Defination:The study of the relationship among politics and geography, demography, and economics, especially with respect to the foreign policy of a nation. ‘’ The foreign policy of a country is determined by its geography’’. (Napoleon) This may be an exaggeration, but there can be no question that geography has had decisive effect upon civilization and upon national development.
In 1947, possessing a unique geographical location, Pakistan consisted two distant parts; the West Pakistan, in the Indus River basin and the East Pakistan (later on became Bangladesh in December 1971) located more than 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) away in the Ganges River delta. Separated from each other, these two wings had 1000km wide Indian territory between them. On the West, Pakistan borders with Afghanistan, whose one kilometer narrow Wahkhan strip kept the defunct Soviet Union away from Pakistani frontiers. To the North, she has the Peoples Republic of China. The oil rich heart of the Persian Gulf region-Iran, is in the northwest of Pakistan.
In the South, the Arabian Sea, the northwestern extension of the strategically important Indian Ocean washes Pakistan’s coastal shores. The vitality of Indian Ocean has remained unquestionable throughout the known history as it provides not only a commercial and trade link between Europe and the Far East but has also remained a key to the seven seas. The East Pakistan was separating the Pacific Ocean from the Indian Ocean and bordered Burma on the East (Mohammed Ahsen Chaudhri, 1993). Thus, looking from the strategic point of view, Pakistan was and is still at the crossroad of Central, South and Southwest Asia and is the easiest link between the oil-rich Persian Gulf and the East Asia. In short, Pakistan is situated in the region called ‘fulcr..
Geo Strategic Importance of Pakistan
Geo strategic means the importance of a country or a region as by virtue of its geographical location. Geo political is defined as, stressing the influence of geographic factors on the state power, international conduct and advantages it derives from its location. Stephen Cohn describes this importance “While history has been unkind to Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit. It has resource rich area in the north-west, people rich in the north-east.” Pakistan is a junction of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia, a way from resource efficient countries to resource deficient countries. The world is facing energy crisis and terrorism. Pakistan is a route for transportation, and a front line state against terrorism.
Bridge between South Asia and South West Asia; Iran and Afghanistan are energy abundant while India and China are lacking of. China finds way to Indian ocean and Arabian Sea through Korakaram. China with its fastest economic growth rate of 9%; is developing its southern provinces because its own port is 4500 km away from Sinkiang but Gawader is 2500 km away. Pakistan offers to CARs the shortest route of 2600 km as compared to Iran (4500 km) or Turkey (5000 km). land locked Afganistan now at the phase of Reconstruction, finds its ways through Pakistan. Gawader port with its deep waters attracts the trade ships of China, CARs and South East Asian Countries.
ASEAN Economic Blocs: SAARC, ECO. Iran is struggling to export its surplus gas and oil to eastern countries. Qatar Pakistan and Turkmenistan Pipeline projects highlights the position. Pakistan would get 400 million dollar annually if IPI gets success. Mountain Ranges: Himalayas, Hindu Kush in the North are plentiful in providing water and natural resources.
Political importance: -US interests in the regions to contain the Growing China, nuclear Iran, terrorist Afghanistan, and to benefit from the market of India. Security and Business are two main US interests in the region while Pakistan is playing a front line role against terrorism. Today the political scenario of the region is tinged with pre emption policy and US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear program, India’s geopolitical muscles(new strategic deal with US) to gain the hegemony and to counter the ‘The Rise of China’ which has earned all the qualities to change unipolar world into Bipolar world. In all these issues, Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved, especially after Al Qaeda operations. The American think tanks have repeatedly accepted that war against terror could never be won without the help of Pakistan. Pakistan has rigorously fought, and ongoing military operation in Wazirstan is also targeting the suspected Taliban in the bordering area.
Main threats to Pakistan: Balochistan and Wazirstan conflicts are posing threats to any economic project like IPI gas pipeline. Negative role of India, US, Iran in this conflict ridden area. Kashmir is flash point, accelerating nuclear race in the South Asia. Instable governments in Pakistan have contributed in weakening the strong position. Natural Resources:-Pakistan has the best natural resources of the world. Lack of technology fragile infrastructure and limited financial resources are the main hurdles in the way to explore and utilize these resources.