Are Pakistan, Iran and China prepared for trilateral nexus? by *Ghazanfar Ali Garewal
A Pakistan-China-Iran nexus would help development for as many as 3 billion people in the region. To this end, the three countries have to employ three formidable forces: economic diplomacy, regionalism, and multilateralism. As of now, the architecture of the nexus is in its preliminary stage and to materialize its vision, there must be a long-term plan for financial integration and the nature of coordination.
The slump in the global economy and a negative approach toward globalization has whetted the economic appetite for the rising Asian states. Partly, this also accounts for the presence of too many initiatives of regional connectivity. Asia is in dire need of development, and these three countries must realize that only those who will deliver to the good of the people can win.
The present chief of Pakistani army staff, General Qamar Bajwa, made a historic visit to Iran and stated that his country was determined to expand its ties with Tehran in all spheres. Iran reciprocated the general’s goodwill by inviting Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo,Pakistan’s minister for ports and maritime affairs and chairman of Gwadar Port, to the inauguration of Chabahar Port.
Linked with this is the issue of “sisterhood” of Gwadar and Chabahar ports. At the time of Chabahar’s inauguration, a Memorandum of Understanding of Sister Ports was signed between Pakistan and Iran. But again, the nature of sisterhood in this MoU reflects nothing but ambiguity.
It is time to shift from a defensive to a proactive approach. There are too many initiatives for regional connectivity, accelerating geopolitical rivalries, but only the one that delivers will succeed. The key to success lies in developing consensus among the regional players through multilateralism and economic and cultural diplomacy.
* Ghazanfar Ali Garewal is a lecturer in the international relations department of the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad and coordinator of the department.