with Russia is very important now for Pakistan. With the title of Superpower since almost 30 years, the USA is energetic global political hegemon, Pakistan should try to eliminate misunderstanding between Islamabad and Washington and try to convince the US to act with Pakistan as like as equal to India. CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) is the game changer as well as the changing the destiny of the Pakistan towards prosperity and progressive economic growth. 

Currently, Pakistan needs to adopt multilateral approaches and should be adopted different course of actions in the context of re-alignment of its foreign policy e.g (i) Look east policy, (ii) enhance China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation, (iii) strengthen CPEC. (iv) Adopt multilateral approaches and build strong relations with Russia, (v) Improvement of relations towards neighbor Iran and Afghanistan,(vi) support regional organizations SAARC, SCO and ASEAN, (vii) neutralizing Indian hegemony in the region, (viii) and should play active role for the peace of world and region.                                     

*Rana Danish Nisar is a PhD (International Relations) Student at the School of Politics and International Studies (SPIS). He holds Mphil in (International Relations), Masters in (Pakistan Studies), and Masters in (International Relations) degrees. He won acceptance Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations HPAIR, 2017.  His research interests are broadly in South Asian Affairs, South Asia Geo-Politics, US and South Asia, Indian Ocean, Security studies, South Asian developments studies.

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