India was first to recognize china and both remained close for quite some time. China became suspicious about India as soon as Indians facilitated a meeting of Dalai Lama with some American officials. And soon, the “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” slogan got altered into Hindi-Chini hostility. China attacked India and Indian defenses could not withstand Chinese attack. Nehru had a shock from which he never recovered up to his death. Pakistan was looking for such an eventuality. It got close to China and facilitated their communications with Americans thus developed Pak-China access.
Pakistan and china decided to construct Karakorum highway giving access to China to Pakistan and to the Middle East. This deal infuriated the Soviet Union and India took advantage of the Pakistani mistakes of denying democracy in its eastern wing and became instrumental in its dismemberment and creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Pakistan became more insecure and got more close to Chinese. During Afghan Jihad, China and Pakistan again collaborated and it finally culminated into defeat and departure of Soviet Union troops from Afghanistan.
China and Pakistan along with America remained instrumental in the debacle of the Soviet Union and this way Pakistan took revenge from Soviet Union. In post Afghan war era, Americans finding their objectives accomplished wanted Pakistanis to dismantle the Jihadi Network. This demand became profound in post 9/11 scenario. Pakistan as usual kept on supporting Americans as well as Taliban. Americans too departed from Afghanistan only after discovering that Osama-Bin-Laden was a hoax perpetuated in the Pakistani captivity. A trust deficit increased between U.S and Pakistan, leaving Pakistan a bit isolated. Chinese took the advantage of this isolation and in a bid to woo Pakistan, offered huge amounts of investments in exchange of trade corridor between China and Arabian Sea.
The connectivity between Kashgar port in China and Gawdar port in Pakistan has opened a vast China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which is of huge significance, as it runs through one of the most important and vital geostrategic locations in South-Asia. Gawdar port directly affects the Dubai port, which will lose 70% business after the Gawdar port becomes fully functional. It will also affect the Chahbahar Port, as Gawdar is world’s largest deepwater sea port where Ships of large tonnage can also anchor. Taking advantage of such a move by Pakistan, India got closer to Iran and Afghanistan and signed an accord to build a trade and transport corridor, designating Chahbahar Port as hub. By doing this, India is trying to counter the China-Pakistan alliance and its expanding influence in the Indian Ocean region.
Implications of this corridor will be long term as china which previously posed “security hazards” to India along eastern coast now will be able to become a “potent threat” to India even on its western shores. The western shore is important because it remains life line of India. All fuel supplies and trade with Europe and Middle East is done through western Shores. Any disruptions in these supplies can cripple the Indian economy and defense.
India has always treated Pakistan as a hostile neighbor. The relation of hostility needs to be transformed into relation of cooperation and coordination; the trauma which Pakistani state is suffering because of its dismemberment from its eastern wing needs to be healed. By signing the accords with Iran and Afghanistan, India is again committing the same mistake of alienating Pakistan which pushes it more towards China. Iran and Afghanistan are no serious threats to Pakistan. Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan after its independence. Prior to 1979, both the countries had great relations: they were the members of Cento, formed RCD (RCO) along with Turkey and during India-Pakistan 1965 war Iran sided with Pakistan. Post 1979 events may have changed the Iran-Pakistan relations but it has not ended the relations. During his recent visit, the President of Iran mentioned the utilization of Chahbahar and Gawdar ports to handle increased trade activity between the two nations and urged Pakistan to build the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline on its side. The visit of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and the consequent signing of 6 MoU’s and $5 billion trade pact is the witness to the fact that the Iran-Pakistan relations are rejuvenating once again. And in such a situation, India’s estimation of tackling Pakistan via Chahbahar port is nothing but a Faux Pas.
Pakistan should be wielded away from the Chinese influence by offering similar packages and sense of security by India. In that context resolution of outstanding disputes can help in a big way. We should not forget that west transformed china from an iron curtained radical hostile power into an investment paradise by returning it Hong-Kong despite the fact that the population of Hong-Kong was skeptical about the return to China.