Last week, a seminar on Gwadar--China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Emerging Maritime Security Scenario arranged by Pakistan Navy War College, Lahore was interesting and appreciable. This was a great effort to highlight issues and emerging threats regarding CPEC.
There were five speakers who spoke on the subject. The focus of the discussion, however, was the history, significance and usage of Gwadar Port. The speakers extensively, or may be excessively spoke, on Gwadar’s significance and benefits of CPEC but didn’t like to talk about “Emerging Maritime Security Scenario”, the real point of concern. For instance, one of the speakers, who was a soldier but was repeatedly claiming to be a scholar, quite simply concluded that India and the United States of America (USA) are in constant decline and they don’t have any potential or ability to intervene in Pakistan’s internal affairs – at least not at present. More interestingly, one of the speakers passionately made a clear declaration that “America only opposes China’s soft power – so Pakistan has no real threat from the US – Pakistanio aap ko darnay ki zarorat nahi (Pakistanis! Need not to be afraid)”. A speaker from the Kinnaird College shared a lot of information about Chahbahar and Gwadar which she had collected from Wikipedia. Unfortunately, she remained irreverent throughout her presentation.
The conclusion of the whole discussion can be summed up as: there are no maritime security threats because India and the US are unable to do anything against Pakistan, so we need not talk about those irrelevant things. Be happy Pakistanis! Soon your country is going to be a regional power! *Applause*
Being a student of politics I was not only surprised, I was shocked to see such analyses. But I was directed to be quiet and calm.
How unfortunate is it that we never like to talk about the real issues and threats so that they could be tackled and resolved in time. The focus of the speakers should have been “Emerging Maritime Security Scenario” in the context of power politics. Focusing upon significance of Gwadar and escaping from real issues and challenges demonstrates many things. It can be either the “innocence” of the speakers regarding the real point or it can be an organized strategy to fool us – the academia – for no reason.
Discussing CPEC or maritime security challenges cannot and should be separated from the international world. We need to understand that America has its own interests in Middle East. Even China and Russia are more interested in Middle East than Pakistan. In other words, China’s real focus is on Middle East and not Pakistan. It doesn’t imply that Pakistan is irreverent or not dear to China. Pakistan is a bridge state. China definitely needs Pakistan.
India is being backed by the US to counter China in South Asia. Their common interest is to confront China’s increasing influence in the region. So we cannot say that these powers have no reservations and we cannot close our eyes that their own interests in the region, particularly in Pakistan, are not being affected by this CPEC. What we actually need to understand is the existing complex political scenario and formulate policies to cope with all existing and emerging threats and challenges. Things must not be seen through the prism of idealism only. This is the real world, which demands real thinking and real solutions.
Pakistan has to play politically and diplomatically to win this complex game under the anarchic and perplexing world order and make the CPEC successful.
Discussion without understanding the overall policy framework is of no use – “Fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool”.