Is Pakistan's Global Diplomacy Working?

Diplomacy underlies all ties between nations. Diplomatic relations form the basis of travel, trade and investment between countries. The probability of armed conflict increases in the absence of diplomacy. In light of the recent failure to keep Pakistan off the terror financing watch list, the following question is being asked by political commentators and pundits: Is Pakistan's diplomacy working? To begin to answer this question, let's first look at where Pakistan ranks on Lowy Diplomacy Index. The 2017 Lowy Institute's Global Diplomacy Index visualizes the diplomatic networks of 60 G20, OECD and Asian nations, allowing users to view and compare some of the most significant diplomatic networks in the world.

Pakistani Diplomatic Mission Around the World. Source: Lowy Institute
Lowy Institute Data:

Pakistan has 116 diplomatic missions around the world. This figure includes 85 embassies, 29 consulates and 2 permanent missions. Pakistan ranks 27th among 60 countries ranked by Lowy. It ranks 7th in Asia .

Pakistan's arch-rival India has 181 missions, including 124 embassies and 48 consulates. India ranks 12th in the world and 3rd in Asia on Lowy Diplomacy Index. United States is number 1 and China is number 2 on diplomacy index. US has 273 diplomatic missions while China has 268. France ranks 3rd, Russia 4th and Japan 5th in the world.

Foreign Policy Objectives:

Pakistan does have a large network of diplomats and extensive presence of diplomatic missions around the world. But what is it for? The answer to this question requires understanding Pakistan's foreign policy objectives.

Pakistan, like any other nation, needs to ensure its national security in all its dimensions: political, economic and military. The nation has to participate in various international fora. It needs to project its soft power to cultivate friendly cultural and educational ties. Part of it is encouraging people-to-people contacts by promoting travel, trade and tourism.

Pakistani Diplomats Responsibilities:

Pakistan foreign service officers posted around the world have the responsibility to not only project Pakistan and its policies in a positive way but also to be the nation's eyes and ears giving information and feedback to policymakers back home.

Pakistani diplomats need to engage with their host nation's influencers as well as other nations' diplomats in foreign capitals and international institutions to promote friendship and goodwill for advancing Pakistan's foreign policy agenda.

Pakistani Diaspora:

Pakistani missions have the responsibility to provide services to 9-million strong Pakistani diaspora, the world's sixth largest.  This diaspora not only sends home nearly $20 billion a year but can also help in promoting Pakistan's friendly ties with the host nations. Pakistani diaspora represents a huge market opportunity for Pakistani exporters. Highly accomplished overseas Pakistanis can be a source of investment and expertise for their country of origin.

International Geopolitics:

All policies must take into account the shifting geopolitics of the world.  Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger put it best when he said: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”

Rapidly unfolding events confirm shifting post-cold-war alliances in South Asia. The Cold War ended in early 1990s when Pakistan was closely allied with the United States. Now China-Pakistan defense collaboration is strengthening. Chinese President Xi Jinping has committed investment of over $45 billion in Pakistan, representing the single largest Chinese investment in a foreign country to date.

Pakistan's Key Relationships:

Pakistan's key relationships are with China, US, India, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran and the European Union. These relationships require the greatest attention by Pakistani foreign and security policy establishment to advance the country's foreign policy agenda.

These relationships need the most care and feeding to achieve the objectives of peace, development, security and prosperity. The best and the brightest of Pakistani diplomats need to  be assigned to manage these crucial ties.

Current Assessment:

It's not fair to judge the entire foreign policy establishment based on the negative outcome of just one meeting at FATF. However, Pakistan needs to learn from it and fashion its policy in a rapidly evolving geopolitical reordering. Long term, Pakistan needs to continue to cultivate close ties with its traditional friends in China and the Middle East.  Pakistan must take seriously what Henry Kissinger said about US friendships: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” It must also assume that other leaders in the rest of the world say privately what Kissinger said publicly. 

Summary:

 Diplomacy underlies all ties between nations. Diplomatic relations form the basis of travel, trade and investment between countries. Pakistan ranks 27th in the world and 7th in Asia on Lowy Diplomacy Index. The 2017 Lowy Institute's Global Diplomacy Index visualizes the diplomatic networks of 60 G20, OECD and Asian nations, allowing users to view and compare some of the most significant diplomatic networks in the world.
In light of the recent failure to keep Pakistan off the terror financing list, the following question is being asked by political commentators and pundits: Is Pakistan's diplomacy working?   It's not fair to judge the entire foreign policy establishment based on the negative outcome of just one meeting at FATF. However, Pakistan needs to learn from it and fashion its policy in a rapidly evolving geopolitical reordering. Long term, Pakistan needs to continue to cultivate close ties with its traditional friends in China and the Middle East.  Pakistan must take seriously what Henry Kissinger said about US friendships: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” It must also assume that other leaders in the rest of the world say privately what Kissinger said publicly. 

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
EU Parliament Grants Pakistan Special Trade Status Despite Human Rights Warnings

MARCH 2, 2018

https://missionsbox.org/news/eu-parliament-grants-pakistan-special-trade-status-despite-human-rights-warnings/

BRUSSELS – The European Parliament warned Pakistan last week that the renewal of its favored status trade deal would be dependent upon the government’s release of a woman, Asia Bibi, who has been held on death row on a blasphemy case since 2010.

Prior to adjournment, however, the parliament voted to continue to extend economic favor to Pakistan despite the fact that the woman’s appeal is still pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The extracted delay has been decried as a human rights issue that must be addressed not only by the EU but by other organizations around the world.

From a global standpoint, the European Union has held the greatest leverage to prompt action by Pakistan leadership. The EU granted Pakistan Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) in 2013. Under this special trading status, 20% of the country’s exports to the EU have been tariff-free. Another 70% of their exports were tariffed at preferential rates.

In 2016, Pakistan exports to the EU were valued at € 6.173 billion (≈ $1.7 billion USD). That represented a 53.6% increase in export trade since gaining the GPS+ status. The loss of that status would deal the country a severe economic blow, in effect, making it incapable of competing successfully with other South Asian nations.

In light of a previous statement by Pakistani leadership that “gaining access to European markets was the top-most priority of the government,” the EU parliament pressed for action in the Asia Bibi case.

The case was reviewed by three Ministers of the European Parliament, including one from Pakistan. While the Christian Union Party lobbied against extending GPS+ status based “on questions regarding minority rights in Pakistan,” the recommendation to the parliament was to extend the special status base on the country’s ability to demonstrate “full and sincere compliance with 27 human rights conventions.”

Pakistan continues to enjoy the European Union’s GPS+ status. The human rights issue of Asia Bibi is ongoing but remains unresolved.
Riaz Haq said…
Globalisation Index 2016 (Trade, capital, information and people) : As world became less connected, India fell 16 spots over 11 years; scores lower on trade, FDI

As flows of trade and people fell the world over since the 2008 global financial crash, India dropped 16 spots to 78 (Pakistan 99) from 62 among 140 countries in 11 years , from 2005 to 2015, on a globalisation index brought out by international logistics company DHL.

The Global Connectedness Index 2016, the fourth since it was first released in 2011, prepared by Pankaj Ghemawat and Steven A Altman (both teach management at New York University Stern School of Business, United States) was released on 15 November, 2016.

The authors slotted India in the central and south Asia group along with Georgia, Turkey, Nepal, Pakistan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic and Sri Lanka.

India ranked 133 (Pakistan 137) on depth and 21 ( Pakistan 32) on breadth among 140 countries in 2015.

The index measures the parameters on depth and breadth. Depth evaluates the extent to which countries' international flows are distributed globally or more narrowly focused, while breadth compares countries' international flows to the sizes of their domestic economies.

Trade flows are measured by exports as a share of a country's gross domestic product, capital by foreign direct investment as a share of a country's gross fixed capital and international stock market investment, information by international connectivity and people by share of international tourists and university students and migrants as a share of the population.


http://www.firstpost.com/india/globalisation-index-2016-as-world-became-less-connected-india-fell-16-spots-over-11-years-scores-lower-on-trade-fdi-4354109.html


http://www.dhl.com/content/dam/downloads/g0/about_us/logistics_insights/gci_2016/DHL_GCI_2016_full_study.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan is About to Get a $7 Billion Capital Infusion and 1,000 New #Garment Plants to Revive its #Textile Industry. #exports #RMG

https://sourcingjournalonline.com/aptma-invest-7-billion-pakistan-textile-industry/

Pakistan and its textile sector have been facing challenging times in recent years, owed in part to costs of production increasing at a pace faster than its neighboring competitors, but a new infusion of funds could help get the country back on better footing.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) announced that its members have a plan to increase investment in Pakistan’s textile industry by establishing 1,000 garment manufacturing plants with a total of $7 billion in investments, according to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune.

The plan is to set up garment plants near major textile producing cities like Lahore, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Kasur, Multan, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Peshawar, with the plants installing half a million stitching machines, which will boost annual production to 3 billion pieces.

Pakistan’s textile industry has experienced decreasing investments over the last decade, as potential investors have been hesitant to make new investment due to high business costs. This has caused the sector to miss out on technological advantages to its competitors.

New investments dropped to more than half a billion rupees ($4.52 million) in 2016-17, compared to 1 billion rupees ($9 million) in 2005-06, the Tribune said citing APTMA. Further, currently about 35 percent of the textile industry’s production capacity was damaged, causing loss of approximately $4.14 billion worth of potential exports.

Once the proposal is implemented, the industry will need an additional 10.3 million bales of raw cotton, 345 million kilograms of manmade fiber, 1.98 billion kilograms of additional yarn and an additional 7.93 billion square meters of processed fiber. However, cotton-producing area and cotton production have decreased 30 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in Punjab since 2011.

Although the textile sector performed poorly overall, readymade garments did show reasonable growth. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, exports of readymade garments registered 5.55% year-on-year growth against the overall flat growth of the textile sector, which stood at $12.45 billion in 2016-17.

APTMA members has reportedly provided the government with a long list of corrective and conducive policy measure demands in return for their investments, including implementation of long-term policies, like consistent nationwide energy prices, removal of 3.50 rupees (3 cents) per kilowatt hour surcharge on electricity tariff, an extension of the duty drawback scheme for five years and drawbacks to be increased every year by 1 percent for garments (up to 12 percent) and made-ups (up to 10 percent) against realization of export proceeds.

The proposal also suggested the government allow LTFF (long-term financing facility) to indirect exports, Islamic financing and building of infrastructure for garment plants.
Riaz Haq said…
#Remittances from #diaspora keep #Pakistan's economy afloat. Estimates average from $1.7 to $1.9 billion a month, adding up to $22 billion per year. #IMF #Reserves #bailout #exports #trade #imports
https://www.khaleejtimes.com/remittances-keep-pakistans-economy-afloat

Pakistan's economic lifeline is its remittances. A staggering $2billion from overseas Pakistanis per month on an average is a blessing in disguise for the cash-starved economy and has widely helped in balancing payments towards imports, especially oil. They have acted as a catalyst in growth and investments. Undisputedly, it is one of the primary sources of foreign exchange reserves for the country and for an economy, which is ridden with inflation and slump in exports, the annual subscription of more than $25 billion acts as its backbone.

The good point is that despite somersaults on the global economic level and a nosedive, Pakistanis have stood fast in retaining their culture of remitting back home, and have widely entrusted the country's banks and other legal avenues for transfer of funds. Despite a wide gap in the dollar rates in open and banking markets, overseas Pakistanis preferred to send money mostly through the banking channel. This reflects their confidence in the government, as well as banks operating in Pakistan. The State Bank of Pakistan, in one of its recent reports, said that Pakistan has fared relatively better than other regional countries concerning foreign remittances.

Estimates say an average of $1.7 to $1.9 billion is received on a monthly basis, which accounts for a staggering $22 billion per annum. Most of the remittances are from the Middle East and Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman. Payments from all important destinations, except Saudi Arabia, showed positive growth. Inflows from the kingdom declined 7.5 per cent during the last fiscal year to the tune of 5.5 per cent. Nonetheless, Pakistan received $2.5 billion from Saudi Arabia in the year 2017. The second highest inflow is from the United Arab Emirates, which increased 1.13 per cent to $2.2bn.

A silent but sizeable chunk of remittances, although on a quarterly and six-monthly basis, are also registered from the United States, the European Union, South Africa and Australia. Many of the Far East Asian countries, especially Malaysia and Hong Kong, Korea and Japan also are potential remittances pockets. Remittances from the US have also seen an upward trend by around 10 per cent, to cross the barrier of one billion dollars per quarter. Similarly, inflows from the UK also recorded an increase of 23 per cent to $1.35 billion.

This primarily acts as seed money for the country's balance of payments, and to a great extent compensates for lack of foreign investment and slowdown in portfolio investments. The pre-budget Economic Review, however, estimated that remittances could grow by 50 per cent if the government provides due incentives to its non-resident citizens, and ensures that their foreign exchange is safe and reusable in the same currency. Likewise, remittances directly deposited in Pakistani bank accounts can also get a boost and shoot up to $100 billion - a retained safe territory, if stringent measures are taken and assurances on withdrawals limits are waived.

The free flow of foreign currency in the form of remittances can lift the economy to new heights. Pakistani foreign currency accounts maintained abroad are in billions of dollars, and a submission in the Senate of Pakistan said that they account for around $800 billion. That money sooner than later should be in the mainstream of Pakistan economy, provided anti-money laundering policies get thumbs up.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Scores a Rare Diplomatic Victory on #Kashmir. The #oicinmog2018 condemning ‘#Indian #terrorism ’ in Kashmir is a diplomatic triumph for Pakistan. #Modi #Muslims #Islamophobia #Hindutva @Diplomat_APAC http://thediplomat.com/2018/12/pakistan-scores-a-rare-diplomatic-victory-on-kashmir/

On Monday, the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a condemnation for the “wicked terrorist act by Indian forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir” after seven civilians were killed in Pulwama district on Saturday.

The OIC condemnation came after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote to the secretary general, with the United Nations secretary general and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also being approached.

While the OIC has called out Indian state brutalities in the past, the severity of the language in its latest statement is unprecedented, with the group categorically dubbing the Indian armed forces’ action “terrorism.”

Over the years, the OIC has largely expressed “deep concern” and “disappointment” and requested “restraint” in Indian-administered Kashmir. Even when violence escalated in summar 2016 following militant commander Burhan Wani’s killing in Kashmir, the then-OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani could only “express sorrow.”

Therefore, the language of the OIC’s condemnation this week is a clear diplomatic triumph for Pakistan, which has seen its narrative on Kashmir being increasingly ignored around the world, including Muslim states.

This was perfectly epitomized at the U.S. President Donald Trump-led Arab Islamic American summit in Riyadh last year. Trump, speaking amid representatives of the Muslim world, not only snubbed Pakistan, but actually called out Kashmiri separatist militancy as “terrorism.”

Probably the greatest demonstration of Muslim states’ indifference toward Kashmir is Saudi Arabia signing defense and counterterror pacts with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, under whose watch there has been an increase in anti-Muslim violence across India.

Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation, and the decreasing number of takers of its position in Kashmir, means that Islamabad has been increasingly hyphenating Kashmir and Palestine in a bid to gather more support around the world. Yet the Palestinian leadership has failed to back Pakistan’s Kashmir stance, and Israel maintains “there is no difference between Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hamas.” Islamabad has largely been devoid of diplomatic backing.

Hence, at a time while Islamist militancy is being universally shunned as terrorism, for the OIC to describe Indian state action as such provides legitimacy to Islamabad’s Islamist narrative – even if the backing has come from a group that represents Muslim states.

Pakistan will be looking to cash in on the diplomatic brownie points that it has won against India. Even so, Pakistan’s leaders are clearly not giving any thought to how Islamabad’s Islamist narrative on Kashmir has been detrimental for Pakistan itself.

The mullah-military stranglehold over the country has brewed jihadism in Pakistan for decades, with the military establishment’s desire to channelize militant Islamist groups toward India and Afghanistan having resulted in a boomeranging of terror on the state itself.

While tens of thousands of lost their lives owing to the jihadist maneuvers of the groups that got out of the Pakistan Army’s control, it has been mainstreaming the outfits so as to keep a check on the civilian leadership.

Hence, upholding the Islamist narrative continues to fuel jihadism in Kashmir, while sustaining the multipurpose “strategic assets,” whose militants are deployed for cross-border assignments while their political wings clip civilian authority.

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Riaz Haq said…
Foreign policy agenda 2019
Munir AkramUpdated December 23, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1453105

UNLIKE its daunting domestic objectives, Pakistan’s external agenda, though challenging, is fairly clear. And, although overstretched, Islama­bad has the capacity in its Foreign Service and the ‘security establishment’ to address this agenda.

Building the Pakistan-China strategic partnership: China has the strategic motivation and financial, technological and weapons capabilities to help Pakistan emerge as a militarily strong and economically dynamic state. The substance and depth of the future strategic partnership will depend mainly on the ability of the Pakistan government and its private sector to conceive and execute cooperative projects and ventures with China. A special entity dedicated to timely and efficient implementation of CPEC could be decisive in realising its full potential.

Managing Sino-US rivalry: The Trump administration has designated China as a strategic competitor and opposes China’s Belt and Road Initiative including its flagship, CPEC. The US diplomatic and media onslaught against China and CPEC has intensified. In fact, China’s investment and infrastructure building can help stabilise the entire South Asian region including Afghanistan. With growing indications that Donald Trump wants a hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan, agreement on the role China can and should play in stabilising the region must become a priority for Pakistan’s regional diplomacy.

Pakistan should revive its traditional leadership role in the Muslim world.

Afghanistan: Pakistan and US positions appeared to converge recently as the US belatedly accepted the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan and opened direct talks with the Afghan Taliban which Pakistan facilitated. However, the entire negotiating process, including the one initiated by US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, may be thrown in disarray by Trump’s announcement to withdraw 7,000 US troops from Afghanistan. Sensing US abandonment, and under unrelenting Taliban pressure, the Kabul ‘unity’ government, even the Afghan National Army, may collapse, reviving the likelihood of another prolonged civil war.

Read: First Pak-aided US-Taliban talks held in UAE

Pakistan’s diplomacy must work simultaneously with the US and China, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia to prevent civil war and promote a viable political settlement in Afghanistan. A conference involving these states and major Afghan parties could be convened to draw up the broad parameters of such a settlement.

Pakistan-US: In Trump’s ‘America First’ environment, there is a growing ‘Washington Consensus’ against China, Russia and the Muslim world, including compliant ‘allies’. The US has been reluctant to acknowledge Pakistan’s cooperation on Afghanistan and continued to adopt punitive measures against it. If the US leaves Afghanistan without a political settlement, it may feel free to take further action against Pakistan. Islamabad needs to negotiate the structure of its future ties with the US in tandem with arrangements for US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. After America’s exit, Pakistan’s leverage will be diminished.

Kashmir and India: It is evident that Imran Khan, the PTI government and Pakistan’s army chief desire normalisation with India. This sentiment is not reciprocated, although Pakistan’s unilateral gesture of opening the Kartarpur corridor put New Delhi temporarily on the defensive. In the run-up to the 2019 Indian elections, the Modi government may seek to revive its flagging political fortunes by generating hostility against Pakistan, or even ‘limited’ military action, on some cooked-up pretext. Pakistan must remain vigilant and defeat any aggressive move.
Riaz Haq said…
Foreign policy agenda 2019
Munir AkramUpdated December 23, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1453105

Kashmir and India: It is evident that Imran Khan, the PTI government and Pakistan’s army chief desire normalisation with India. This sentiment is not reciprocated, although Pakistan’s unilateral gesture of opening the Kartarpur corridor put New Delhi temporarily on the defensive. In the run-up to the 2019 Indian elections, the Modi government may seek to revive its flagging political fortunes by generating hostility against Pakistan, or even ‘limited’ military action, on some cooked-up pretext. Pakistan must remain vigilant and defeat any aggressive move.

Normalisation with India is highly unlikely so long as it continues its oppression in occupied Kashmir and refuses to resume a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan. To defend Kashmiris’ fundamental rights, Pakistan must launch an international diplomatic and media campaign to project and condemn India’s human rights violations in occupied Kashmir (confirmed and documented in the recent report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights).

Terrorism: India’s campaign to portray Pakistan as a sponsor of ‘terrorism’ is designed to constrict Islamabad’s ability to advance its national security and economic development goals. Fortunately, this campaign, although supported by the US, has failed so far. Pakistan must kill it. To this end, it could: 1) fulfil its obligations under relevant UNSC resolutions (placing required restraints on designated entities and persons); 2) insist on elimination of the BLA and TTP presence from Afghanistan in the context of an Afghan political settlement, and 3) launch a diplomatic and media campaign to project India’s state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and from Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Saudi Arabia and Iran: The government has, by force of circumstance, revived Pakistan’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Their financial support is essential at present to keep the economy afloat. The future commercial viability of Gwadar (and CPEC) depends to a considerable extent on its emergence as the oil and gas transshipment centre and a petrochemical complex. This will become feasible if Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies route a part of their oil, gas and refined product exports through Gwadar to China.

Pakistan should resist the urge to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran, at least for now. Pakistan’s ties with Iran are vital and Saudi-Iranian reconciliation is essential for regional peace and stability. However, the US and Israel are likely to subvert mediatory efforts. Riyadh is vulnerable to US pressure at this time. Pakistan still has issues to resolve with Iran including the reported presence of RAW operatives on its soil and cross-border incidents eg the recent attack on the FC patrol.

Economic diplomacy: Pakistan’s diplomats and embassies should play a larger role in promoting trade and investment. But Pakistan must first be able to produce goods and services it can export and create the economic environment conducive for foreign investment.

Islamic world: Pakistan should revive its traditional leadership role in the Muslim world which confronts multiple challenges. An initiative to provide humanitarian support to Muslims in occupied territories and war zones could be a worthy initiative.

Global challenges: Nor should Pakistan discard its traditional leadership role at the UN and other international fora. Although by population Pakistan is the sixth largest country, it has been excluded from most groupings of the powerful — G20, BRICS, APEC, etc. Yet, by this very token, Pakistan is well placed to lead the vast majority of developing countries, which have also been excluded from these ‘elite’ groups, and ensure their voices are heard on global issues like climate change, development and disarmament.
Riaz Haq said…
2018 in review: Pakistan's foreign relations in flux
A look at all the ups and downs in Pakistan's relations with key countries in the outgoing year.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1452600

Pakistan had a busy 2018 with regards to developments on the external front.

The Foreign Office diary was full of new chapters on Pakistan's ties with the United States, China, India and Afghanistan. Some estranged allies, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), also featured prominently in the second half of the year after pledging financial support to shore up Pakistan's sagging economy.

Turkey and Malaysia too found honourable mention.

While Turkey was the only country to support Pakistan against a US move to put it on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list, it also vowed to support the country on the matter of Kashmir in the United Nations.

Similarly, Malaysia welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan on his first visit to the country, and Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad also accepted PM Khan's invitation to visit Pakistan on March 23 next year.

The visit was marked by goodwill and bonhomie, which wasn't surprising given the similarities between the anti-graft missions of both heads of state and the circumstances in which they assumed power in their respective countries.

Take a look at the key developments in Pakistan's foreign relations by clicking on the tabs below.

Riaz Haq said…
#Indian foreign policy not walking #Modi’s big talk. #India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy can’t get over the #Pakistan hump. Its ‘Act East’ policy is limping along. Also endangered are India's larger strategic plans to counter #China’s #BRI and #CPEC. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/12/24/indian-foreign-policy-not-walking-modis-big-talk/

24 December 2018
Author: Bharat Karnad, Centre for Policy Research

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/12/24/indian-foreign-policy-not-walking-modis-big-talk/

Now India is facing the music for Modi’s gullibility. Washington has allowed New Delhi only a 138-day reprieve on sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act to zero out its oil purchases from Iran. Similarly, Washington has offered only a conditional waiver for India’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system. Finally, disregarding Modi’s fevered pleadings, Trump shut down the H1B visa channel for Indian tech employees to work in the United States — a move that seriously hurt India’s US$200 billion IT industry.

Modi seems unaware of the geostrategic costs of surrendering India’s foreign policy space, freedom and flexibility. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has declared without a trace of irony that ‘there’s no contradiction between strategic autonomy and strategic partnership’. Modi appears little concerned that his overly friendly attitude to the United States could lose India its access to the Iranian port of Chabahar, for example. Also endangered are larger strategic plans to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative by consolidating India’s rail and road connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia, to pincer the Pakistan and Chinese navies operating out of Gwadar, and general concerns to hinder the enlargement of China’s military footprint in the Indian Ocean.

The truth is the Indian government has not walked Modi’s big talk. India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy can’t get over the Pakistan hump. Its ‘Act East’ policy is limping along. The build-up of military cooperation with Southeast Asian states, especially Vietnam, is slow-paced and lackadaisical. Security links with Japan are in the doldrums despite Modi’s annual summits with Abe. Notably, the Indian defence bureaucracy has sidelined a flagship project — which Japan is willing to subsidise — involving transfer of the ShinMaywa US-2 flying boat’s entire production line to India. Elsewhere, the development assistance that Modi has promised Central Asian states is floundering for want of an efficient delivery system.

All these disappointments take place while China is racing ahead to cement its domination of Asia. The odd ‘success’, such as Indonesia handing over Sabang port in Sumatra for eventual Indian naval use, highlights a receptive milieu should India care to capitalise on its opportunities.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan foreign policy 101
Ashraf Jehangir QaziUpdated January 26, 2019

https://www.dawn.com/news/1459874/pakistan-foreign-policy-101

Pakistan has 10 major external relationships. Primarily: India, China, the US, and Afghanistan; and significantly: Iran, the GCC countries, Russia, the European Union (which still includes the UK,) the Central Asian states, and the UN.

India is Pakistan’s major adversary. China is Pakistan’s only strategic partner. The US is still the world’s mightiest and only comprehensive global power. Afghanistan is a force multiplier for Pakistan’s security or insecurity. Iran confronts Pakistan with critical choices.

Powerful vested interests define the national interest and make foreign policy. What is to be done?

The GCC countries are a major source of remittances and ‘brotherly’ assistance which almost always entails an embarrassing price.

Russia in partnership with China is a significant counterforce to the US and its alliance with India. Moreover, it has the potential to bring about a less imbalanced Russian policy towards India and Pakistan.

The EU is a major market and the Pakistani community in the UK (and the US) can be a foreign policy asset.

Central Asia can provide ‘strategic depth’ to Pakistan’s connectivity-based diplomacy. Improving cooperation with Russia can help here also.

The UN may seem irrelevant. It is not. It is where a country’s image, profile and voice are confirmed and contested. It is the forum in which the credibility of a foreign policy is measured. Its agencies, funds and organisations can be important knowledge-intensive and problem-solving assets.

Due to space limitations only Pakistan’s four ‘primary’ relationships will be very briefly commented on.

India: The core issues for Pakistan are progress towards a Kashmir settlement acceptable to opinion in the Valley and radically improving the horrendous human rights situation there. For India it is Pakistan’s use of “terrorist proxies”.

These core issues need to be addressed to the satisfaction of each other if dialogue is to be meaningful. Finding common ground for a negotiating process to be sustainable is a challenge.

Indian interference in Balochistan is a fact. However, the Balochistan ‘problem’ is not of India’s making. It is due to institutionalised bad governance and exploitation over decades.

Pakistan should continue to extend its hand of cooperation irrespective of a lack of response from India. It should keep the LoC quiet as best it can. It should build on the Kartarpur initiative. It should extend normal trading or MFN rights as promised. This is arguably a WTO obligation also.

Pakistan should offer travel, communications, confidence and security-building (including regular nuclear and water-management) discussions and proposals. Let India take its time to respond. Pakis­tan cannot lose by being consistent and reasonable.

Realistic rather than provocative narratives need to be developed. The people of both countries need to get to know each other more directly instead of through warped images.

Differences need to be contained, addressed and reduced through a realistic working relationship. This will enable South Asia to meet the survival challenges of the 21st century.

The leaders of both countries should make appropriate statements, stay in touch, and unfold a range of innovative initiatives. If India demurs, even after its elections, that is its problem.

China: The BRI and CPEC are golden opportunities for Pakistan. But they are not magic wands. Moreover, no other country is willing to invest on such a scale in Pakistan.

Pakistan needs to look after its own interests without making disconcerting public statements. It needs to assure the Chinese that it is a reliable economic and strategic partner.
Riaz Haq said…
Globalization of #Pakistan Army. It has global diplomatic footprint including defense diplomacy, conflict resolution, peacekeeping, international education and last by no means lest – #military sales and #defense cooperation. #pakistanarmedforces @TRTWorld https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/the-internationalisation-of-the-pakistan-army-25300

The Pakistan Army is making a concerted effort to relieve itself of its dependency on the US, and it might be working.
As the recent National Day military parade shows, the Pakistan Army now has a global diplomatic footprint that is turning into a multi-faceted force that includes defence diplomacy, conflict resolution and peacekeeping, international education and last by no means lest – military sales and defence cooperation.

It is a sharp contrast to September 11, 2001 – when under pressure and isolation threats, the then Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Musharraf buckled under American pressure. Almost two decades on, the Pakistan Army has become one of the most international armies in the world – more than three dozen militaries from around the world from Latin America to Australia are undergoing training in Pakistan’s various service staff colleges, and defence cooperation with emerging BRICS powers is at an all-time high.

The diversification also underpins the new geopolitical realities of the army – unlike 2001 – it has nothing to fear as its allies and strategic outreach diversifies beyond an old dependence on American equipment and financial aid.

The legacy of American dependency

After September 11, 2001, one could hardly blame Musharraf as he realised the limitations of the army’s fighting position – after a decade of US sanctions following the Pressler Amendment, Pakistan’s military was in bad shape and could not challenge any American threats.

The Pakistan Air Force and the two dozen F-16s were hardly in a serviceable condition - its force was almost wholly just trained to fight on its eastern border rather than a counter-insurgency on the Afghan border as the Americans were demanding.

The US has been blackmailing Pakistan for almost three decades on the sale of F-16s, even the ones that Pakistan paid for were not delivered – and only after Pakistan agreed to take part in the global war on terror did F16s start arriving after two decades.

Even then Pakistan had to go to Turkey and Jordan for the delivery as a more reliable partner albeit with American permission. Pakistan is also yet to take delivery of Bell AH-1Z helicopter – the first batch was meant for delivery in 2017.

As of last autumn, it was reported that these latest sales are being blocked and kept in storage after Trump’s cancellation of military aid. It is here where American foreign military sales—while still in demand—are no more a considerable nuisance for Pakistan. Over the last decade, Pakistan has firmly moved away from dependency on American military equipment and towards new international partnerships and self-reliance through an indigenous weapons program.

Pakistan’s international training program

Just as the US announced last year it would cut Pakistani military participation in its elite training institution, the Russians signed a historic first welcoming Pakistani officers at their top military academies and colleges. Not only is this a complete reversal of Pakistan’s Russia policy but also a new era of Pakistan’s defence diplomacy. Similarly, the two have now set up regular training exercises, and Pakistan has bought attack helicopters.

Beyond just being at the receiving end of training, Pakistan had become the first non-Western army to have a platoon commander at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, when Major Uqbah Hadeed Malik became the first Pakistani instructor at the world’s premier defence academy. Under Uqbah’s command the finest British officers and international cadets went on to graduate – subsequently Uqbah’s successor, Major Umar Farooq won the prestigious Sovereign Platoon, the best-trained unit at Sandhurst.
Riaz Haq said…
#India further behind #China during #Modi's 5 years. #Beijing continues to outspend India on #defense, reforms in its #military and #diplomatic structures, and built strategic #infrastructure in #Pakistan. #CPEC #BRF2019 https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/from-economy-to-defence-india-under-modi-slips-further-behind-china-119042800117_1.html#.XMXdeKONUM4.twitter


Yet for all that, India has only fallen further behind China over the past five years. Beijing has continued to outspend India on defense, implemented sweeping reforms in its military and diplomatic structures, and built strategic infrastructure in India’s backyard -- not to mention providing arch-rival Pakistan with defense technology.

“It’s impossible to keep pace with China,” said Vishnu Prakash, a former Indian ambassador to South Korea and consul general in Shanghai. “We cannot get into checkbook diplomacy with China. We don’t have that kind of economic muscle.”
Whether Modi returns to power or not, India’s next government will still be saddled with aging equipment like Soviet-era MiG warplanes, a bureaucracy that hinders military upgrades and an undersized diplomatic corps. To fend off China, it’s likely to continue shifting toward the U.S. and other like-minded countries in Asia while seeking to protect its periphery.

“A major long-run test for India is to ensure that China does not turn India’s own geography against it by encircling it with a string of military bases in the Indian Ocean,” said Rory Medcalf, who heads the National Security College at the Australian National University. “Delhi will play a long game. As India’s economy grows, this will still eventually translate into the world’s third-largest defense budget.”


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"Admittedly, China has a much larger economy and defense budget in line with its own needs and plans," Rao said. "India is not in any arms race with any country and has a defense budget that is adequate as per its needs. Streamlining the armed forces and reforms has been an ongoing process."

Still, India continues to lag China on every geopolitical metric, according to the Lowy Institute’s Asia power index, which ranks countries according to economic resources, military capabilities and diplomatic influence.

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Modi’s injection of personal enthusiasm into Indian foreign policy hasn’t led to more resources at the severely short-staffed Ministry of External Affairs, said Happymon Jacob, associate professor at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of International Studies. India only has roughly 940 diplomats compared to China’s estimated 7,500.
That lopsided situation is echoed in the armed forces. Xi has overseen China’s most sweeping military reforms since the 1950s, cutting back non-combat personnel and modernizing its military technology with space and cyber operations. Meanwhile, India maintains a sprawling 1.4-million strong army and spends the bulk of its defense money on salaries and pensions, rather than new equipment.

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Beijing has also kept India out of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which controls the export of nuclear materials, and recently blocked Indian and Western efforts at the United Nations to list as a designated terrorist the leader of a group that claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries.

Riaz Haq said…
Ex #Indian Diplomat: The prospect of peace in #Afghanistan is real — and #Pakistan is the key player. It is the finest hour of Pakistan’s statecraft since the country’s creation in 1947. Ghani’s government will collapse the moment the #US ends its funding https://www.alternet.org/2020/03/the-prospect-of-peace-in-afghanistan-is-real-and-pakistan-is-the-key-player/#.Xl8f_NpagfI.twitter

Sirajuddin’s mainstreaming (with U.S. acquiescence) is a guarantee for Pakistan that India’s influence with the Afghan security agencies will be terminated and its capacity to inflict damage on Pakistan’s national security interests will be rolled back. The U.S., arguably, has no quarrel with the legitimacy of Pakistan’s security concerns in this regard.

Pakistan’s main objectives are threefold: a friendly government in Kabul so that peace and tranquility prevail on the Durand Line; strategic depth vis-a-vis India; and a regional security paradigm where the U.S. geo-strategy remains critically dependent on Pakistani cooperation for a foreseeable future.

Pakistan’s trump card is that it is the only credible guarantor on the horizon who can reasonably assure the Western world that Afghanistan will not again become the revolving door for international terrorism. Trust Pakistan to play this card optimally.

The peace dividends are already appearing for Pakistan to garner. On February 27, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced the agreement to allow Pakistan to access $450 million out of a $6 billion bailout package. So much for the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force’s gray lists and blacklists of “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories.”

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The chasm between illusion and reality in politics remains perennial. Wars seldom ended according to the script of peace agreements. The fall of Saigon in April 1975 ending the Vietnam War, with defeated Americans hastily retreating in helicopters from the rooftop of their embassy, was not anticipated in the Paris Peace Accords of January 1973 that were painstakingly negotiated by Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese politburo member Le Duc Tho.

Therefore, the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29 must be put in proper perspective. Indeed, there can’t be two opinions that the curtain is coming down on what U.S. President Donald Trump called the “endless war” in which America squandered away over a trillion dollars and lost thousands of lives with no victory in sight. Equally, without a doubt, this is the finest hour of Pakistan’s statecraft since the country’s creation in 1947.

The odds may seem loaded against the dawn of peace in Afghanistan. After all, it is a hopelessly fragmented country, desperately poor with a subsistence economy where opium production is the principal source of income, a critically important geopolitical fulcrum for the Eurasian supercontinent (full of very valuable resources and also a pipeline route for oil and natural gas) and, most importantly, a playpen for al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

No doubt, each of these variables will surge in the coming weeks and months. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has already put a question mark on the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners from prison, which has been an important precondition that finds specific reference in the Doha pact.

However, in such pacts, what is more important is often what is not mentioned.
Riaz Haq said…
#Kavkaz2020: Why #Russia’s Latest #Military Drills Are a Golden Opportunity for #Pakistan! 18 nations, including #China, Pakistan & Central Asian nations are participating. #India has withdrawn from opportunity for military diplomacy. @Diplomat_APAC https://thediplomat.com/2020/09/kavkaz-2020-why-russias-latest-military-drills-are-a-golden-opportunity-for-pakistan/

Pakistan can also use the opportunity to reset relations closer to home. The scenic Wakan corridor separates Pakistan and Tajikistan and at their closest point, the two countries are a mere 10 miles apart. Despite historical and cultural ties between the two Asian nations (both were part of the Arab Umayyad and Persian Empires) and their joint participation in several infrastructure and energy projects (the Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Program), Tajikistan plays host to India’s only air force base outside of its borders. The Farkhor Air Base lies around 81 miles southeast of Dushanbe and perilously close to Pakistan’s northern border with Afghanistan. Indian fighter jets taking off from the base can reach Pakistani airspace in little more than a few minutes.

Naturally, this has put a significant strain on relations with Islamabad. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are no major military ties or significant arms deals between Pakistan and Tajikistan, and if the former plays its cards right, it could use the drills as an opportunity to pull Tajikistan away from India’s military grip.

Military drills are often seen as a show of common strength between allies and a warning to others. However, for Pakistan it would be wise not to see these drills as a show of strength, but rather as an important opportunity to further its relationship with the former Soviet World. India’s recent decision to stay away from Kavkaz 2020 along with the sheer number of former Soviet states participating in them suggests a golden opportunity Pakistan cannot afford to ignore.
Riaz Haq said…
The Myth of American Exceptionalism
The idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous may be comforting to Americans. Too bad it's not true.

By Stephen Walt


https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11/the-myth-of-american-exceptionalism/


Over the last two centuries, prominent Americans have described the United States as an "empire of liberty," a "shining city on a hill," the "last best hope of Earth," the "leader of the free world," and the "indispensable nation." These enduring tropes explain why all presidential candidates feel compelled to offer ritualistic paeans to America’s greatness and why President Barack Obama landed in hot water — most recently, from Mitt Romney — for saying that while he believed in "American exceptionalism," it was no different from "British exceptionalism," "Greek exceptionalism," or any other country’s brand of patriotic chest-thumping.

Most statements of "American exceptionalism" presume that America’s values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration. They also imply that the United States is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage.

The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America’s global role is that it is mostly a myth. Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities — from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom — the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else.

This unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism makes it harder for Americans to understand why others are less enthusiastic about U.S. dominance, often alarmed by U.S. policies, and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy, whether the subject is possession of nuclear weapons, conformity with international law, or America’s tendency to condemn the conduct of others while ignoring its own failings. Ironically, U.S. foreign policy would probably be more effective if Americans were less convinced of their own unique virtues and less eager to proclaim them.

What we need, in short, is a more realistic and critical assessment of America’s true character and contributions. In that spirit, I offer here the Top 5 Myths about American Exceptionalism.

Myth 1
There Is Something Exceptional About American Exceptionalism.

Whenever American leaders refer to the "unique" responsibilities of the United States, they are saying that it is different from other powers and that these differences require them to take on special burdens.

Yet there is nothing unusual about such lofty declarations; indeed, those who make them are treading a well-worn path. Most great powers have considered themselves superior to their rivals and have believed that they were advancing some greater good when they imposed their preferences on others. The British thought they were bearing the "white man’s burden," while French colonialists invoked la mission civilisatrice to justify their empire. Portugal, whose imperial activities were hardly distinguished, believed it was promoting a certain missão civilizadora. Even many of the officials of the former Soviet Union genuinely believed they were leading the world toward a socialist utopia despite the many cruelties that communist rule inflicted. Of course, the United States has by far the better claim to virtue than Stalin or his successors, but Obama was right to remind us that all countries prize their own particular qualities.

So when Americans proclaim they are exceptional and indispensable, they are simply the latest nation to sing a familiar old song. Among great powers, thinking you’re special is the norm, not the exception.

Riaz Haq said…
America also prides itself on being a rational society. In many ways, it is. It is heir to the great story of Western civilization with its foundation in reason and logic. The scientific revolution that boosted Western civilization enabled its domination. With the advantage of a vibrant market, the strongest universities, and the most highly educated elites in the world, America assumed that no society could compete with it in the critical domains of economic and military strengths, intellectual ingenuity, and moral supremacy. Americans also assumed that since they had the most open society on the planet, the various mechanisms of this open society would alert America if it took a major wrong turn. Sadly, this has not happened in recent decades. Most Americans are unaware that the average income of the bottom 50 percent of their population has declined over a thirty-year period.* This didn’t happen because of one wrong turn. As this book will document, America has turned away significantly from some of the key principles that defined social justice in American society. America’s greatest political and moral philosopher in recent times has been John Rawls. Through his works, he tried to distill the wisdom of the philosophy of the great European philosophers, which America’s Founding Fathers learned from. Unfortunately, many Americans are unaware how much they have turned away from some key founding principles. Similarly, few Americans are aware that the world has changed in many critical dimensions since the heyday of American power in the 1950s. In 1950, in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms, America had 27.3 percent of the world’s GDP, while China had only 4.5 percent.* At the end of the Cold War, in 1990, a triumphant moment, America had 20.6 percent and China had 3.86 percent. As of 2018, it has 15 percent, less than China’s (18.6 percent).* In one crucial respect, America has already become number two. Few Americans are aware of this; fewer still have considered what it means. Even more critically, the global context in which the US-China rivalry will be played out will be very different from that of the Cold War. The world has become a more complex place. It is clear that America remaining the preeminent world power, while not impossible, is going to become more and more unlikely unless America adapts to the new world that has emerged.


Mahbubani, Kishore. Has China Won? (pp. 9-10). PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.
Riaz Haq said…
Lowy Institute Power Index: Pakistan is a middle power in Asia.

The country’s overall score has remained unchanged over the past year.

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40027514

Pakistan performs best in the future resources measure, where it places 7th, reflecting an anticipated demographic dividend to 2050. Its lowest ranking is in the economic relationships measure, coming in at 20th place.

In 2020, Pakistan saw its greatest improvement in economic capability, resilience and diplomatic influence, where it moved up one place. However, it has also slipped by two places in the defence networks measure relative to 2019.

Pakistan exerts less influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s negative power gap score. While Pakistan is a net underachiever in Asia, its negative power gap improved in 2020.

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Pakistan 15th most powerful country in Asia with biggest gains in diplomatic influence: Report


https://www.brecorder.com/news/40027514

Pakistan's major improvement has been in future resources measures, economic capability and resilience
India's overall score declined by 1.3 points as it trended down in cultural influence, future resources, economic relationships and diplomatic influence

Key figures

The report stated that in 2020, Pakistan had the biggest gains in diplomatic influence with (+3.8) points. However, it lost some points in cultural influence with (−3.9).

Elsewhere, it improved in resilience with (+1.3) points and future resources (+1.2) points, while trending down in defence networks with (−1.9) points. Its military capability stood at (−0.8) points and economic relationships at (−0.2) points. The score for economic capability remained unchanged this year.

Pakistan's major improvement has been in future resources measures, where it is placed on 7th rank reflecting an anticipated demographic dividend to 2050. Its lowest ranking is in the economic relationships measure, coming in at 20th place.

In 2020, Pakistan saw its greatest improvement in economic capability, resilience and diplomatic influence, where it moved up one place. However, it has also slipped by two places in the defence networks measure relative to 2019, the report mentioned.

Pakistan's negative power gap also improved in 2020, the report stated.

India's score declines

On the other hand, Pakistan's neighbouring country India lost the most points in cultural influence with (−5.3) points. Elsewhere, it trended down in future resources with (−4.9) points, economic relationships at (−2.9) points and diplomatic influence with (−2.6) points.

The report maintained that India's overall score declined by 1.3 points as compared to 2019. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has also affected the economic forecast of the country for 2030.

India also slipped into 7th position for economic relationships, as it falls further behind in regional trade integration efforts. The decision to withdraw from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership has been damaging in this regard.

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