India - International Relations
Pakistan-Russia relationship: reasons of failure
The author analyses the relations between Islamabad and Moscow since the days of the Independence of Pakistan. He describes these ties as a "failure" and details why. At the end, he gives some suggestions and recommendations to enhance the relationship. From Islamabad, Fakhar Hussain.
Pakistan came to emerge as a sovereign independent state on the map of the world on 14th of August, 1947, being the first ideological state of the world, as a result of the great struggle and a movement by the Muslims of Sub-Continent, to obtain a separate homeland where they could be able to establish their own government in accordance with their ideological motives. It came into existence on the very moment of the beginning of the Cold War between the two emerging superpowers of the world. It was an era of bipolarity, when the USA and the USSR were the two major dominant powers of the world; the US was the supporter of the capitalist ideology, while the USSR was of socialism. Both capitalism and socialism were the chief opponents of each other. On the basis of their hostility, they had started a Cold War between them under which they adopted policies to strengthen themselves and to weaken their opponent. So, on the international front there was an environment of anarchy.
Some Western scholars claim that Pakistan is a nation-state by accident. They are also of the view that Pakistan was created due to the interests of the superpowers on the basis of its geo-strategic location. We should keep in mind that Pakistan is located on a very important geo-strategic location and international trade route. It is situated in the vicinity of China, Middle East, Far East, Russia, and Central Asia on a very important place. In relationship to the geo-strategic significance of Pakistan, the superpowers of the time had their specific interests in the creation of Pakistan. The Cold War was actually a conflict of ideologies. Both created the groups of their allies and non allies in order to work against the interests of each other by supporting on behalf of them. Their sole objective was to dominate and get preponderance over the world for promotion of their national interests. Reasons behind the failure of Pakistan to develop and enhance its relationship with Russia: as we have discussed, Pakistan came into being at a critical juncture of time, when both the US and the USSR were trying to increase their areas of influence in this region to create their hegemony.
Pakistan-Russia relationship has not been enhanced in the proper way since the early days. There are a lot of factors:
The American support before Independence
We should keep in mind that the US administration had taken keen interest in pressurizing the British government for the independence of the Sub-Continent on the basis of its traditional policy of supporting the democratic people and democratic movements in the world. One of the main factors due to which Pak-Russia relationship could not be enhanced is the involvement of America in the domestic policies of Pakistan. As Pakistan came into existence under the environment of the Cold war, and on the basis of American support for the independence of the Sub-Continent, it was quite natural that the newly independent states would definitely join the American block. Same thing happened in the case of Pakistan – that its establishment decided to seek American support – and in this way, it came under the American influence from the very beginning of its history. On the other side, the USSR also tried to support Pakistan to bring it under its influence, but Pakistan decided to keep it away. So, this was a basic factor due to which the relations between two states could not be established in proper.
A psychosis was infused into the mindset of Pakistan that the USSR would come to overtake her to make its access possible to the hot waters.
Mistrust and fear of communism
As a result of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the Soviet Union came into being. The Soviet Union followed the ideology of the socialism and so it wanted to bring a revolution of communism in the whole world, while on the other hand, the USA adopted the philosophy of capitalism and in the similar way; it also wanted the domination of the capitalism in the world. Soon after the Second World War, differences between them came out in the form of the Cold War, a period of psychological war during which both the opponent parties adopted the policies of harming the interests of the other side without indulging themselves in the actual war. Mistrust and fear of communism was another prominent factor of the failure of Pakistan to develop and enhance its relationship with Russia. Since the beginning of independence, a fear psychosis was infused into the mindset of Pakistan that the USSR would come to overtake Pakistan via Afghanistan in order to make its access possible to the hot waters for the realization of its objectives of expansionism. This factor lead to the creation of mistrust and the fear of expansion of communism due to which Pakistan decided to join hands with America merely to counter the communist threat.
Pakistan in the lap of the US
As we have already mentioned, the USA had great interests in the creation of Pakistan on the account of its ideal geographical location and its natural resources. On the basis of this assumption, soon after the inception of Pakistan, the USA started to enhance its influence in the newly born state. On the other hand, the USSR had also same concerns for the development of long term relations with Pakistan in order to achieve the objectives of its long term national interests. Both the USSR and the USA governments invited Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan to visit them. By neglecting the USSR, Liaqat Ali Khan came on to visit the USA. It was one of the major faults on the side of political leaders, that they neglected the superpower in their neighborhood. So that was the beginning of going Pakistan in the lap of the USA and still the situation remains there. The USA no doubt helped Pakistan by providing military technology, economic assistance, and foreign aid, but on the other end it started to get more and more involvement in the internal affairs of Pakistan by ignoring its sovereign independence. This factor also put negative impact on the enhancement of Pak-Russian relationship.
Joining of SEATO & CENTO
Since the birth of Pakistan, the feeling of insecurity was infused into the minds of the Pakistani administration, as Pakistan had to face national security threats from eastern and western borders. Also Pakistan was made to believe that it had also a serious threat from the USSR’s involvement in the South Asian affairs. Under this ambiguous environment of insecurity, Pakistan had to join the military alliances along with the USA and the Western countries for the sake of her national security. So, during 1950’s Pakistan joined SEATO and CENTO. Basically these military alliances were initiated by the USA to contain the influence and power of the USSR in this region. By joining these military pacts, Pakistan no doubt gained assistance from the US and the other allied states of the pacts. It is said that Pakistan was not given its due help during the period of its wars with its traditional rival India during the 1965 and 1971 wars. So, Pakistan later on decided to come out of these pacts and then it moved forward to join the NAM. Pakistan’s decision of joining SEATO & CENTO created a wide gap between the mindsets of Russia and Pakistan for the development of relations.
Pakistan joined the American block by ignoring to develop relations with its powerful neighbor, the USSR.
India and Pakistan are the traditional rivals of each other. After Independence, Pakistan joined the American block by ignoring to develop relations with its power neighbor, the USSR, while on the other hand, India maintained a balance for the development of its relations with America and the USSR. Due to Pakistani ignorance, the USSR decided to support India against Pakistan. With the passage of time, Indo-Russian ties strengthened manifold. The USSR has been providing political, economic, military and nuclear support since the beginning to the present. This factor of Indo-Russian close relationship is also a major cause of failure of Pakistan to enhance its relations with Russia, as Pakistan had to suffer from the fear of communist and Indian threats.
Role of Pakistan during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
Pakistan played a very significant role as being the frontline state against the USSR during Afghan invasion on behalf of the USA. The Afghan War was actually a proxy war which was designed by CIA; and Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was assigned very crucial role during this campaign. It was due to the efforts of ISI that the operations by Taliban Militants against the USSR paved the way for its withdrawal from Afghanistan. ISI trained Taliban as its own baby to fight against the forces of a superpower in Afghanistan. Pakistan was given aid and fighting equipment as to provide the support to the militant groups in Afghanistan. It lasted for a long time, had put a lot of bad impacts on the politics, economy, and society of Pakistan. At the end, the USSR was defeated badly in Afghanistan, and it was enforced to adopt exit strategy from Afghanistan. The negative role played by Pakistan in Afghanistan against the USSR was a major failure of Pakistan against the establishment of relations with the USSR.
Russian opposition of Pakistan on Kashmir cause
Kashmir dispute is a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. This issue has been discussed many times at the UN platform. The UN Security Council has also passed resolutions for the peaceful settlement of dispute, but all in vain. It is due to the opposition and the use of Veto Power by Russia against Pakistan on Kashmir that it has not been resolved yet by the UNSC. This opposition by Russia on Kashmir against Pakistan is also a dominant factor due to which the relationship between the two countries has not been enhanced.
Suggestions and recommendations to enhance relationship
On the basis of the critical analysis of failure of Pakistan to develop and enhance its relations with Russia, here are some suggestions and policy options for the furtherance of their relationship: a) Pakistan should avoid to follow its previous policies regarding its relationship with Russia. The Cold War ended, and the fear of communism exists no more. So, we should come out of mistrust and fear psychosis of communism; b) Pakistan should maintain balance in its relationship with America and the other major powers of the world.; c) Pakistan should emphasize the use of diplomatic channels to enhance its relationship with the states of the world in the light of its national interests.