The world can be understood cartographically in three ways; geographical demarcations, political boundaries, or mental maps. Indo-Pacific is also a mental map or intellectual interpretation that has gained significant attention in recent times. Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States declares Indo-Pacific is the region stretching from the Pacific coastline of the US to the Indian Ocean. The area within and around the Indian and Pacific Oceans is broadly known as the Indo-Pacific region. The region encompasses half of the world’s population, the seven largest militaries in the world, and two-thirds of the world economy. In terms of politics and economics, Indo-Pacific is considered the center of the globe as it contains the most crucial sea routes and most populous nations of the world with high energy demands. This mental map has gained more significance due to the rising influence of China across the region and strives of the US to resurge its declining alliance system.
The United States leads Indo-Pacific Strategy. The US considers Indo-Pacific as the major region determining its future as the region is the economic and trade hub of the globe with high energy demands. The Indo-Pacific strategy aims to contain the rise of China in the region and increase US influence.
Japan is a close ally of the US in the Indo-Pacific. Japan under its former Prime Minister Shenzo Abe actively promoted its Indo-Pacific Vision of 2008.
India is a major advocate of the Indo-Pacific Strategy as it provides India with the opportunity to further its interest in South Asia. Being a close ally of the US, India has the opportunity to exercise more influence in international affairs.
Australia was one of the countries that initiated the concept of Indo-Pacific. Australia advocates Indo-Pacific policy not only to have close ties with the US but also to enhance its influence and presence in Southeast Asia. South Asian countries have been the most prominent supporters of this policy due to their strategic interests. Indonesia, Singapore, European Union, and ASEAN are major stakeholders in the region. India flanks the Indian Ocean, and Indonesia lies at the crossroad of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean and Australia anchors Indo-Pacific to the northwest, southeast, and middle.
Major strategic shifts have occurred in the region largely due to China’s military and economic expansion i.e. its modernization program, rapid military build-up, and militarization of Islands in the South China Sea. Pakistan due to its connections with the Middle East, and Central Asia and geographical proximity to the Indian Ocean has various opportunities and challenges simultaneously. The “Asia Pacific” zone has been central to global politics but the strategic shifts have transformed the focus from geopolitical to geo-strategic and geo-economic. The great power rivalry between China and US stands at the core of these strategic shifts. In addition to regional transformations, changes, and surroundings, Pakistan is also affected by evolving maritime environment in the Indian Ocean.
China’s military and economic rise, US policies to contain China, and its efforts to decrease Russian influence in the region has made this zone strategically important. India-the immediate neighbor of Pakistan-is the major strategic partner of the US in the China Containment policy. With various defense agreements, it enjoys the status of “Net Security Provider” in the region. Tense relations between US-Iran have resulted in narrowing Pakistan’s choice to diversify its relations with the other immediate neighbor i.e. Iran. The US policy of Free and Open Trade-in Indo-Pacific FOIP encircles China. The Quadrilateral Security Agreement between Japan, India, Australia, the US, and the trilateral defense agreement between the US, UK, and Australia manifest active involvement of the US in Asia. QUAD has a policy outlook that surrounds China to contain its rising influence in Asia. AUKUS aims only at military cooperation in the Indian Ocean. Israel is yet another important player on the western end of the Indian Ocean. Through the Abraham Accords (a deal of Israel with Bahrain, UAE, Morocco, and Sudan to recognize the former) Israel has entered the region. The diplomatic relations of Israel with the Arab world provide it with the opportunity to get involved in the Persian Gulf and consequently in Iran.
In South Asia, regional stability is interlinked with the security of Afghanistan. After the takeover by the Taliban, the security of Pakistan is implicated. The regional security dilemma for Pakistan resurges as India gets a more significant role in the US alliance. Pakistan’s biggest opportunity in the region is CPEC. Under, the US-China power rivalry and the the growing significance of India as a US ally and Pak-China relations are the strength of foreign policy.
US-China Rivalry in Region:
For the last seven decades, Asia-Pacific referred to the US influence in this region but the conceptual connotations have also readjusted with strategic shifts. Indo-Pacific now manifests growing rivalry and power competition between US and China. The central theme of the US-China competition relates to security cooperation, trade and development, and global governance. Both countries try to strengthen themselves in these domains. For this decade, Indo-Pacific would become the focal point of US-China rivalry. This power rivalry will reshape the international order and strategic dynamics in the region.
The US policies of rebalancing and Pivot of Asia are now transformed to shift its focus to surround China. Now, the US in its Indo-Pacific Policy presents the region as geopolitically and geostrategically important for its vital interests. The Indo-Pacific Strategy released by Biden Administration in February 2022 reveals the recognition of the economic importance and political significance of the region by American officials. The US has tried to reevaluate its position in this region by manifesting it in its recent policy; “Free and Open Indo –Pacific”. Due to the immense strategic, military, and economic importance of the Indo-Pacific, the United States has declared it “the single most consequential region for America’s future” in its recent Indo-Pacific Strategy.
The US has 2.3 trillion USD in trade and 1.3 trillion USD in foreign investments in the region with major trade routes. The US considers the Indo-Pacific vital to its prosperity and security. The shift from “Asia-Pacific” to “Indo-Pacific” occurred due to the rising footprints of China as a global power and the declining influence of the US in this region. The US perceived China’s aim to become a superpower by combining all its diplomatic, military, economic, and technological might in the region. The Indo-Pacific Strategy claims that the region faces mounting challenges mainly from the Peoples Republic of China. Despite the rise of China as a major trading partner of various states, the US is determined to maintain its supremacy as a global power through its military presence in this region and increasing the Quadrilateral Strategic Competition with Australia, India, and Japan.
China perceives the US strategy of Free and Open Trade as a major step to contain Chinese influence in the region. It is strengthening its ties through win-win cooperation and regional connectivity through Belt and Road Initiative. Through growing strides in the South China Sea and BRI, China aims to bind geo-political and geo-strategic space to become a resident global power. Right now, China is a major trading partner of nearly all the states in this region. Security agreements of China with the Solomon Islands have surprised the US. The Chinese leadership also plans to visit various Pacific island countries for bilateral trade agreements largely on China’s terms. On the other hand, the United States is still the net security provider in the region and possesses the largest navy.
US Strategy in Indo-Pacific:
The US perceives China as its “strategic competitor”. The US Strategy of Indo-Pacific 2017 described the US-China power rivalry as a geopolitical competition between two world orders i.e. free and repressive. The US considers development and infrastructure programs led by China as a threat to its interests. The counter-strategy of the US involves partnerships with all states in the region to increase its influence by undermining China. Along with China, Russia is also considered a major element of the US rebalancing policy.
The US didn’t have much interest in the Indian Ocean as it had in the Pacific Ocean. Its involvement started when Great Britain withdrew from Suez Canal in 1967. Its involvement further increased with the oil crisis of the 1970s later followed by the Iranian revolution. In 2011, President Hillary Clinton’s use of the term “Indo-Pacific” revitalized the strategic importance of the region to safeguard American interests. Later, Obama’s administration strived to rebalance US leadership in the Asia Pacific by strengthening economic, political, and security ties with the regional countries. Trump administration emphasized on security aspect under the “America First” doctrine. Now Biden administration aims to strengthen the long-term commitment and position of the US in the Indo-Pacific.
The current Indo-Pacific Strategy has five objectives;
• Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)
• Regional connectivity
• Regional Prosperity
• Increased Regional security
• Regional resilience
The Indo-Pacific Action Plan proposes strategies to implement the above objectives. The first one is to drive new resources to the region through increased investment. The US aims to open new consulates and embassies in the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia. It also proposes to increase maritime awareness and maritime security. With the new partnership, high standard trade, digitalized economy, digital connectivity, transparent investment, and high structure infrastructure, it wants to lead the indo-pacific economy. The US will reinforce deterrence through concrete programs on cyber security, advanced technology, quantum technology, artificial intelligence, and undersea capabilities. Strengthening and unifying ASEAN by addressing maritime challenges, security needs, people-to-people ties, and increased interconnectivity is also a policy goal of the US in the region. The US plans to enhance collaboration with India to support its rise and leadership in South Asia as it is a driving force of QUAD. By supporting resilient, trustworthy, secure technologies and good governance, the US would increase its influence in the region.
At Shangri-La Dialogue 2009, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates pronounced “Net Security Provider” for India. The US shifted to the conceptual underpinning of “Indo-Pacific” in 2017 when Trump contextualized it with India. The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ refers to the geostrategic readjustment of the US by giving an elevated position to India in the region. In the context of the rising influence of China, the interests of the US and India in the Indian Ocean are mutual. BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation) discussed China as a threat to the securityand freedom of both states. This agreement would enable India to access vital nautical, aeronautical, and topographical data to target drones and missiles. The US has such foundational agreements with various other countries as well. The signing states of such agreements are enabled to promote interoperability among militaries by common systems and standards. After a decade of negotiation, US and India signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding in 2016. This agreement benefited India by providing it access to US military string facilities and in turn, the US could benefit from India as the biggest player in Asia-Pacific.
India became the sixth-largest economy in the world quite fast. It started to assert itself in the region. With a coastline of 7500 Kilometers, it makes a rim in the Indian Ocean. India’s hegemonic ambition not only aims to contain the rise of China but also threatens the economic and strategic stability of Pakistan in the region. The US is continuously supporting the enhancement of the aggressive and hegemonic role of India to contain China. It declared India as its “Net Security Provider” in the region. This umbrella term describes the most important strategic roles assigned to India by the US.
The Nuclearization of the Indian Ocean by India is a threat to security and strategic stability in the Indian Ocean. Under Modi’s leadership, the Indian Ocean policy is far more aggressive and proactive than it has ever been. India has also created surveillance systems in the Indian Ocean. This step by New Delhi has posed serious threats to Islamabad. Different foundational agreements have provided more flexibility to the Indian Navy to carry out operations in the Indian Ocean.
Recently, India has also strengthened military ties with the UAE and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia whose Navies were previously partners with Pakistan. By 2027, the Indian Navy aims to have a fleet of more than 200 warships and nuclear submarines. This poses a significant threat to the stability and security of Pakistan in the Indian Ocean. In the wake of the rise of China and its containment efforts by the US, the permanent presence of foreign forces in the Indian Ocean further complicates the situation for Pakistan. The military buildup from regional and non-regional power in Indo Pacific cannot be neglected either. Through agreements with Indonesia, India is trying to enhance its maritime presence in Asia. On one side, all these agreements not only aim to empower the strategic position of India but to contain the rise of China as well. On the other side, it poses serious threats to the strategic stability of Pakistan in the region.
Abraham Accords is the recent agreement between UAE, Israel, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan. If it transforms into military engagement, this recent development can have long-term implications for the region. The bilateral cooperation which still rests on economic and cultural relations can diverge to the Middle East which would complicate the strategic environment as Iran would not tolerate these developments. This would lead to the blockage of the Strait of Hormuz. The complication is the same for Pakistan. The developments resulting from these agreements would pull Pakistan and Iran further closer to Russia and China to ensure their regional stability. Israel would be a direct actor in the Indian Ocean due to the support of its allies i.e. US, India, and Arab countries. The US would provide potential support to Israel if it wants to enter the region directly. In case of military tensions between Iran and Israel, Pakistan would be directly affected.
Implications for Pakistan:
South Asia is the world’s largest growing yet least developed region with nearly a quarter of the world population and vulnerable to strategic threats. The range of traditional and non-traditional threats, power rivalry between super-states, and the growing military buildup of immediate neighbors have various implications for Pakistan. Security threats posed by various regional and non-regional forces are challenging. Strategically, Pakistan lies in one of the most decisive regions in the Indo-Pacific. Its major concerns lie with its coastline, Exclusive Economic Zones, and maritime border. Beyond these,
Pakistan has no direct stake in Indo-Pacific. Pakistan is directly and indirectly affected by the US-China power rivalry in Indo-Pacific. Pakistan has a significant position in Belt and Road Initiative due to CPEC. In South Asia, the role of India is elevated by the US as its close ally in the region.
The challenge for Pakistan multiplies due to this. After Abraham’s accords any military tension between Iran and Israel would impact the North Arabian Sea. Pakistan would face direct consequences as it is the area with maximum interest. If the US and its allies succeed to encircle China, Pakistan provides China with an alternate route to import oil from Iran. This further brings Pakistan to the forefront of the great power rivalry between China and the US.
In the wake of growing power rivalry in the Indo-Pacific, here are a few recommendations;
• As the strategic environment in the Northern Arabian Sea is more dependent on regional and extra-regional powers, Pakistan needs to frame an Independent Indo-Pacific policy in addition to National Maritime Policy. This policy must focus on all strategic interests and policy options in the Arabian Sea.
• Pakistan should strengthen trade relations and strategic ties with China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and the Central Asian States.
• Pakistan should diversify its relations with neighboring states. This can help Pakistan reduce pressure from the US.
• Pakistan should adopt a balanced approach to foreign policy i.e. balanced relations with all the states.
• Pakistan should adopt a foreign policy keeping the national interest in view rather than allying with any super-state.
The mental construct of the Indo-Pacific has now gained more attention than ever. The strategic shifts from Asia –the Pacific to Indo-Pacific have delineated to evolving maritime environment in the Indian Ocean. This has vitalized the strategic importance of Pakistan in the region. Rapidly changing power dynamics and rivalries have made the region a geostrategic and geopolitical hub of the globe. The Declaration of India as a ‘Net Security Provider’ by the US has further complicated the situation for Pakistan. The uni-polarity of the US is now challenged by the rise of China. Pakistan being a significant actor in BRI can grab various opportunities and challenges. Rather than being a part of any bloc, Pakistan should grab the opportunity to further its national interest by adopting a well-balanced approach in foreign policy toward all nations. However, strategic threats posed by immediate neighbors should not be neglected.
Will the “Rule of Law” in Our Country Always be an Unreliable Myth?
Modern democratic societies place a strong emphasis on the “rule of law.” It implies that the rule of law must be upheld by all parties, including the government, and that justice will be served fairly. Recent occurrences, though, have cast doubt on the validity of this principle. The absence of consistency in its application is the first factor that leads some people to doubt the reliability of the rule of law. However, because laws are not always applied equally to all parties, justice is not always upheld. Because of their position, resources, or connections, some people might be given preference. People may lose faith in the legal system as a result of this inconsistency and begin to doubt the reliability of the rule of law.
Undoubtedly, every democratic society must adhere to the rule of law. It is the notion that everyone is treated equally by the law and that the law ought to be applied to all people equally and impartially. The rule of law, regrettably, is an unattainable myth in many nations, including Pakistan. Human rights abuses, political unrest, and corruption have plagued Pakistan for a very long time. The legal structure of the nation is complicated, involving a judiciary that is frequently swayed by political pressure and multiple sources of law. Although Pakistan’s constitution upholds the rule of law, the legal system there frequently acts arbitrarily and inconsistently.
Moreover, corruption is one of the main causes of the mythical impossibility of the rule of law in Pakistan. At every level of the government and society, from the police to the judiciary, corruption is rife. Public trust in the legal system can be damaged by corruption, which also threatens its integrity. Officials weaken the rule when they abuse their position for selfish gain or to advance their interests. Bribery, nepotism, and theft are just a few examples of the various ways corruption manifests. Therefore, this means that the wealthy and powerful can frequently sway the legal system to their benefit, while those who are poor and marginalized are denied access to justice. This has made it challenging for common people to access justice because they might not have the money to bribe officials or pay for pricey attorneys. Many Pakistanis lack faith in the legal system as a result of its inability to provide justice.
There have been initiatives to combat corruption and reform the legal system in recent years. Some of the actions taken to combat corruption include the establishment of national accountability bureaus and the creation of specialized anti-corruption courts. Additionally, by offering legal aid to underprivileged and marginalized communities, the government has improved access to justice. Similarly, the influence of traditional and religious customs is another factor contributing to Pakistan’s lack of a functional legal system. Particularly when it comes to issues like gender equality and human rights, these traditions frequently run counter to the principles of the rule of law. For instance, Pakistani laws favor men and a frequently biased judiciary subjects women to discrimination in the legal system.
Contrarily, if the government disobeys court orders, holds people without charge or trial, or commits extrajudicial killings, it sends a message that the law does not apply equally to everyone. A culture of impunity can be established when the government steps in to decide who is right and wrong. However, in numerous instances states respect and uphold this law. For instance, Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark, and Finland consistently rank among the best in the world for upholding the rule of law. These countries are characterized by strong legal frameworks, independent courts, and low levels of corruption. This demonstrates that it is not an impossibly high ideal but rather a goal that is attainable with the right institutions and culture.
Last but not least, this law is necessary for upholding individual rights and promoting social stability. Without it, there is a possibility of the use of power arbitrarily, which can result in unrest and instability. It ensures that everyone is subject to the same laws and that justice is done fairly. It is a foundational element of democratic societies, and its preservation is necessary to ensure the efficient operation of society. Modern legal systems are predicated on the idea that everyone, regardless of social standing or position, is subject to the law and that the law is applied fairly and consistently. This means that everyone must abide by the same laws and legal processes to resolve legal disputes and that no one is above the law. In a society where the rule of law is upheld, there is a fair and predictable legal framework that guarantees that individual rights are protected and disputes are settled through the legal system rather than through force or personal influence.
Is Bangladesh-US ties bogged down in strategic quicksand?
The bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the United States had thrived in the past few years on the heels of frequent and vigorous Track-1 diplomacy between Bangladesh and the United States. The newfound salience of Bangladesh in the US’s regional strategic playbook originates from a reassessment of the US’s foreign policy in favor of Asia. In the context of intensifying great power standoff at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, the regional power calculation has transformed, turning the strategy backwater to the “front and center” of the US’s global geopolitics. Earlier, South Asia didn’t feature prominently in the US’s strategic calculus, and strategic wisdom bounded South Asia within the nuclear-powered rivals e.g. India and Pakistan. Bangladesh has only aroused pity for its abysmal economic outlook and for being buffeted by frequent disasters.
Strategic realities have profoundly altered in the past few years, as under the framework of the US’s Indo-Pacific policy, Bangladesh has gained significant bandwidth as the lynchpin of Indo-Pacific geopolitical theatre. The newfound geostrategic significance of Bangladesh had triggered a geopolitical maelstrom surrounding Bangladesh–as Bangladesh was squeezed by the competing demands of three powers–the United States, China, and India.
“Strategic Ties ” Ascendant
Donald Lu– an influential US diplomat– had visited Dhaka recently. There has been much speculation surrounding Lu’s visit, partly owing to Lu’s notoriety as being “coercive” in the region. Although human rights issues, defense, and core security issues, perhaps the glaring omission of Lu’s visit is the trade and economic issues. Earlier, trade, investment, and economic issues overrode bilateral ties, however, bilateral interactions have increasingly become fixated on security issues often at a disservice to economic issues.
However, the strident pitch of strategic ties jars with the dismal state of relationships. As thing stands, it is safe to say that bilateral ties between Bangladesh and US are held hostage to mutual misperceptions. Harping on the strategic ties, without anchoring on economic fundamentals, is bound to fail. Strategic ties hinge on “entanglements”, which stem from sustained bilateral cooperation.
Decoding Chinese Inroads in Bangladesh
The lever that China exerts in Bangladesh stems from the vigorous economic and development partnership. The sustained development partnership had elevated Bangladesh-China ties to a strategic dimension. Development cooperation is the centerpiece of Bangladesh-China bilateral cooperation. The inflow of Chinese investment toward Bangladesh has surged exponentially. The Total Direct Investment (FDI) was multiplied at a steady rate between 2011 to 2019, resulting in a tenfold rise in the gross FDI inflow to Bangladesh from China.
The energy sector has featured prominently in the bilateral development cooperation. China had implemented a series of projects in the power sector. The infrastructure sector of Bangladesh had also drawn investment from China. China has floated an offer to Bangladesh in building embankments along the Teesta River, adjacent to the Indian border, in a bid to mitigate Bangladesh’s chronic scarcity of water-a bone of contention in Bangladesh-India ties. Chinese firms also stepped in to coordinate the construction and operation of the Dhaka-Chittagong High-Speed Rail project. Padma Bridge Rail Link- a flagship project aimed at connecting the Southwestern region of the country through a rail link-is underway with China funding 85% of an estimated cost of US $3.3 billion.
As such, while the US deplores the inroads that China made in Bangladesh, and often engage in browbeating tactics to decouple Bangladesh from the Chinese axis — however, Chinese leverage in Bangladesh runs deep. The sustained economic and development partnership between Bangladesh and China had mutated into a strategic partnership. The concessions from the Chinese side had injected a sense of equity and mutual stakes in bilateral relations. China has extended 99 percent of its tariff lines to Bangladesh, which is slated to further boost the bilateral trade ties. Earlier, China conferred duty-free facilities to 97 percent of Bangladesh’s products.
Emulating the Chinese Playbook
An uptick in diplomatic engagement attests to the renewed strategic importance that the US attaches to Bangladesh. The “strategic” dimension had inordinately come to the fore, and economic and development partnerships had been eclipsed by high-security and defense issues.
Notwithstanding, as the Chinese playbook amply demonstrates, anchoring solely on the strategic dimension of bilateral ties is counterproductive. The sustained economic interactions translated to strategic dividends in terms of China, while the mutual goodwill had given an impetus to deepening bilateral linkages. A sense of shared partnership had been injected into bilateral ties. Conversely, the moral high ground that the US commands, as evident from the US’s criticism of domestic political issues, undermines the goodwill of the bilateral ties. Such blatant interventionist tendencies vitiate bilateral ties.
While the term “strategic partnership” has gained currency, the trappings of strategic partnership are woefully lacking in bilateral ties. The discourse of bilateral ties shows the US doesn’t consider Bangladesh as a partner with commensurate capabilities. Despite the repeated pronouncement of strategic ties, however, the concession to Bangladesh from the US is not forthcoming. The economic and trade issues had been pushed to the back burner, in an avowed attempt to raise the stakes of bilateral ties.
As the Chinese exemplar shows, the ties in the arena of low-political issues yield strategic dividends. The sustained engagement steeped in mutual goodwill and equity accrues strategic gains. The US fares abysmally in leveraging the economy and trade to lure Bangladesh. In contrast, US’s ill-advised browbeating tactics will further estrange Bangladesh. As the bilateral ties elevate to a new era and become more prominent, the US ought to reassess the calculus of the bilateral ties.
Pakistan’s Priority Ranking of SDGs
Sustainable development goals are also known as Global or Universal goals that are meant to guide developing and underdeveloped nation-states to a sustainable and peaceful future. Development is a combination of innovation and improvement over a consistent time. It requires the collaboration of several social, cultural, economic, legal, and political sectors. All such sectors are interdependent and function sustainably when allied towards the same goal.
What are SDGs?
Developmental goals outline the priorities of a state in terms of its international progress. They are meant to track and counter non-traditional security threats. Such threats are somewhat intangible and have a deeper, more impactful presence. If not countered through structured programs, infrastructure, and policymaking; they will only become a visible reality once the issue is nearly impossible to resolve.
Origin and purpose
These were born from the United Nations Conference that was hosted in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2012. Global issues of all sorts were raised which revolved around aspects such as the environment, clean energy, sanitation, education, health, and security.
Goals and Commitments
The year 2015 decided that within the upcoming 15 years, there will be an active and hopefully successful attempt at ushering in a future of dignity and peace also known as the 2030 Agenda.
For each nation, there is a different ranking of the goals following their level of need and priority. Following is the ranking for Pakistan.
Goal 2 Zero Hunger
The second goal defines eradicating global hunger and reaching food security for all. This involves the production, processing, and distribution of food and sustainable agriculture. This goal is at the top of Pakistan’s priority list due to its status as an Agrarian State. Due to the recent inflation in the state, the food crisis has become a reality for a sizable portion of the Pakistani population.
Goal 3 Good Health and Well Being
Places focus on the overall health of all people. The focus is on preventative strategies for all ages. This goal covers the improvement of life expectancy in all developing and underdeveloped nations. It also includes immunization coverage, epidemics such as malaria and dengue, the Covid-19 pandemic, and emergency aid going out to all in times of global distress and disaster.
Goal 4 Quality Education
Good quality education that is inclusive and available to all is a cornerstone of a prosperous and peaceful society. This includes not only various education sustainability initiatives but also caters to accessible and high-caliber school and university infrastructure. This goal works for a bright future for not only the global youth but for the global economy as well.
Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
Universal access to clean water and a hygienic living environment makes up Goal 6. This will help counter water pollution and reduce the spread of diseases like cholera, malaria, dysentery, typhoid, and Hepatitis A. Clean water and sanitation will ultimately lead to water efficiency and its use as a renewable energy source.
Goal 7 Affordable and Clean Energy
Clean Energy is the key to having a future landscape that this generation can pass on to the next. This goal works for the distribution of electricity across the globe, in poverty-stricken and hard-to-access areas. Renewable energy sources (windmills, hydro-electricity, solar power) are being focused on so that there can be a time when weaning off of non-renewable and quickly depleting fuels such as coal, gas, and oil is not harmful to both society and the economy.
Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
Economic growth is a necessary factor to keep states progressing and afloat. Goal 8 emphasizes the importance of productive and decent employment. It promotes a greener economy, sustainable tourism, and social protection for all.
Goal 16 Peace, Justice, and Security
Accountable and Just national institutions and law enforcement is the path to peace, justice, and security. There is an active need for local participation at the grassroots level. Peace can only ever be delivered from the bottom up. Pakistan has always had a conflict simmering at some level. Be it a population overflow at the borders or a politico-religious conflict. Effectively working on prevention and counter operations can foster peace and security for all.
Goal 1 No Poverty
The first goal is to end poverty globally. The poverty line has been decided over various factors and definitions in the past few years. Once it was declared that any person who consumed less than 2400 kcal over twenty-four hours was under the poverty line. Currently, it is set for members of society who live under Rs. 3000 monthly, in Pakistan.
Goal 5 Gender Equality
It is common knowledge that we live in a majorly patriarchal society that is disadvantageous to women and girls all over the world. Goal 5 aims to fix that by focusing on the elimination of gender-based violence and empowering more women to step into professional and operational roles by reducing in-house gender discrimination. There is also special care taken to recognize and reduce the unpaid labor and double standards which women face daily.
Goal 9 Industry. Innovation, and Infrastructure
A resilient and good quality infrastructure is a must to keep a state of more than 220 million people functioning properly. The innovation of the tech industry is the spearhead for Pakistan’s entry into a competitive future. There is still a need for better infrastructure including highways and high-rise buildings with proper sewage piping as well. Inclusive industrialization will bring about better credit, a more stable economy, and reduced unemployment.
Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities
The focus lies on reducing international inequalities and reducing the massive chasm existing between different classes of society. Income equality is directly tied to gendered equity, improved industrialization, and economic growth. Apart from reducing financial disparity, this also focuses on socio-political, cultural, and religious inclusion. Pakistan is a multicultural and diverse state with citizens belonging to various religious sects, castes, and ethnicities. However, this has often led to intersectional conflicts. This goal aims to counter that through various representative policies and global cooperation.
Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
These are such areas that practice, promote, and support sustainability in every aspect – energy, water, economy, infrastructure, and environment. This goal aims to ensure that due to the massive population migrations from rural to urban, there is no concentration of poverty due to the economic shift. Cities are to be safe havens for their constituents with public transport, parks, recreational spaces, and economic opportunities.
Goal 17 Partnerships for Goals
No system of such a scale can work in isolation therefore, to bring sustainability to Pakistan, there needs to be a joint effort by international powers and national institutions. Global platforms such as the UN, WTO, SAARC, ASEAN, and IMF are all contributing their part be it through funding, medical aid, or economic policing. Pakistan also partakes in multiple confidence-building measures and FTAs to live up to this goal.
Goal 12 Responsible consumption and Production
Focuses on management and usage of natural resources to not run out before other renewable sources are in place. This goal actively works to reduce the negative impact of state consumption on the environment – be it through chemical dumping, food waste, or wasteful consumption.
Goal 13 Climate Action
The recent floods in Pakistan and the searing temperatures in June and July point to the absolute necessity of taking climate action. Extreme temperatures, droughts, and flooding are all contributing to the deterioration of human and environmental health. Being a primarily agrarian exporter, Pakistan needs to be vigilant regarding any threat to its agricultural economy and counter it through planning, policies, and preventive strategies.
Goal 14 Life below Water and Goal 15 Life on Land
The sustainable Development goals have provided guidelines to ensure a hospitable future. This includes protection and conservation of the living habitat aka Oceans and Land. Due to the rapid rate of globalization, modernism, and human development, ecosystems both above and below have suffered. Many species have gone extinct as well, due to unregulated hunting and fishing throughout the year. Ocean acidification and pollution are major concerns due to it being a major food source for the global population. Similarly, deforestation, desertification, and poaching need to be eliminated on land. Pakistan has participated in such initiatives to conserve and protect forests through artificial reforestation – the Changa Manga Forest.
Pakistan is constantly making progress in seeing the SDGs through. Consistency is key to success and in this case, sustainability.
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Jihadists target Africa and Afghanistan, but also eye China and Russia