By: LTC Taewon Choi, CSAG CCJ5
25 Oct 2021
Recently, Pakistani leaders have repeatedly signaled a shift from geopolitics to geoeconomics. In 2021, Pakistan officials have repeatedly spoke of the term ‘geoeconomics’. When the Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Sri Lanka in February, he emphasized the importance and possibility of connectivity of the country up to Central Asia through CPEC (China‐Pakistan Economic Corridor). In March, at the first held Islamabad Security Dialogue (ISD), Army Chief General Bajwa, as one of the key speakers stated:
‘The contemporary concept of national security… is not solely a function of armed forces anymore. National security in the age of globalization, information and connectivity has now become an allencompassing notion; wherein, besides various elements of national power, global and regional environments also play a profound role.’
Addressing the 25 March Pakistan‐Hungary Dialogue in Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Minister Mehmood Qureshi further explained the shift to geoeconomics and said it should be based on a new ‘economic security paradigm.’ He stated:
“My government attaches great importance to enhancing Pakistan’s trade and economic relations with our partners. The transformed Pakistan’s focus is shifting from geopolitics to geoeconomics … Our new economic security paradigm has three essential pillars: peace, development partnerships, and connectivity.”
This strategy shift from geopolitics to geoeconomics follows a current global trend. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a stark example of geoeconomics. Pakistan’s current administration, which is well aware of the geopolitical limitations, is trying to take a similar geoeconomic approach.
- Pakistan’s current economic status is problematic due to domestic as well as international factors.
- Pakistan seeks to shift its foreign policy from geopolitics to geoeconomics.
- China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) redirects global trade routes from West to East and building the basis for the emerging “Multipolar World Order,” therefore, Pakistan’s role is vital and may be regarded as the cornerstone of Beijing’s future world vision.
- Pakistan’s pivot is conditional to ‘peace, development partnerships, and connectivity.’
- Pakistan is positioning itself as the convergence point of global powers’ geoeconomic interests in Central and South Asia.
- Instability in Afghanistan will continue to hold back Pakistan’s already delayed collaborative projects like the TAPI pipeline and CASA‐1000 with Central Asian nations.
- Upon withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US should maintain influence by creating a new agenda and strengthening cooperative relations with Pakistan and its neighboring countries that are crucial for its promoting geoeconomics.
The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of a number of international officers within the Combined Strategic Analysis Group (CSAG) and do not necessarily reflect the views of United States Central Command, not of the nations represented within the CSAG or any other governmental agency.