Humans have always had the urge to triumph over destiny. An undying urge to achieve power is a basic human instinct. If power is then extended to others to form a community of commonality, again with a purpose of sustaining power, we could speak of a ‘community of destiny’. So, for better or for worse, humankind is more or less a community of a shared destiny.
In 2007, the phrase ‘community of common destiny’ was coined in China and was officially adopted by former president Hu Jintao to strengthen relations between China and Taiwan. The term was then re-invigorated by President Xi Jinping, shortly after he took office with the purpose of advancing a win-win co-operational strategy in International Relations. He opposed this to the crippled and hackneyed Western ‘win or lose’ or ‘zero sum game’ (your loss is my win) kind of strategies, and the attended tactics that have ferociously abused world peace and state security for far too long.
The regional and global challenges involved in creating the ‘community of shared destiny’ between China and Pakistan could be elucidated. President Xi Jinping started this process in 2013, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif greeted this strategic vision. The incisive question arose regarding the connotations and importance of the construction of a ‘community of a shared destiny’ between the two nations.
As the world has witnessed since 9/11, there have been paradigm shifts in the socio-political realm on regional as well as global levels in the form of the ‘Global War on Terrorism’, the presence of security forces in Afghanistan (a uni-polar hubris), an economic war between the US and China and the creation of new border lines and neighbourhoods in the Middle East.
One also might mention globalisation that incudes the onset of conceptual re-orientations, transitional uncertainties, ideological muddles and economic imperatives. Together, they have brought about a turbulent phase with economic interdependencies and a changing nature of war. As far as the security of a state is concerned, the general view is that ‘an unstable state is an insecure state’.
At present, Pakistan still confronts a multitude of maladies. Waves of radicalism, militancy and terrorism emanating from Afghanistan and its own borders constantly threaten to inundate Pakistan and its interests.
Internally, we still lack a democratic political culture which could strengthen the contours of our state structures through its continuity. Economic depravity, poverty, social fragmentation, and radicalism are some of the other prominent reasons that have been pushing our country into its downward spiral.
This being said, the Pakistani people have been through thick and thin and believe that the worst is now behind them. Gradually, hope was revived when Pakistan’s military forces started a firm campaign with the resolute intent of wiping out terrorism, militancy and extremism.
The China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC) provides an economic blanket at the right time. Our military, along with all stakeholders and the entire nation, is firmly committed to eradicating the menace of terrorism once and for all.
For China, the concept of creating a ‘community of shared destiny’ has resulted from the threats posed by the horrendous hegemonic designs of the West to rule the world. China cannot afford to have strained relations with its neighbours in the region. It’s rise is grounded on the policy of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit, inclusiveness, respect for other states and the principles of equity and equality, refraining from aggravating other states’ internal problems.
Instead of harping on the approaches of creating a community of destiny, those indicators should be examined which could help cement the existing ones in creating an everlasting life for a community of destiny. As a geo-strategic and geo-economic project, the CPEC can serve as a remedy for Pakistan’s multifaceted ills in the realms of the economy, terrorism, education, health, roads and infrastructure, and so on. China’s shared destiny is a blessing in a sense that it can enable Pakistan to be self-reliant in all sectors, unlike the US, IMF and the World Bank, who try to keep developing states under their ruling thumbs and hardly encourage them to become self-reliant.
Both China and Pakistan should always join together to think regionally and act globally. Each side must stay vigilant against the efforts of foreign forces that might try to disrupt the economic and social harmony between them. Regional peace plays a central role in the completion of economic activity on such a large scale.
China sees Pakistan as a key player in the emerging geo-political and geo-strategic landscape. It sees Pakistan’s vision of becoming an ‘Asian tiger’ as congruent with the Chinese ‘One belt, one road’ dream. Both countries need to stand on their own and continue to devise policies against the backdrop of regional and global pressures. A relaxed attitude could unfortunately ruin the whole concept of their ‘community of shared destiny’.
The writer is a research analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Islamabad.