The Silk Road has played a significant role in strengthening the socio-cultural and economic ties among the countries of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and China for centuries. However, certain political developments in the 21st century have disrupted the regional interdependence and self-sufficiency of these countries, particularly after the US invasion of Afghanistan. This article aims to analyze the role of India in destabilizing Pak-China connectivity and undermining the centuries-old regional interdependence through complex classical academic English language.
Destabilizing Pak-China Connectivity
India, being a regional rival of Pakistan, has been seen as a major impediment in strengthening regional connectivity and economic interdependence among Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and China. The Indian government has been accused of providing funds and support to separatist groups in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and sponsoring terrorism in the region. These separatist groups have been involved in attacking Chinese engineers and workers engaged in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that aims to connect China with the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe through land and sea routes. India has also been opposing the BRI project and discouraging its neighbors from joining it, citing concerns over debt sustainability and sovereignty issues.
Moreover, India’s recent military standoff with China in the Ladakh region has further strained its relations with China and Pakistan, as it has attempted to disrupt the regional balance of power and undermine China’s influence in South Asia. The Indian government has also been accused of exploiting the Afghan conflict to pursue its strategic interests and prevent the emergence of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. India has been providing military and economic assistance to the Afghan government and using its influence to promote anti-Pakistan sentiments in Afghanistan.
By analyzing the facts, it is examined that the socio-cultural engagements among Afghans, Iranians, and Pakistanis are strengthened through the integration of their social economies with the historical Silk Road. However, the US invasion of Afghanistan and the policies of the World Trade Organization’s Doha Development Agenda have played a role in shaping Pakistan’s adoption of a resistive economy. Despite this, Pakistan, under the leadership of figures such as Pervez Musharraf and Imran Khan, has made efforts to promote regionalism and bilateral/trilateral barter trade, while India has been seen as a major impediment to this regional integration. The Indian government’s attempts to destabilize Pak-China connectivity and undermine the centuries-old regional interdependence pose a threat to regional stability and economic development.
Note: This article is written by Dr. Muhammad Asim for the Pak-Iran Intellectuals Forum (Islamabad Office)