Muhammad Zubair Shahid
China and Iran are about to enter into a strategic partnership, the key components of this strategic partnership are economy and defense. China has proposed an investment of USD 400 billion in Iran. This investment will be made in Energy, Telecom, Construction, Banking and various other sectors. In return Oil rich country will offer the supplies at exceptionally low price for next 25 years. China’s appetite for oil can be gauged from the fact that china is world’s largest oil importer and 75% of consumptions is depended on oil import from different countries. It is confirmed that Iran has removed India from the Chabahar railway track project of 620 Km which will connect Iran with Afghanistan. It is rumored that this development took place when China has finalized the 25 years’ investment plan with Iran.
For last 4 decades Iran has hostile relations with USA, these relations deterioratedwhen US security forces killed Gen. QasimSuleimani a distinguished and decorated Iranian military officer, in retaliation efforts Iran attacked US base in Iraq, in response to this attack USA imposed additional sanctions on Iran which resulted Iranian economy to shrink further and according to IMF forecast there will be zero growth in 2020. It is worth mentioning here that Iranian authorities have rejected the US aid in fight against coronavirus.
China is emerging as global economic power; Chinese products have footprints in global markets including USA. In 2019 US trade deficit with China was USD 345.6 billion (US imports from China USD 452.2 billion and US export to China USD 106.6 billion).US major imports from china are computers, cell phones and Apparel and footwear, whereas china is importing commercial aircraft, soybeans and semiconductors.US imports are mainly from manufacturer that send the raw material to China for low cost manufacturing. In an effort to manage the huge trade deficit President Trump began imposing tariff on Chinese Imports that triggered the trade war between two economic giants. These relations soared further after the outbreak of Corona pandemic. China believed that US Army brought this virus into the country and as a counter statement US President is heard saying coronavirus as “Chinese Virus”. Mike Pompeo US secretary of in his current visit to UK blatantly said we will establish a global coalition against China, US has ordered the closure of Chinese consulate in Huston and in tit for tat effort China has ordered the closure of US consulate in Chengdu. US government is making desperate efforts to boot the economy rattled by coronavirus pandemic.
With these developments geopolitical scenario is rapidly changing in the immediate neighboring of Pakistan. The China –Iran partnership can be a game changer in the region. Tehran has an obvious reason to accept this partnership gladly when its economy is jolted by US led sanction whereas at the same time it will be a strategic move for China as well, China foresees this development as an extension to CPEC project and envisions a swift and quick access to the global markets (Specially Europe and Russia) through road networks.Pakistan’s foreign office must take the advantage from these developments. Pakistan enjoys cordial relations with China and this is time to strengthen the relation with Iran. Situation can be little bit tricky and demands a through planning and analysis, this regional integration will certainly be economically and politically beneficial for Pakistan, China and Iran. Since US is on hostile terms with China and Iran and passed disapproving statement about CPEC, Pakistan must tell US that it respects and values the relations with USA but cannot isolate itself from the immediate regional neighbors, especially China which stood by with Pakistan in every thick and thin.
The Writer is a qualified accountant ACMA and CGMA from The Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants London UK.