THE geopolitical calculus in Pakistan’s immediate neighbourhood is clearly changing, and those who formulate this country’s foreign policy must plan now to ensure we are comfortably placed to take political and economic advantage of the emerging scenario. Over the past few days, reports have emerged of a 25-year strategic bilateral deal involving China and Iran being hammered out between the two sides; the deal is said to cover both economic and military aspects. Moreover, relations between the US and China seem to be going into a deep freeze, with some talking of a new ‘cold war’ between Washington and Beijing. The US has ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close in order to “protect American intellectual property”, with China slamming the move as “outrageous”. Moreover, on a recent trip to the UK, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for building a “global coalition” against the People’s Republic.
Considering Pakistan shares borders with both Iran and China, and has had a long, chequered relationship with the US, Islamabad will need to play its cards right to protect national interests on the highly treacherous international chessboard.