IP Gas Pipeline, Gwadar Port, And Drones

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Context

19 Mar 2007, Gwadar, Pakistan --- A ship is seen anchored at Pakistan's Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea. Pakistan tightened security around a coastal town in Baluchistan province before the opening of a port authorities hope will bring prosperity to the remote and troubled region. --- Image by © Reuters/Corbis
19 Mar 2007, Gwadar, Pakistan — A ship is seen anchored at Pakistan’s Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea. Pakistan tightened security around a coastal town in Baluchistan province before the opening of a port authorities hope will bring prosperity to the remote and troubled region. — Image by © Reuters/Corbis

During the last two weeks, Pakistan has taken two strategic decisions that will have far reaching implications. These choices also signify the direction it is posturing to move towards despite the risks. One of these decisions was to move ahead with the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project. The other being, handing over the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar to a Chinese government owned firm.

The US has consistently pressured and lobbied Pakistan to not proceed with the IP project, as the country would risk facing sanctions if it decides otherwise. On the other hand, the moving over of Gwadar port to the Chinese, raises the potential of it being used as a strategically located naval base, raising alarm for both India and US.

It’s too early to tell if these decisions will impact the Afghan reconciliation process, and Pakistan’s ties with the US and India. A recently leaked US Justice Department document indicates that it will continue the drone strikes in Pakistan and suggests that they may be occurring with nations acquiescence. The release of this information, plus the drone attacks, will further complicate the politics of Pakistan.

Reaching a decision and implementation of it are two different matters. While Pakistan has finally made some key decisions, how long it takes to implement them will involve many more maneuvers between the powers involved.

Nonetheless, Pakistan appears to be giving more weight to its immediate regional economic and political goals. At the same time, if more and more states appear unwilling to cooperate with US over sanctions on Iran, the country may be pushed to reconsider its policy.