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Recent visits of DG ISI to the PRC and USA: What’s the message for the region?

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DG ISI has completed his visits to China and USA recently. The visit was conducted very covertly. There were some media reports on the visits. But nothing were said elaborately in these reports. ISI is a secret organization of Pakistan, everybody knows. So it is natural that the activities of it’s players, policy makers would be very confidential. But we were able to know about the recent visits through media reports.

His first visit was to China. Foreign minister Qureshi reached earlier. In a few days ago, the world saw the brutal incident of Dasu hydro power project. 9 Chinese engineers were killed. Although Pakistan thought that the incident was an technical accident but China framed it as an sabotage towards Chinese Nationals in Pakistan. Some think that hostile parts of China and Pakistan might have conducted the incident. They raised questions, were India or western powers behind the incident?

Dasu power project is a part of Chinese ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ project in Pakistan. Western stance against the project is going on. India have not agreed to this project. India refused to join in the project because this project violate the sovereignty of India. CPEC connects China with Pakistan through Gilgit -Baltistan. India claimed the full fledged sovereignty over Gilgit-Baltistan as an integral parts of it’s Jammu and Kashmir region.  

In the mid of April month, a bomb explosion killed at least four people. A Chinese delegation, including the country’s ambassador, was staying at Serena hotel but wasn’t present at the explosion time. The target was the Chinese ambassador. China did not take it easily. The alarm towards Pakistan from China started then.

However, now the all weather friendship between Pakistan-china is facing challenges for that incident taken place in Upper kohistan in KP province in Pakistan on 15th July. China feels uneasy to keep warm relations with Pakistan. China has postponed the project. That was not a single incident in Pakistan for Chinese.

Now China claims that Chinese people and it’s project are not properly secured. They need more security. So the Pakistani authority understood as early possible. Debt tapped and cash strapped Pakistan needs China with it’s each and every angle. So policy makers of Pakistan did not take time. DG ISI Went Beijing to hold talks with the chief of MSS (Chinese intelligence agency), defence minister, state counselor. He met  top Chinese policy makers regarding security.

Now DG ISI tried to inform them that Pakistan army is capable to protect the Chinese and Chinese projects in Pakistan. There is no need of deployment of People’s Libation Army. But China would like to deploy it’s forces to protect it’s Nationals and resources invested in Pakistan. It wants more security. China wants to utilize this situation. Their goal is to deploy PLA to protect CPEC. Now time will say, DG ISI invite PLA in Pakistan? Or he assure China regarding Pakistan army’s stance regarding the security aspect of the Chinese and Chinese projects in Pakistan.

After the successful completion of his visit from China, it was a matter of sorrow that The two foreigners were attacked by armed motorcyclists while they were being driven to an industrial unit in the SITE area On July 27. So What’s the outcome of DG ISI’s China visit. Some surprise is waiting. It is confirmed that China is going to deploy it’s troops in South Asia directly in the name of security of it’s project.

The deployment of Chinese forces in Pakistan would bring China close to Indian ocean. It has already built a base in Djibouti. Gwadar port is located in a strategic location. China wants now ensure its security by it’s own forces. Now China would play a crucial game utilizing the current situation of Pakistan. Afghanistan, Central Asian States and Iran are also it’s target.

After the completion of China tour, DG ISI accompanying with Pakistan National Security adviser Moeed Yousuf left Pakistan for the USA on July 26. They met with defence secretary, CIA, US National Security adviser and others high officials. They held talks with US officials amid efforts to reset ties with Washington. They discussed the recent Taliban turmoil in Afghanistan as a part of Afghan Peace Process’, establishment a military base in Pakistan. DG ISI and Pak NSA assured the US security policy makers that Taliban would not harm or damage the US interest. Pakistan would always keep Taliban under it’s control.

Taliban would not harm or damage any US interest in the world. Pakistan needs Taliban for it’s expansion ‘strategic depth policy’. But USA would like to build a military base in KP province to monitor and surveil the Post withdral Afghan situation. Establishment of a US military base in Pakistan after the US troops withdrawal was a point of discussion. Now time will say, what’s the outcome of the visit. Visit is seen as Pakistan’s wish to reset up ties with the US. But ISI and Pakistan army would always support the Taliban for their vested interest. They always want the installation of Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It is their natural tendency. They want peace in Afghanistan overtly but ultimately they want play game with Afghanistan covertly. They always want Afghan under it’s own umbrella. So it would be very difficult for the US and Pakistan to work together. Although Pakistan agree to build US military base  in it’s land, they will back up always Taliban secretly. They would play as a double gamer.

However, bilateral relations, regional security situation including situation in Afghanistan and Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir came under discussion during the various meetings. Both the sides reviewed bilateral cooperation in security, defence and counter-terrorism fields.

According to some Pakistani media reports, National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan discussed the ‘urgent need for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan’ and agreed to ‘sustain the momentum in Pak-US bilateral cooperation’ during a meeting in Washington on July 29.

Relations between Pakistan and the US have remained transactional but Islamabad has been pushing for ties that go beyond security and Afghanistan. However, US administration has not yet given a positive response to Pakistan’s efforts as President Biden has not even spoken to Prime Minister Imran khan. Nevertheless, Pakistan is still pushing for the reset in ties as it considers its relationship with the US important despite Islamabad’s deepening ties with China.

However, the message is not clear to predict about the future regarding the two visits. Is the region going to get the deployment of either a Chinese Military Base or US Military Base or anything else?

Writer: MD Pathik Hasan
Freelance writer, Dhaka based NGO worker.

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