Trump India visit: Containment of China or Regional Peace and Prosperity?

On 24 Feb 2020, the president of the United States Trump paid a visit to India; approximately 10 million people cordially welcome him. His speech was very heart touching and need to be clarified two things, first why Trump used the Indo-Pacific instead of the Asia Pacific, and good words for Pakistan on the soil of adversary. We all think of some questions that: what forced Trump to say something in favor of Pakistan on the land of his enemies? What is the reason behind his statement? Does he want to break the romance between Pakistan and China? Or how can he hope for the regional prosperity without taking Mr Modi’s serious actions in the region? These issues require very careful and systematic analysis because Trump mentioned that he would review alliance policy. He attached great importance to the alliance formation during his speech in India.

Before we can answer these questions, we need to understand what an alliance is and how it works. In international relations, alliance refers to formal or informal security cooperation agreements. Alliances can be defensive or offensive, symmetrical or asymmetric. It is intended to provide a means to attack a third party or to guarantee each other in the event that another country attacks a member of the alliance. So when will the states form an alliance? In simple word, whenever the country faces an external threat, they form an alliance. As during the speech, Trump attached importance to the quad, and the Blue Dot project, which is significant to the United States, as it is launched by them for the purpose to bring the governments and the private sectors of the US, Australia, and Japan together. However, this project could not be a success without the cooperation of India, and surely it will cooperate because it wants to encounter the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific region. As we know the world is anarchic and nobody knows the intention of other states, where the great powers are continually competing with each other and looking for opportunities at the expense of other states.

In 2019, to maintain the traditional way of power politics that calling the balance of power, the Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) Admiral Davidson mentioned regarding anti-China alliances that: “the capability set that I think must be displayed and put in the battlespace is the set of alliances and partnerships that we are all capable of.” Further, he said that the BRI is exclusive, and predatory associating it with coercion. However, the Belt and Road Initiative is a project launched by China that aims to create an opportunity for win-win cooperation instead of a zero-sum game. One cannot snub the geo-economics and geo-political importance of Pakistan in the success of BRI. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), considered a game-changer and a flagship project of the BRI that connects China’s Muslim city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port city. In this case, if the United States and its allies target China then it will directly affect the economy of Pakistan. On the other hand, if the United States succeeds in breaking the romance of Pakistan and China, it will be the greatest success in their history, and the Pakistani nation will always pay a heavy price for it. 

The wordings of president Trump in India during a speech that “our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one. Thanks to these efforts, we are beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan and we are hopeful for reduced tensions, greater stability and the future of harmony for all of the nations of South Asia,” is highly appreciated in Pakistan, and deserve to be appreciated as he spoke in favor of Pakistan on the soil of its foe. It is true that Pakistan is making endless efforts to maintain security and promote peace and stability in the region rather than war and conflict. As Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan is anti-war and does not like to initiate war, which can be understood through a critical analysis of the current crisis with India. He is constantly trying to tell the world that what Modi is doing is not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region. The atrocities in Kashmir are at zenith, which will be not less than “third world war” if the international community did not pay attention. As the world can see, Modi is another halter, and he is following the ideology of Nazi Germany. Our purpose here is not to be biased but to explain reality in order to promote peace and prosperity in the region.

It seems that Pakistan will be used again like past. On the soil of adversary, the good words of Trump just pretend that the US genuinely wants to ameliorate relations with Pakistan. However, it is only their strategy to cut off Pakistan and China long time romance. The great powers fear each other and always compete with each other for power as the power is the currency of great-power politics, and states compete for it among themselves. Now against whom the US is reviewing to make an alliance with other states? Who is the competitor of the US? There is no doubt that China is the biggest competitor to the United States in the region. The United States will never allow China to become a hegemonic power in the region, so it will try to find opportunities to gain more power at the expense of other countries that Pakistan is no exception.

If the United States really wants to improve relations with Pakistan, what does Pakistan need to do? Under such circumstances, Pakistan should not join any alliance, but should sign a strategic partnership, which is an important factor in resolving the Kashmir issue and maintaining long-term relations. As we know the strategic partnership is are: ‘common values’, ‘common interests’, ‘mutual understanding’ and ‘equality of size’. In addition, Pakistan must normalize relations with the United States but should not compromise on relations with China which is a trustable ally. Previously, the Pakistani army ant civilian has lost its lives in the U.S.-led war on terror, but Washington did not respect and appreciated their performance, and even the relationship between the two countries is still painful. Pakistan must seek policies of mutual benefit, and do not repeat the mistakes made in the past.

Rahat Shah
Rahat Shah
Rahat Shah is currently a student of MAs in Jilin University’s department of International Relations at School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Changchun, PR China. He can be reached via Emil: Rahatshah8[at]