Pakistan, Russia and China are one step closer to formalizing their alliance, with other nations – like Turkey and Iran – aimed at joining the superpower triangle.
Pakistan and Russia are set to become part of an alliance with China despite Islamabad and Moscow’s decades-long rivalry after the Cold War. The Pakistanis and Russians seem eager to make a fresh start in bilateral relations while actively engaging with China to form a superpower triangle that would transform the volatile region.
Islamabad and Moscow are no longer moving in opposite directions like they used to when partnering with the U.S. and India, respectively. Realizing the need to achieve stability and peace in Afghanistan after the U.S. has shown lack of interest in bringing regional stability, Pakistan, Russia and China are getting closer while seeking a solution to the Afghan crisis.
After holding a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings, Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing are hammering out a peaceful solution to the Afghan war to prevent terrorism and radicalism from spilling into their borders. If a string of violent terrorist attacks across Pakistan in February and the latest metro bombing in Russia are any indications, terrorism is knocking on the doors of Islamabad and Moscow.
While China is no stranger to being a victim of terrorism in its northwestern province of Xinjiang, the Chinese are more than willing to prevent the spread of terrorism in Pakistan to secure efficient implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which connects Pakistan’s port city Gwadar to Xinjiang, China.
Emergence of Russia-China-Pakistan bloc may involve Iran and Turkey
Fears that the U.S. may be interested in dragging out the Afghan war for its own strategic interests in the region have drawn Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing closer together. Some experts believe that the three nations may be planning to stage a Syria-style intervention in Afghanistan, and the possibility of a formal alliance between Pakistan, Russia and China could transform all of Asia.
The continent has been re-shaping itself in recent years with the emergence of new alliances. By seemingly shrinking its decades-long partnership with the U.S., Islamabad has managed to appease Russia, which in turn, has sought to reduce its decades-long ties to India, Pakistan’s number one enemy. The prospect of a China-Russia-Pakistan superpower triangle seems to be not only sending shockwaves around the world but also attracting other countries to joining the three allied nations as they seek solutions to some of the most pressing issues while also boosting trade, economic relations, military and security ties.
Earlier this year, Iran formally expressed its interest in joining the alliance of Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing to help find a political solution to the Afghan war. After seemingly giving up hope of joining the European Union, Turkey has also shown a great amount of interest in joining Russia, China and Pakistan to possibly form a superpower circle.
Russia, Pakistan and China to stage Syria style intervention in Afghanistan?
In recent months, Pakistan, Russia and China have enhanced their efforts to bring regional stability by promoting peace in Afghanistan. Last month, sources within the Pakistan Army claimed that they had spoken to new U.S. generals within the Trump administration and warned them that if the U.S. does not sort out the “total mess” in Afghanistan, Russia will.
Earlier this week, new reports surfaced indicating eagerness within the China-Russia-Pakistan superpower triangle in bringing peace and stability to the region. Multiple reports have indicated that military and Foreign Office officials from Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing held talks to find a political solution to the Afghan war.
The three allied nations reportedly concluded that Washington is not interested in ending the Afghan war for its own strategic interests. Such a conundrum, Pakistani officials reportedly said, has urged Islamabad to seek a political solution by involving key regional players such as Russia, China and Iran.
Russia, China and Pakistan have already held a series of talks – both open and behind-closed-doors – on Afghanistan. The U.S. and India were excluded from some of the discussions. Moscow is reportedly set to host a yet another meeting involving a larger audience later this month. A major objective of these meetings is to help the Afghanistan government and the Taliban to reach a compromise and put an end to the long-lasting war in the country.
Saving CPEC: China and Pakistan eradicating terrorism in Asia
Pakistan, Russia and China are becoming increasingly interested in achieving stability and peace in the region, not only because they have managed to significantly improve their defensive, economic and diplomatic ties in recent years, but also because they are equally concerned about radicalism and terrorism spilling into their own borders and destabilizing their countries.
There have been multiple reports in recent months about thousands of ISIS fighters being sent to Afghanistan from Syria, something that would create major problems for all neighboring countries. That’s one of the reasons Beijing and Islamabad are equally interested in achieving peace in the region for the sake of CPEC, which is set to improve connectivity in the region and create numerous economic and business opportunities in Asia.
Since Russia has seen a significant improvements in ties to Pakistan and China, it is now able to work together with the two countries on a number of regional projects.
Emergence of superpower triangle ascents in Afghanistan
The rapprochement between Russia and Pakistan began in 2011 when the U.S. started accusing Islamabad of sheltering terrorists following the secret raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil. The incident and the later killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in NATO airstrikes marked the start of a significant deterioration in U.S.-Pakistan relations.
Seeing the inevitable hostilities for years to come, Pakistan officially decided to broaden its foreign policy options, which included seeking closer ties to Moscow despite their decades-long rivalry. In 2014, Russia lifted its long-lasting arms embargo against Pakistan, which opened doors for a closer defense and security partnership between the two states. In September, the two nations held their first-ever joint military drills.
Despite the firm stance of the U.S against dialogue with the Taliban, Pakistan, Russia and China agreed during their latest Afghan discussions that fostering a peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban is the only way to achieve peace and stability in the war-torn country.
Whether it will require a Syria-style intervention or not, Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing are inching closer to hammering out a peaceful solution to the Afghan war. If the three nations find success, the China-Russia-Pakistan superpower triangle will become more likely than ever.