General Bajwa’s recent visit to Moscow came in the midst of important and landmark changes in international relations. The nuclear Armageddon in Korean Peninsula seems to have been put on the backburner, so far, as Kim Jong Un stepped across the 38h Parallel to embrace President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. Another major development has been Indian Prime Minister Mr Modi’s sojourn to China on an informal visit and his discussions with President Xi on variety of issues, the body language between both leaders was very positive and they agreed to develop a better understanding of each other.
These three visits and meetings, when combined give one loud message, the world is fed up of chaos and wars unleashed by the western powers and Eurasia was moving in a new direction, disregarding West’s quest to maintain the status quo. Should the United States change her policy to accommodate the changes in Eurasia and maintain her relevance in it; this is an important question to be answered by head honchos of White house and the Capitol Hill.
Coming back to General Bajwa’s visit to Russia and the new trajectory of Russia Pak relations; Bajwa was very clear and lucid when he proclaimed that ‘Pakistan wants to get out of Cold War era’s zero-sum dynamics’. These historic words have a background and premise and should be applied in a new and emerging framework of Eurasia.
Pakistan has started receiving Russian military hardware related to capacity building in War on Terror, on 10 April it received the first batch of Mi-35 advance attack helicopters, this came as a good will gesture between both countries prior to landmark visit by Pakistani COAS to Russian Federation.
Russian and Pakistani interests have converged on many issues and developments. Peace in Afghanistan and specter of rise of ISIS, which threatens both Pakistan and Russia, has brought both countries together, while Russia would like to contain the ISIS well away from the Oxus River, Pakistan would want it to stay away from interfering in Pakistan. Both countries have also developed a better understanding of post war Afghanistan and Russian leadership has been regularly hosting Pakistani and Afghan leaders in Moscow for Afghan conflict resolution. As desired by both Russia and Pakistan, a post conflict Afghanistan should help in building bridges between Eurasian states and become a harbinger of peace for the entire region.
Interestingly, Russia has supported Pakistan in major international forums and dialogues, including those held in India. President Putin also helped Pakistan when a Russia based Baloch dissident leader Mr Jumman Khan Marri joined the mainstream and denounced RAW sponsored terrorism in Balochistan.
Russia has been the most vocal exponent of Eurasianism, a concept developed by Alexander Dugin and adopted by the Moscow cabal of Duginists under the auspices of President Putin.
Another major factor driving Russia to cement ties with Asian countries like China, Turkey and Pakistan is the prospects of Quad(US India Japan Australia) alliance, which could seriously hurt Russo-Chinese interest in the Pacific and undermine Russian doctrine of Eurasia.
While nothing is black and white in international relations, the second decade of 21st Century has something to offer to all students of political science and diplomacy. This decade is the cross roads of multi-alignment, India has adopted this approach with dexterity and astute diplomacy. While India has maintained cordial relations with the Arab states in the Persian Gulf, it has developed strategic ties with Islamic Republic of Iran, similarly India has been able to maintain a balance in her relations with Israel and Palestine. In the Indo Pacific, India has agreed to become part of the Quad or Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond (US, India, Japan, Australia), while she woos both Russia and China in economic and military cooperation as well as trade.
Unfortunately; Pakistan has learnt the hard way and has started working on the issue of multi-alignment in recent past. While Pakistan has maintained strategic partnership with China since two decades, its growing ties with the Russian federation should be seen through the prism of multi-alignment. Russia may join indirectly the CPEC venture, through actively using the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation platform; after all, CPEC has the potential to directly and indirectly connect and benefit more than sixty countries of Eurasia and Africa.
SCO may be able to bring militaries of two major arch rivals, India and Pakistan at one point to cooperate in training for anti-terror drills and exercises, as reported in some sections of the press, Russia will be hosting a military exercise under the banner of SCO which will include eight countries, including India and Pakistan.
Pakistani politico military leadership has shown maturity and foresightedness in becoming a part of the Eurasian dream; full marks should be given to General Bajwa to not only being part of the process, but also leading the way for this noble cause. Pakistan’s challenges in the field of economy and security warrant a very different approach, than keeping all our eggs in one basket. While Pakistan may build upon her traditional relations with the West and US, she has to embrace the reality of an emerging Eurasia, led by China and Russian Federation. Eurasian, geographical contiguity combined with desire for a peaceful world, as displayed by China and Russian Federation, could trigger more initiatives like Korean Peninsula and we may witness a dawn of lasting peace in South Asia.
The writer is a freelance journalist.