Importance of sustaining cordial relationships among countries has attained much more significance in the modern globalizing era, especially when we take in account the pace of economic proliferation and extending nexus among global forces. Negotiations and promotion of benignant relationships among nations is crucial to conserve international affairs, allowing social counter-balance, peaceful development, and encourages more stable global economy. In recent years specifically, Pakistan has made a prominent and conspicuous effort to strengthen its ties with developing countries as well as existing and emerging superpowers. But we cannot deny the fact that countries only establish give and take relationship as quoted by Chanakya Kautaliya, a philosopher and economist, “There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter Truth”.
The years from 2013-2016 has witnessed Pakistan’s historic foreign policy achievements. Although diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China were established in 1950 when Pakistan was the third non-communist country and first Muslim one to recognize the People’s Republic of China. Since then, China and Pakistan have endorsed smooth development of favorable relations, mutually beneficial cooperation and massive bilateral project China-Pakistan economic corridor is its biggest model. This proposal was first proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. CPEC will assist both Pakistan-China in short and long-term. It will be a game changer for Pakistan in the region, resulting in upgraded infra-structure and excelling energy supplies. Pakistan’s economic growth is expected to increase by 7% in 2018. Traditional Cold War rivals, Russia and Pakistan mutual baptism has brought a great shift in international relations. In October 2015, Pakistan and Russia signed an inter-governmental agreement for the construction of 1100-kilometer gas pipeline project from Karachi to Lahore. The two also signed a military cooperation pact aimed at bringing peace and stability in the region.
Pakistan has been an Observer state of SCO since 2005 and had applied for its permanent membership in 2010. SCO leaders acclaimed the event as carrying ‘historic significance’ when in 2017, Pakistan admitted into Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a Full Member in Kazakhstan. Considering its significance, it will hand Pakistan to further strengthen terms with China and administers an opportunity to boost trade volumes and economic ties with Eurasian countries. The year 2017 marked 65 years of Pakistan-Japan diplomatic relations. Pakistan has always been keen to take two-sided trade and investment ties to apex and this affiliation has witnessed an impetus with summit meeting between former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September 2016. There are three Japanese Associations of Commerce and Industry (JACI) located in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and Japan’s major imports from Pakistan include chemicals, yarn, textile products, leather and metals while Pakistan’s major imports from Japan includes automobile and automobile parts, steel, rubber products and variety of machinery and Hi-Tech items. Investments by Japanese Companies during the last decade was estimated to be $800 Million. Other highlighted Japanese investments includes Yamaha Motors, NIPRO Corporation, Marubeni-Itochu Steel and Ajinomoto Corporation. Imports from Japan is approximately 2 Billion Dollars while exports from Pakistan are estimated to be 200 Million Dollars.
Pakistan has also regarded its alliances with Islamic countries and has shown sincere commitment unreservedly to all Muslim causes and the strengthening of cooperation among Islamic countries which has been an unshakeable pillar of our foreign policy. Pakistan has enjoyed the most cordial relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Whether it was wars of 1965, 1971 or sanctions after nuclear tests, Saudi Arabia had always come forward and helped Pakistan. Both countries have shown cooperation in political, economic, commercial, security and religious frames. Frequent visits by leaders of the two countries depicts the trust, warmth and depth of their bilateral relation. Pakistan has eternally presented its solidarity with Saudi Arabia and vice versa. During recent years, both countries have exchanged high-level delegations and developed plans to augment bilateral cooperation in trade, education, real estate, tourism, information technology, communications and agriculture. Saudi Arabia is also facilitating the growth of trade relations of Pakistan with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, with whom Pakistan is negotiating a free trade agreement. Pakistan and Turkey have maintained diplomatic relations since 1947 and due to shared history, common faith and akin culture, both countries term each other as sister countries. They have retained a positive trade balance and in 2016, signed an agreement to develop their medical sectors to improve the healthcare services received by patients with the focus laid on modernizing healthcare management in line with the latest international trends. It was also agreed to promote mutual investments and firm collaboration in the areas of energy, infrastructure, transportation and agriculture.
Additional efforts are made to boost the business and trade relations between Bahrain and Pakistan. Pakistan is ardent since 2016 to upgrade the business, commerce and trade relationship with Bahrain. The first meeting of Bilateral Consultative Forum between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan was held in Jakarta on 11 July 2017 which emphasized to increase people to people contacts, easing visa regime to facilitate exchanges. Pakistan and Indonesia have likewise expressed commitment to continue partnership through the mechanisms of Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and Policy Planning Dialogue. Pakistan-Indonesia Preferential Trade Review meeting was also held in August 2017 to flourish bilateral relation. Equivalently, homage to the 57th anniversary celebration of the peaceful diplomatic relations between Nepal and Pakistan was paid by arranging a grand musical event at PNCA this year.
Pakistan and Latvia are also willing to promote beach tourism to enhance the communal relationship on tourism. Pakistan has also initiated Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with Iran to embellish exports along with Thailand Turkey and Korea. Pakistan is expecting to advance affiliation with Switzerland in trade sector. Qatar has launched a new direct sea route between Hamad Port and Karachi Port to boost trade among the two countries. Pakistan and Azerbaijan also acknowledged to expand cooperation in defense sector and agreed to fasten the bilateral relations with Ukraine.
Pakistan today is a self-assured and well-integrated member of the international community. We do not give nod to any antagonistic or aggressive design and aspire to inhabit in peace and harmony with all nations of the world. Socio-economic development in amicable and secure neighborhood remains our top most priority and we firmly promote the fact that people-to-people interaction brings the nations even closer. Favorable relations with other countries have been a pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah has outlined the following goals of Pakistan’s foreign policy, “Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world”. Stability in diplomatic relations is key to the way of progress of any nation. DEMOCRATIC PEACE, the classical theory has now been empirically tested that democratic states are least likely to wage war against each other.