Pakistan, India and Iran

5 May 2016

A history of bilateral relations

Syed Zeeshan Haider

Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions against Iran in order to suspend its nuclear enrichment programs. Iran was not allowed to trade with the international world in fields like nuclear energy, missiles, petroleum, banking and even the shopping industry. Consequently, Iran signed a deal with the USA and the international world on January 16, 2016 as a result of which, all the previously imposed sanctions were uplifted. The President of Iran vowed to restore the country’s relations with the rest of the world. Resultantly, he began visiting other countries. Iranian President, Hassan Rohani, went to Italy and afterwards, met Pope Francis in Rome. This was the beginning of his trip to Europe. During the trip, Iran and European Union decided to increase the trade goal to 28 billion dollars. Towards the end of March, Iranian President visited Pakistan as well. Six different MOUs were signed while the trade goal was set at 5 billion dollars. Our relations with Ian have now entered a new era, which is encouraging.
Everything is going well on surface but there are certain forces that cannot see Pakistan and Iran get together for trade and friendly bilateral relations. These forces were in action even when Iranian President was about to visit Pakistan. A few days before his arrival, Indian Agent Kulbhushan Yadav came into limelight. It has been told that he was associated with the Indian Intelligence Agency and had entered Pakistan through Iran. There is something peculiarly strange with the timings of Kulbhushan, making an appearance right before Iranian President’s visit to Pakistan. There is a question mark over this timing. Another question mark is over the success of Iranian president’s visit as well. At this point in time, there is a scuffle going on between Iran and its opposition forces in Syria and Middle East. The implications of this tussle can be felt in Pakistan as well. Another aspect that must be noted here is that Iran and India have come closer during the last three decades.
It is a well-known fact that Iran, Pakistan and India are fighting terrorism in their respective countries. In India, communist as well Sikh secessionist movements are in full swing. Similarly, Iran is currently fighting extremists in its territory as well. Historically, Iran supported northern
alliance in Afghanistan and opposed Taliban on international level. If the situation is observed closely, it becomes clear that Iran and India coincide on ideological as well practical level on most of these issues. Therefore, some people consider this concurrence between the countries as a force, working meticulously against Pakistan. In reality, this is not the case. If the situation in all three of these countries is analyzed objectively, a number of factual details unfold.
In reality, India, Pakistan and Iran have the same motives, in essence. Since all three of them are confronted with similar problems, their objectives are more or less similar. Pakistan and India have suffered a lot at the hands of terrorism. However, there is a lack of buoyancy and confidence between the two countries, which need to be improved. Moreover, friendly relations with Iran will be beneficial for both the countries as Iran is a trust-worthy neighbor, confronted with similar problems.
Furthermore, if one our borders is safe, we will be able to use our defense resources on other borders. This will help save resources, energy and human capital. Similarly, enhanced relations with India will lead to a decline in our defense budget and will consequently; leave more resources to be utilized in the war against terrorism. These trilateral relations will result in improved economic conditions in the region. India is doing far better than Pakistan in economic terms; therefore, we need to establish friendly relations with our neighbors more than ever. Before setting terms and conditions for the mutual trilateral trade, it is imperative that there is peace and tranquility in the region and for this to achieve, all three of these countries need to promote the exchange of culture, students, academics, intellectuals, and journalists. The problems can be solved only through mutual understanding and policy of coexistence, as it is impossible to change our geographical neighbors.
It is the need of the hour that our intellectuals and media, bring about a shift in their behavior and work towards the establishment of more friendly relations with India and Iran. The results, without doubt, will be far reaching and beneficial for the entire region.

Published in Pakistan Today on 05-05-16

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