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Axar.az presents the article "The Azerbaijani-Pakistani strategic partnership accelerates Eurasian integration" by Andrew Korybko.
The successful visit of Pakistani Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa confirms that Azerbaijan is the South Asian state's closest partner from the former Soviet Union. The two countries agreed to launch joint military training, particularly with respect to carrying out such operations in the mountainous terrain that both of them have, as well as arms and other related forms of cooperation. Their strategic partnership shouldn't be surprising to many observers since Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan's newfound independence in 1991. They've since very proudly supported one another on the Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir issues that are very dear to both of their countries and connected with relevant UNSC Resolutions.
There's more to their relations than just military and political ties, though, since it's the emerging economic aspect that's the most promising and which will ultimately serve to improve their people's lives. It'll also create a more solid foundation for facilitating people-to-people interactions too, which will, in turn, solidify their strategic partnership. From Azerbaijan's perspective, Pakistan is an immensely promising market for its industrial exports considering its rapidly developing and Chinese-backed economy. As for Pakistan, it regards Azerbaijan's comparatively more developed economy as an ideal destination for its agricultural and textile exports.
The challenge, however, is connecting these two together. Therein lies the significance of their and their mutual Turkish ally's visionary integration plans. There are two viable means for linking their economies: through their shared Iranian neighbour or via the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan. In practice, these can be regarded as the Western and Northern extensions of the flagship project of China's Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). W-CPEC+ and N-CPEC+ respectively are both very exciting informal proposals, but each depends on factors that are mostly out of the control of their stakeholders.
Iran is presently suffering from very intense unilateral US sanctions that have served as a deterrent to international trade, while the future of Afghanistan after the US' planned withdrawal by September 11th is uncertain. Neither Azerbaijan, Pakistan, nor Turkey have much influence over these processes, but they can still collectively pool their efforts to brainstorm some pragmatic solutions. For example, workarounds might be established for legally evading the US' strict sanctions regime in the event that it isn't lessened or even outright lifted later this year like some hope. These three can also discuss ways to stabilize Afghanistan.
Whatever the outcome of these proposals may be, there's no denying that the Azerbaijani-Pakistani Strategic Partnership is very impressive. It represents the South Caucasus country's ambitious foray into the enormous South Asian region which speaks to its rising Eurasian influence after last year's Patriotic War. With respect to Pakistan, it's been struggling for years to exert transregional influence commensurate to its size, but its newly promulgated grand strategy of geo-economics that was publicly unveiled by its political, diplomatic, and military leaders during the inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue in March should help it finally achieve this dream.
Azerbaijani-Pakistani military cooperation is therefore just the icing on the cake of their strategic partnership. It shows the world how close these two countries are and how much they trust one another. They and their shared Turkish ally can also prospectively cooperate in a trilateral way to exert positive influence across West Asia (Iran), Central Asia (Turkmenistan), and South Asia (Afghanistan) via the W-CPEC+ and N-CPEC+ visions. In other words, a new bloc is gradually forming in Eurasia, one which is of major significance to three of the supercontinent's most important regions.
2021.06.23 / 15:25