Iran-Pakistan Strikes: New Security Trends or Challenges Emerging in the Region

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Iran-Pakistan Strikes: New Security Trends or Challenges Emerging in the Region Blog Image

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in News?
  • Iran-Pakistan Strikes
  • How Did the World React to the Iran-Pakistan Strikes?
  • Trends in Security Interdependence Emerging in the Region after the Iran-Pakistan Strikes
  • Deep Concerns for India

Why in News?

  • The tit-for-tat missile strikes between Iran and Pakistan, combined with attacks on Indian shipping in the Red Sea, underline the subcontinent's and Gulf's interconnected concerns.
  • Although the geopolitics of the two regions have long been connected, this marks the start of a phase in which the two regions will factor more heavily than ever in each other's security calculus.

Iran-Pakistan Strikes

  • At least 11 people were killed as Iran and Pakistan launched missiles and drones targeting specific militant groups in each other’s territories.
  • Earlier, two bases of Baluchi militant group Jaish al Adl in Pakistan (Balochistan) were targeted by Iranian missiles.
    • Islamabad denounced the attack as a “blatant violation” of its airspace, and lodged a strong protest with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran.
    • It also recalled its ambassador to Iran and suspended all planned high-level bilateral visits.
  • In retaliation Pakistan’s army carried out precision strikes in Iran (in Siestan-Balochistan province) using killer drones and rockets that struck “terrorist” groups Balochistan Liberation Army and the Balochistan Liberation Front.

How Did the World React to the Iran-Pakistan Strikes?

  • The United States condemned the Iranian strikes in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria and said that Iran has violated the sovereignty of multiple countries in the region.
  • China offered to play a “constructive role” to ease tension between Pakistan and Iran following their missile strikes against each other and asked the two countries to “exercise restraint and calmness and avoid escalation”.
  • Russia’s foreign ministry called on the two nations to show maximum restraint and solve their differences through diplomacy or risk playing into the hands of those who would like to see the region descend into chaos.
    • The two countries are part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and it is regrettable that this is happening between friendly SCO countries.
  • India (reacting to the Iranian airstrikes on Pakistan) has said that even as this is a matter between Iran and Pakistan, the Indian side understands “actions that countries take in their self defence.”
    • India has an uncompromising position of zero tolerance towards terrorism.
  • Turkey’s foreign ministry believes that the problems should be resolved with an understanding of friendship and brotherhood, based on mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries.
  • The Taliban (Afghanistan) foreign ministry added that both sides should resolve disputes through diplomacy and dialogue.

Trends in Security Interdependence Emerging in the Region after the Iran-Pakistan Strikes

  • Fragility of Pakistan’s western borderlands: The ungoverned and under-governed spaces in the Baloch lands provide fertile ground for smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and cross-border political militancy backed by third parties.
  • Regional power politics between Arabs, Israelis and Iranians: The deepening conflict between Iran and its Arab neighbours on the one hand and Israel on the other breeds trans-border interventions.
  • Balochistan’s geopolitical location: It is located at the mouth of the oil-rich Gulf and also makes it part of the new great game.
  • Pakistan’s dilemma:
    • Pakistan's difficulties in dealing with Balochistan's long-standing unrest have been exacerbated by Beijing's strategic presence in Gwadar.
    • Gwadar is one of the critical nodes of the much-touted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and a key Indian Ocean port for Chinese naval presence in the Arabian Sea.
    • Pakistan has often accused India of meddling in Baloch affairs.
  • Relations between Afghanistan and Iran:
    • Afghanistan and Iran have long had their share of problems with each other. Some of them have sharpened under the Taliban regimes.
    • These include differences over religious ideology, minority rights, border management, and sharing transboundary rivers, etc.
  • The role of the Taliban government:
    • The Taliban government in Kabul has been quite forceful in dealing with Pakistan.
    • It would be surprising if they did not take advantage of the opportunity to enter the Gulf in order to gain new allies and expand their influence.
  • Concerns for the Region:
    • The tit-for-tat attacks within two days have raised tensions in the volatile region, already engulfed by Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the targeting of the merchant ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthis.
    • Whether they want it or not, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan will now be drawn deeper into the unstable Middle East.

Deep Concerns for India

  • The fragility of the Baloch frontier connecting South Asia and the Gulf, China’s strategic presence in Balochistan, and Beijing’s growing role in the Gulf are of deep concern to India.
  • Delhi has traditionally stayed neutral in the conflicts within the Middle East. But Delhi might find it increasingly hard to do as India’s economic and security stakes rise in the volatile Middle East.
  • The attacks on its shipping in the Arabian Sea threaten its commercial lifelines, and unsurprisingly, India has deployed ten warships to protect its interests.
  • India’s clear stand against terrorism, its close ties with Israel, and its deeper engagement with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are all new elements of New Delhi’s Middle East policy.
  • The cross-border attacks between Iran and Pakistan point to a changing region that will demand India to rethink many of its past assumptions about security in the Middle East.

Q1) What is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?

The CPEC is an ongoing development mega project which aims to connect Gwadar Port of Pakistan to China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, via a network of highways, railways and pipelines.

Q2) What is the significance of the Middle East in India?

The Middle East region plays a vital role in India's economy as it supplies nearly two-thirds of India's total oil import, bilateral trade is also flourishing in recent years particularly with UAE and other Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

Source: Iran-Pakistan strikes: 5 reasons why India’s stakes deepen in the new Great Game | IE