Talk on “Pakistan’s Role in the Region”


Pakistan’s Role in the Region
Talk at FSA, 26 February 2019

World is changing rapidly:

  • Post WWII order is crumbling: Transition from uni to multi polar.
    • Change is ubiquitous: Trade, Immigration, Nationalism.
    • Major power competition intensifying. Trump’s America First and Strategies.

South Asia too is impacted by the global trends:

  • US tilt towards India, a destabilizing factor for South Asia.
    • China Pakistan alignment.
    • Hindutva
    • Afghanistan. A change in US approach has kindled ray of hope.
    • Broader ME. US approach fueling Iran Saudi rivalry.

Role that Pakistan can play in the region:

  • CT achievements, Afghanistan peace (US withdrawal, talks with Taliban) Spoilers: NUG, regional players.
    • Dealing with Modi’s India: Pulwama of 14 Feb, kinetic vs non kinetic options. Persecution of Kashmiris and Muslims. Water, FATF, Jhadev.
    • Balancing relations between US and China: Competition, Indo Pacific strategy, Gwadar.
    • Delicate balancing act in the ME. KSA vs Iran. MBS visit to Pk 17 Feb. Sistan incident of 13 Feb.
    • Internal challenges: Economic pressures shrink foreign policy choices, Need aid, IMF. Political stability, Extremism, Youth, Image.

Way Forward:

  • Quaid guidance: Peace within and without. No aggressive designs.
    • US-China: Not a zero sum for us.
    • India: Dialogue, but no compromise on K.
    • Iran-KSA: Keep the balance.

Afghanistan: Hope kindled. Facilitate US Taliban talks. Intra afghan talks. Help build regional consensus.