Why is it essential for China, Pakistan to enhance coordination against terrorists, safeguard regional stability
Published: Oct 02, 2021 07:05 PM
Soldiers from China and Pakistan prepare to conduct assault during a joint anti-terrorism training. File photo:81.cn

Soldiers from China and Pakistan prepare to conduct assault during a joint anti-terrorism training. File photo:81.cn

In recent years, the global and regional structure has undergone major changes. At present, the change of strategic situations in South Asia and its neighboring regions is mainly reflected in the Afghan issue.

The US hastily withdrew its troops from Afghanistan on the pretext of concentrating resources to contain China, and the Afghan Taliban quickly took over Kabul and are now in control of all Afghan territory. Many strategists and media in the West and India have linked the Afghan Taliban's seizure of power with China-US relations, China-India relations and India-Pakistan relations. They believe that the successful seizure of power by the Afghan Taliban is a success of China and Pakistan, but a strategic failure of the US, the West and India. The reason why they have this faulty interpretation is mainly due to their geopolitical-competition thinking and zero-sum game thinking.

On a larger regional level, in order to contain China, the US is trying its best to promote military competition and even confrontation in the whole Indo-Pacific region. The US not only continues to promote the institutionalization of the Quad, but it has also established a new group AUKUS, a pure military bloc. India is an important pillar of the Indo-Pacific strategy. India also has the ambition to achieve its goal of becoming a global power through the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US and attempts to use the US' dependence on it to implement Hindu nationalist policies at home and in the region. To achieve its geo-strategic objectives, the US encourages India to play a greater role on the Afghan issue. The US attempts to sacrifice Pakistan's interests in exchange for India's strategic cooperation and make India its agent in the region.

As we know, India has long been marginalized on the Afghan issue. If India is to play a role in Afghanistan, it is unlikely to play a positive one. India is likely to use its intelligence agencies and some forces cultivated in Afghanistan and its surrounding areas in the past more than 20 years to undermine and disrupt the stability of Afghanistan. This is unfavorable to Afghanistan and its close neighbors, including China and Pakistan. 

As all-weather strategic partners, China and Pakistan must work together to maintain and promote regional security and stability.

First of all, China and Pakistan must cooperate closely on the Afghan issue to persuade the Afghan Taliban to establish an open and inclusive government and implement a moderate domestic and foreign policy. At present, the verbal expression of the Afghan Taliban is very different from that in the past, but we do not know what specific policies they will champion in the future. The Afghan Taliban are now facing a series of severe challenges. First, the unity of Afghan Taliban itself; Second, whether the Afghan Taliban can establish an open and inclusive government; Third, food shortage is likely to lead to humanitarian disasters and refugees; Fourth, they hope to win the recognition and assistance of the international community, but at the same time, they also face the hatred, blockade, sanctions and even subversion of some hostile forces in the world. 

China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran all hope that the Afghan Taliban can establish an open and inclusive regime so that all ethnic groups and parties in Afghanistan can have their own representatives, which is the key for the Afghan Taliban to win domestic and international support. China does not want Afghanistan to fall into turmoil again due to domestic political struggle that always leads to humanitarian crises, nor does China want Afghanistan to become a shelter for Eastern Turkistan forces such as the ETIM. China does not want Afghanistan to become a source of regional unrest due to the excessive intervention of some external forces, affecting the security of CPEC. Therefore, on the issue of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan should coordinate with Russia, Iran and Central Asian countries. These countries together should warn Europe of a possible refugee crisis, and put pressure on the US, India and some European countries to take responsible actions to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

While strengthening strategic and security coordination against terrorist supporters, China and Pakistan should work with countries inside and outside the region to promote the construction of an open, inclusive, democratic and equal regional governance structure and security structure. 

While cooperating to deal with the pandemic, China and Pakistan should also accelerate the building of CPEC. The 10th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting of CPEC has been held, and a new IT working group has been established, which will bolster CPEC. The success of CPEC will effectively enhance Pakistan's comprehensive national strength and international status. The key to the success of CPEC is that Pakistan needs to form its own industrial advantages through reform and development that can provide a safer environment for the construction of CPEC.

The author is secretary-general of the Research Center for China-South Asia Cooperation at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, a visiting fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, and a distinguished fellow of the China (Kunming) South Asia & Southeast Asia Institute. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn