As the global economy recovers from the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic and grapples with disruptions caused by Ukraine war, governments see trade as a major part of its economic and geopolitical agenda. Pakistan belongs to this club but divergence down to contrasting philosophies and conflicting (according to an observer) ground realities appear to make it not an easy ride with respect to its eastern neighbor India.
“Logically yes, we should follow purely geoeconomy as a campus in our foreign relations,” analyst Amb. G R Baloch says, “but on both sides of the divide so much gap has been created that 75 years look 75 centuries,” he adds.
Amb. Baloch thinks its a matter of statesmanship on both sides. “Since the two communities lived together and spoke same languages i.e. Punjabi, Sindhi, Gujrati, Bengali etc., it would require statesmanship of high caliber on both sides to reshape narratives for a peaceful and prosperous South Asia.”
“Statesmanship of high caliber on both sides” sounds philosophical given ground realities, according to a defense and security expert.
“India under BJP is following apartheid policy and the Indian Muslims have already been marginalized; the next stage of dehumanization is in the process. It cannot be justified even on the most materialistic scales”.
A Middle-eastern analyst’s long-held view has been that both neighbors should step back from being perennially in a warring-like stance, and join hands to fight poverty together. The analyst holds strong views though on what’s happening with Indian Muslims and has been sharing reports and videos –a gesture I take it demonstrates he’s concerned about the situation in India involving Muslims.
The defense and security expert points out that in his view, shift from geostrategic to geoeconomy doesn’t justify compromising on Pakistan’s core national interests.”
According to him, trade with neighbors is important and “must be pursued.” “What is our largest import item? Energy?” According to him, “why don’t we get oil and gas from Iran,” he suggests.
“Next on the import list is chemicals”, he continues. “We import chemicals worth $14 billion every year…why don’t we get from Iran?”
“If we manage the above two import items at discounted rates, it will leave enough fiscal space to import any thing from any where in the world,” he adds.
Crossing the Rubicon needs leap of faith on this calculus in order to demonstrate pro-geoeconomy pundits that frontloading it would make the analyst’s Iran suggestion look better in terms of dollars and cents and in terms of sense and sensibilities–sanctions against Iran notwithstanding. In my view, geoeconomy aye voters can’t have the cake and eat it too: OK with India but a No No with Iran.
Irshad Salim, Karachi (Sep. 1, 2033)
Honorary contributors to DesPardes: Ajaz Ahmed, Ammar Jafri, Anwar Abbas, Arif Mirza, Aziz Ahmed, Bawar Tawfik, Dr. Razzak Ladha, G. R. Baloch, Jamil Usman, Jawed Ahmed, Ishaq Saqi, Khalid Sharif, Masroor Ali, Md. Ahmed, Md. Najibullah, Shahbaz Ali, Shahid Nayeem, Syed Hamza Gilani