US and China's rising soft image in Baluchistan

  • US and China’s rising soft image in Baluchistan

     

     

    This world has a structure which is based on the power capabilities of the states. Major powers, middle powers and less powerful states. Power is defined as a capacity of a states to peruse their interests. After the WW2 the USA has emerged as a powerful state but it had to confront with another power the USSR. The era of indirect confrontation between the two powers is called cold war. In this era power is considered only the materialistic power like armaments and economy.  In 1990’s Joseph Nye gave the concept of soft power which is meant by soft image of a particular state and he referred it to China. With the passage of time China’s soft power emerged on a global level. And in 2005 Americans considered that we have to check on China because it is growing economically and culturally.   

    There is a big ideological difference between the two countries. American has democratic values and capitalist economic model. And China is a socialist state.  If China became a more powerful it’s a threat for the US ideology and also its global hegemony. The real threat the USA is facing in developing countries from China is a threat to western values. China is promoting “China model” denoting to an authoritarian capitalism in developing countries like in African countries particular in Ethiopia, they are considering to build their system and institutions based on the Chinese model. So the USA has particular threats from China on every front, its growing economy, popular culture, soft image, spreading its values and governance system in the world. China’s new diplomacy is gaining more attractiveness in its neighboring countries, especially in South East Asian countries.  

    In January 2017 the USA withdrew from Trance Pacific Partnership (TTP) deal and it indicates the intentions to restricting china's expanding soft power. The major strategy of China is to expand its trade growth through infrastructure. And this model has initiated a war between the regional and international players within South East Asia. Because China's big economic project is one belt one road (OBOR) is a big game changer in the economic growth of China. Pak-China economic corridor(CPEC) is a part of OBOR it will connect China with the Arabian sea from Xinjiang province to Gwadar port in Baluchistan. And this port will reduce China's dependency on the strait of Malacca. Baluchistan is a key area of success of CPEC and OBOR also.

    The USA has different concerns regarding CPEC, first of all, it is a part of a mega project of OBOR, which will provide the actual connection between "the belt and the road" scheme of China. without CPEC, OBOR will lose its significance because CPEC is giving two-way linkage to OBOR. Since the Marshall Plan of the USA was a big plan for the development of the world in the history while OBOR is a bigger plan in terms of size and ambition.  After completion, this project China will incorporate with 60 countries of the world, which are comprised one of the world population, 55% GDP of the world and 75% global energy reserved.

    This is a threat for the USA hegemony not in terms of economics but also in the military sphere. The USA counter initiative against OBOR is Pivot to Asia Strategy which means that keep check on China's rising on a global level.  China's rising Navy capabilities in the Arabian Sea due to CPEC is a massive challenge for the US Navy in blue water.

    In 2017, General James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense, Said that " China's OBOR is untenable because it is passing through disputed territory" he was referring it towards the CPEC.  He also said that “I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate”.  In the same year he visited India and Afghanistan and said that “the USA opposes OBOR because in the era of globalization one country can’t dictate the one belt one road” and he also said that “we need to confront China where we think its unproductive the direction they are going in”. He declared the US stance towards CPEC which is similar to India. In CPEC perspective the interests of US and India are converging and they are a strategic partner in the region against China.

    ‘Afghanistan Strategy ‘by the USA, portraying Pakistan as a safe haven for the terrorists and drone striking in which areas included in the CPEC routs. These are a clear message for China rather than saying that these are the places of Taliban which are targeted in drone strikes. These things are indications that the USA is opposing China’s OBOR in Pakistan.

    Among all provinces of Pakistan, Baluchistan is the largest province in area vise but in the comparison with other provinces of Pakistan in socio-political standards of living, Baluchistan is the least developed province of Pakistan.  With the initiative of CPEC, China is spending more money on infrastructure and other areas of Baluchistan. It is hoped that with the operationalization of CPEC, the socio-political condition of the people in Baluchistan will enhance. China’s soft image is rising in Baluchistan, and it is considered that with the involvement of China, this province will be included among the developed areas of Pakistan.

    Due to less development, least literacy ratio and failure of provincial government there are a lot of militancy issues emerged. There are a lot of categories among the masses regarding CPEC. First, there are a lot of Baluch nationalist's organizations they are against the CPEC and considered it a monopoly on the natural resources of Baluchistan. Baluchistan Liberation Army, Baluchistan Liberation Front and Lashkar e Baluchistan, these are highly insurgent's movements in Baluchistan which are opposing Chinese involvement. And some political parties are also against the CPEC like Baluchistan Republican Party. The second category is totally in favor of CPEC and they are sitting in the provincial government and also belongs to other political and religious parties. And the third category is common people, they are not interested in government and power they need just basic needs and a good living standard, they are also in favor of CPEC.

     

    In this situation any kind of confrontation from the USA against China in Baluchistan can be harmful for China and also for Pakistan.  Pakistan needs good diplomatic relations with neighbor countries. And Pakistan should create a strategy named focus on Baluchistan. By adopting the all means state of Pakistan should pay special attention on this province and made OBOR successful.