Pakistan as a member of South Asia

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Now a days if you we watch social, electroninc and print media of India and Pakistan than everybody is looking conquering other. On both sides the sanity looks missing and the writers or anchors who blame other on both sides of the border with low graded words and arguments are considered valuables. But one should understand that there is no alternate to peace for the people living in this part of the world.

Here we have to understand that Pakistan is part of the South Asia that has become the fulcrum of geo-economics cross currents of 21st century. It is now going to become centre of power in a political universe which is more complex and fluid due to the growing multiplicity of nation-states, but also due to non-state actors in a mix in this region.

South Asia is without any doubt is a diversified and problematic region. The conflict within South Asia enables the major states outside the region to play their role in its politics. The outside states approach the politics within South Asia from the perspective of their global political agendas.

The United States maintains interest in the region for pursuing its global political agenda concerning China and its economic interests in the Asia-Pacific region. China seeks a relationship with South Asia through economic connectivity and support for economic development. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor and the “One Belt, One Road” project are concrete examples of China’s agenda for global economic interaction. Russia in the past giving attention to India is now exploring more comprehensive relationship by cultivating other states as well.

Three major features dominate in the region: they are ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity in the region as a whole and in each country. There is hardly any ethnically homogeneous country. South Asia constitutes about 22 percent of world population where there is a neglect of human welfare. Relatively here less state funds are used for health care and education. Poverty and under-development is noticeable in all South Asian countries as evident from the given table.

The gap between the rich and the poor is wide in the South Asia with polarization on the front of illiteracy and literacy. In Sri Lanka 90% of population is literate whereas in Pakistan the figure is 58%.

India has more territory, population, economy and military power than any other country of the region. However, India’s frustration is that it has not been able to get sufficient political advantage over its neighbors because of its size, economy and military power. It wants to act as the pre-eminent military and economic power in the region and that the smaller states of the region should not pursue any foreign policy agenda that conflicts with India’s regional power interests.

Given these features of South Asian politics, what are the options available to the other states of South Asia, especially Pakistan?

In this situation without any doubt Pakistan have to maintain a credible defense system in conventional and nuclear weapons capability to deter India from launching military attack on Pakistan. Had Pakistan not gotten nuclear weapons mainly due to civil governments led by ZA Bhutto in 70’s and Mina Nawaz Sharif in 90’s the Pakistan would have under great trouble and India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have launched a full military attack on Pakistan in Feb 2019.

In view of the presence of nuclear weapons in South Asia, India pursues a three-point strategy to build military and diplomatic pressures on Pakistan. First, it engages Pakistan militarily on the Line of Control in Kashmir, short of a full-fledged war. Second, India pursues a proxy war against Pakistan by funding some of the terrorist groups that resort to violence in Pakistan, and some Baloch insurgent groups. Third, a sustained propaganda is being carried out at the international level for maligning Pakistan as an irresponsible state that promotes terrorism in neighboring states.

However security cannot be limited to military issues only. Attention should also be given to the welfare of people. Pakistan needs to spend more resources on human resource development, especially on education, health care, and basic civic facilities.

Strong diplomacy is another requirement for Pakistan. Pakistan needs to cultivate strong trade relations and economic ties with other states, explore new markets and attract more foreign investment. Still another factor that needs continuous attention is how to counter religious and cultural extremism and terrorism inside Pakistan.

The real strength of a state in the present day international system is derived from internal political stability and economic endurance. This improves the prospects for withstanding external pressures and pursuing its global agenda with confidence. What is needed most is a comprehensive effort to enhance internal and external security by addressing the military and civilian aspects of national security.

Table- A Picture of major countries of South Asia
Country Population Dominating religion Languages Extremists groups Poverty level below $ 5.5 per day 2019 % of population Nuclear arsenal
Pakistan 200 million 98% Muslim Urdu, along with English, as official language with Punjabi,Saraiki, PashtoSindhiBalochi as regional languages Mostly religious and regional extremists

 

89.5 140-150
India 1.3 billion 79.8% practices Hinduism Hindi as official language English as official individual state can adopt any regional language as the official language of that state  Mostly religious/linguistic extremists like Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj (ABNES), All Tripura Tiger Force. Al-Qaeda, Al-Umar-Mujahideen, Babbar Khalsa International. Communist Party of India (Maoist) 86.8 130-140
Bangladesh 166 million 90%  Muslim national language of is Modern Standard Bengali  ISIL and al-Qaeda  with some other religious groups 84.5
Sri Lanka 20million 70% Buddhists Sri Lanka accords official status to Sinhala and Tamil the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) now phasing out 39.0
Nepal 30 million 80.62% Hindu Official language of Nepal is Nepali, formerly called Khaskura then Gorkhali. Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) 83.0

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