Joint security shield
Pakistan, being sixth largest army of the world and sole nuclear Muslim state, proposed to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) the setting up of a formal ‘security bloc’ to combat any external or internal security threats.
The creditable policy initiative also stressed the need to have a strategic partnership which would also ensure food safety and economic integration. Functional security would be epicenter of the proposed security bloc.
Extended military cooperation would be essential for GCC ongoing socio-economic prosperity and production. Pakistan can provide common military/security bloc to GCC which would be paradigm shift in the region. It would be curial for the GCC short and long terms geo-political and geo-strategic interests. The existing Peninsula Shield in the GCC would be further strengthened and streamlined.
Up-gradation of the weapon system and fighting capabilities of the GCC Peninsula shield would be further cemented by the meaningful Pak-GCC strategic security bloc. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates led the way and strongly demonstrated the power of the GCC Peninsula shield in Bahrain in 2011. There would a joint military to face any potential or emerging regional threats and confronting realities. The prospects of having new weapon system and unifying military training would also be initiated under this planned joint strategic security bloc between the Pakistan and the GCC.
Most importantly, political turmoil in Bahrain has changed the terms of regional engagement. Through its conflict resolution policy and rigorous diplomatic efforts the government of Pakistan succeeded to decrease the chances of expected proxy war in the region. The government of Pakistan reiterated that Pakistan supports all efforts for peace and stability in the Islamic world so as to promote development and prosperity of the common people.
Pakistan and GCC countries can complement each other well due to their close proximity and common interests. Moreover, chalking out of common strategy against terrorism, extremism, human & drugs trafficking and the last but not the least maritime piracy could be rigorously followed. Human trafficking and maritime piracy have become major security concerns to socio-economic stability, investment inflow and above all energy security in the region. The recently occurred horrible incidents of Somalia pirates badly exposed regional vulnerabilities and security derisory. Therefore, Pakistan-GCC security bloc would jointly cope with this widespread menace in the days to come.
Instead of heavily rely on equipment of the Western countries or borrowed ideas, regional security bloc may be the appropriate answer to the emerging security concerns to regional countries. Security bloc would safe guard the national sovereignty and territorial supremacy of the member countries. It may also provide strategic-cushion and better bargaining position to all the GCC countries against its rivals in the region. It is obvious from Pakistan’s important and decisive role in the recently happened political fiasco in Bahrain.
It is hoped that Pakistan-GCC strategic security bloc would eliminate non-state threats like climate change and water conservation. Food security has become a burning issue in the region especially in the GCC which could be solved by having a common security bloc between Pakistan and GCC countries. Since Pakistan is agriculture country and it easily fulfills the food demands of all the GCC countries. Pakistan has a lot of agriculture lands which can be better utilised with the investment and technology from Gulf countries.
Greater Economic Integration
GCC is one of the main sources of worker remittances in the country. Millions of Pakistanis are employed in these countries. The GCC is also one of the biggest sources of investments and joint ventures in the country. Therefore, the proposed security bloc will further boost up economic integration for the win-win situation to both sides.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s macro-economy stands tall in the ongoing global economic recession, EU/US debt crisis. It extends its resources and financial reserves ($590 billion foreign exchange reserves, the third largest in the world after China and Japan) for the betterment of its people and regional economies. So way forward, for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is to enhance economic ties for the benefits of both the countries.
Energy security is the mantra of every country around the world. Oil and gas reservoirs are on the decline around the globe. New alternative/renewable energy resources are making serious inroad. Mutual cooperation in solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and nuclear energy could be considered in order to compete with the increasingly required energy demands and also to reduce carbon foot-notes. The energy mutual cooperation would provide ample opportunities to Pakistan-GCC leading by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. It would gear-up the onward march of socio-economic prosperity in the days to come in the region. United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are seriously cooperating with Pakistan to overcome its energy deficits.
In a larger context, Middle East region is passing through its toughest challenge of survival. From Manama to Hama, the political map of the Middle East is being redrawn. The waves of change (Arab Spring) have already produced serious dints in the socio-economic plans and physical landscape in the region. Even the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is feeling the pinch of ongoing Arab Spring and has already lost billions of dollars. It is hoped that the proposed Pakistan-GCC security bloc would be instrumental to maintain law and order, peace, harmony and sovereignty.
Peace in Afghanistan
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have high stakes in bringing peace in unstable Afghanistan. Both the countries can pool their resources to maintain peace in the region at large. The way forward for both the countries is to work jointly for bringing peace in Afghanistan and in the region.