EU looks at Pakistan as a solution to regional problem, moot told
KarachiThe European Union (EU) has looked at Pakistan more as a solution to the regional problem due to its strategic geo-political placement, whereas the US might consider Pakistan as part of the problem due to growing Islamisation.Nausheen Wasi made this observation while speaking at a one-day workshop held at the
By our correspondents
March 07, 2015
Karachi The European Union (EU) has looked at Pakistan more as a solution to the regional problem due to its strategic geo-political placement, whereas the US might consider Pakistan as part of the problem due to growing Islamisation. Nausheen Wasi made this observation while speaking at a one-day workshop held at the Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi, in collaboration with the Hans Seidel foundation Islamabad on “The New Emerging Dynamics of Us-India Relations: Responses from Europe and Pakistan”. Dilating on the issue of terrorism with regard to EU-Pakistan security and foreign policy dialogues, she pointed out that the protagonists in the region, i.e. India and Pakistan, followed a three Ds approach, based on defense, deterrence and dialogue. Afghanistan, however, could be looked at as a footnote to the India-Pakistan rivalry, he said. Wasi stressed that the South Asian politics was largely influenced by the Cold War, and India had been cautious in maintaining ties with Russia as always despite the recent overtures between US and India. The director of the Area Study Centre for Europe, Prof Dr Uzma Shujaat, shed light on the changing contours of the South Asian region with India and China as principal actors. She said there new power narratives for the 21st century, as the rise of China, India, Brazil and other emerging countries had transformed the geopolitical landscape. The problem of American power was what to do in the light of realisation that even the largest country could not achieve the outcomes it wanted without the help of others, she said. So, she said, the US was facing the rise of the rest, namely China, India and Brazil. Taken as a whole, the newfound vitality in India’s approach to foreign policy and the pace and extent of its engagement with the US represented a “tilt” in India’s foreign policy orientation, indicating the departure from historical, dogmatic reverence for a non-alignment in favour of policy that was proactive and nimble in pursuit of furthering India’s national interests. Prof Dr Arshad Syed Karim offered a conceptual framework based on a binary ‘Maryada’ and ‘Maya; the dichotomy between the realist and the materialist schools of thought. He traced the shifting power dynamics over the course of history, linking it with the current developments of US-India partnership. He dilated on the recent US-India partnership and Pakistan-China ties as an application of the materialist and realist schools of thought respectively. Dr Noman Sattar addressed the US policies towards South Asia with particular reference to the US-India nexus. Tracing the history of the US-India ties against the backdrop of the Cold War, he highlighted three important epochs of history: the US response to the 1962 Sino-Indian border conflict, the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war and the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war resulting in the secession of East Pakistan and emergence of Bangladesh as a new country. According to Dr Sattar, 9/11 has triggered new dimensions in geo-politics, giving rise to US-India-Afghanistan triangle, and US-Pakistan-Afghanistan triangle, both faced with different and divergent challenges. Pakistan and India territorial rivalry dominates the South Asian regional politics, thus allowing the US the room to get involved in South Asian politics. For now, peace and stability in South Asia is largely shaped by a third actor, Afghanistan. Prof Dr Hamadullah dwelled on South Asian regional politics from a sociological standpoint. He dilated on the role of a needs-based analysis for a society. According to Dr Hamadullah, since society can be treated as an organic whole, with the passage of time society evolves and revises its interests. Hence hitherto arch enemies can be seen bonded in the process of socio-economic integration. Sajjad Ahmad spoke on “Nuclearisation of India and Pakistan: Quest for Peace in South Asia”. He elucidated not only the factors involved in the domestic politics of both the countries, but also how these factors influenced the international scenario. He said Pakistan gaining the GSP plus status in 2013 and the subsequent increase in growth rate had been taken with a pinch of salt in India. Because of the conventional animosity between the two countries, i.e. India and Pakistan, there was no going back on the path of military enhancement, he said, adding that in order for peace to endure in the region, nuclear power was more of a problem than a solution to the problem. Najmuddin A Shaikh was the discussant of the workshop. He covered the subject of the workshop at length by pointing out that international relations were driven by facts and ground realities. Shaikh pointed out that international relations were driven by facts and ground realities and not so much by the philosophical precepts; hence, geopolitics remained fluid. Against the backdrop of India-US relations, it was not for the first time that Pakistan had been ignored, he said. Shaikh stressed that one must bear in mind the increasing security risks in Pakistan which played a pivotal role in the US president not visiting Pakistan. Referring to the Clinton’s visit to Pakistan, he said that it was markedly different for the US president than it was for him in India. In Pakistan, he drove through deserted roads due to security threats. Obama’s visit to India, which happened for the first time in the history of India, that a US president visited twice, must be analysed against facts. On the face of it, he said, it looks like a cementing of ties, but in reality geopolitics is geo-economics. Since India is reluctant to revise its nuclear programme, given the situation, no US company would be interested to set up a nuclear plant in India. Yet India remains a principal actor, and Modi’s slogan of promoting ‘Make in India’ does auger well for the country. Shaikh was of the view that the indigenisation of Indian products is doing considerably well in the defense sector as Indian missiles are rated high. Statistically, the defence budgets are growing and in the case of the US it stands at $585 billion, China’s at $130 billion, and India’s at $40 billion. The withdrawal of the US troops is not a favourable situation for the region, as in the absence of US troops, and lack of reconliatory process between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the menace of Talibanisation will pose threat and a civil war might ensue in Afghanistan, whose impact cannot be ignored on Pakistan, said Shaikh. Pakistan must pursue a step-by-step approach, dealing with terrorism in North Waziristan, Khyper Pakhtunkhwa and lastly in urban centres to cleanse the country of terrorism, he suggested.