Pakistan

A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on 22 January 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP)

Chinese academic: The Middle East today is not in a worse state

Academic Fan Hongda argues that viewed against its modern history filled with contradictions and struggles, the Middle East is not in a worse state today, despite the recent rise in military operations in a short span of time.
A man holds a portrait of slain Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani on 5 January 2024 in the Iranian capital Tehran. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Terrorist attack in Iran sends shockwaves closer to China’s borders

With the latest 4 January bombing in Iran by the Islamic State, likely by the ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province) branch of the grouping, China is facing a renewed threat of one of its greatest fears: terrorism connecting the Middle East and Central Asia.
Chinese trucks parked at Gwadar port. These trucks were part of the trade convoy that carried the first export consignment from Kashgar to Gwadar for onward shipment on 13 November 2016. (Khurram Husain/Dawn)

Why Baloch separatists in Pakistan want China's BRI out

With more attacks on Chinese nationals threatened by Baloch separatists in Pakistan, Beijing has pressured Islamabad to take foolproof security measures to protect its nationals and interests in the South Asian country. Columnist Syed Fazl-e-Haider explains.
Leaders of states and officials of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) are seen on a screen during a summit via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 4 July 2023. (Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Kremlin via Reuters)

SCO summit showcases India’s rise as a major power

India has hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) virtual summit for the first time, bringing together Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other heads of state in the grouping. This shows India’s growing influence and deft political navigation between China and the US, but the verdict is still out on whether it can play a larger role in easing global conflicts.
A man walks on an overpass near a construction site of a subway station in Beijing, China, 18 April 2023. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China’s overseas lending needs a full-fledged debt restructuring

China finds itself in a similar predicament as Japan in the 1970s, when the latter was a major lender to the Latin American countries which eventually suffered a major debt crisis in the 1980s. Now a major lender to various developing countries, especially after Covid, China’s apparent approach of kicking the can down the road means that time bombs of massive defaults are waiting to go off.
Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stand guard outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, on 14 April 2023. (Narinder Nanu/AFP)

The India-Pakistan saga at the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting: The China factor

Pundits hoping for a sign of detente between India and Pakistan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting in Goa recently would have been disappointed. It is in Pakistan’s interest to keep relations with India testy leading up to its elections, and China’s support may just give it the ammunition it needs.
Police stand guard near the parliament building in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 17 May 2022. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Families that rule: Thoughts about Asia's political landscape

The political environment in Asia has been marked with upheavals and instability. While each country has their own system of democratic elections in the modern sense, they appear to share a number of common themes that resembles the backward political practices of 19th century Europe. Academic Chen Liujun assesses the regional developments.
Traffic moves past apartment buildings in the Clifton area of Karachi, Pakistan, on 5 March 2022. (Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg)

Pakistan, Russia and China: A new tripartite geopolitical centre of gravity in South Asia?

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Moscow during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Pakistan’s abstention in the UN General Assembly vote denouncing the Russian war could be an indication of a policy shift towards a more independent Pakistani foreign policy. Such a development could mean closer Pakistani ties with both China and Russia and the forming of a new geopolitical nexus in South Asia.
In this photo taken on 18 February 2022, a Taliban fighter stands guard at the entrance gate of the Afghan-Iran border crossing bridge in Zaranj, Afghanistan. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP)

Afghanistan's role in changing the power balance in Eurasia

Afghanistan has proved to be a quagmire, whether for the British, Russians or Americans. While it seems that the US exit leaves a power vacuum eagerly filled by regional challengers, Afghanistan’s unique set of attributes seems to be running strategic stakeholders ragged. In the event, the Afghan exception could offer lessons for constraining rivals in other spheres such as the Taiwan Strait.