Two years of U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy

Islamabad has the potential to promote cooperation rather than competition due to historical ties with Washington and Beijing

U.S. President Joe Biden (center) poses with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2022. – AFP

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) was launched by President Joe Biden’s administration in February 2022, with a pace that exceeds the age of a toddler.

Over the past two years, IPS has provided member countries with a range of opportunities. Meanwhile, China and some other countries were also surprised by what they saw as an encirclement of the region.

Pakistan, a long-time U.S. ally, is not an official partner in the framework. However, due to its historical ties with Washington and Beijing, Islamabad has the potential to promote cooperation rather than competition.

U.S. Major General Suzanne Varese-Loum, who visited Pakistan earlier this month, apparently recognized this fact. As of January 2022, she serves as President of the East-West Center, an institution established by the U.S. Congress in the 1960s.

It is worth mentioning that since the establishment of the center, many Pakistanis have participated in the EWC project. However, this is the first visit to Pakistan by the chairman of the agency.

This may be because Vares-Loum has previously made recommendations to the top officials of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on this matter.

As such, the visit is part of her mission to “promote understanding and relationships between the peoples and nations of the United States and the Asia-Pacific region through collaborative learning, research, and dialogue.”

“The Indian and Pacific oceans are like two arms embracing other continents,” Vares-Loum said while addressing an EWC alumni gathering in Karachi.

Opening her arms and forming a circle, she further said, “Who is this corner here, it’s Pakistan, Hawaii here embracing each other”.

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Emphasizing cooperation, Ms Lim said: “If we think about it this way, it makes perfect sense that we are here to embrace other countries in the region”.

Donald Lu, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, expressed similar views earlier.

On the second anniversary of the implementation of the Indo-Pacific strategy, one after another clarified that “the president’s strategy does not target any specific country or group of countries. It is a positive vision for the United States to engage with its allies and partners in this strategically important region.” .

It can be said that the statements of Vares-Loum and Lu are an extension of the “Indo-Pacific” concept first proposed by the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in India.

In August 2007, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a speech in the Indian Parliament: “Now, as this new ‘Greater Asia’ is formed at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific oceans, I feel that democracy is located in the countries on the relative edges of these oceans. Friendship among its citizens must be deepened at every possible level.”

The Biden administration has added economic and security dimensions to this framework. At the same time, India has been given a pivotal role in the region.

Not surprisingly, China views this strategy as a means to dominate and dominate the region. After all, key countries in the Pacific have become force multipliers for most countries in the Indian Ocean.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed that Washington was developing a strategy to suppress Beijing.

Wang Yi said at a diplomatic press conference, “If it only wants its own prosperity and ignores the legitimate development of other countries, then where is the international fairness? If it continues to monopolize the high end of the value chain and leaves China at the low end, where is the fairness of competition? ?”

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Yi Gang also warned Washington that “the level of absurdity has reached a confusing level.” He said, “The challenges facing the United States come from the United States itself, not from China. If the United States is bent on suppressing China, it will only harm itself in the end.”

These simmering tensions alarm Pakistan, which cannot afford a possible Sino-American conflict.

Jalil Abbas Gilani, the former caretaker foreign minister of Pakistan, openly discussed the issue at the “3rd EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum” in Brussels.

Gilani called for “opposition to divisive geopolitical debates that could further exacerbate global and regional tensions.”

He stressed that “restrictions on trade and investment and new forms of protectionism run counter to the goals of shared prosperity, sustainability and inclusiveness”.

All in all, so far, the Indo-Pacific strategy has been both a cohesive force and a cause for consternation for those not included in the framework.

Making it more inclusive and addressing the concerns of regional countries will surely achieve the stated goals of the strategy. The reason is that optimism has not replaced the ideology of pessimism.

As Wang Yi said, “We hope that the United States and China will work together to push bilateral relations back to the track of stable, healthy and sustainable development.”

Embracing Indo-Pacific countries from both corners of the region is a way to prosperity, said Suzanne Vares-Loum.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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