Balochistan: America’s Next Target?

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by Mikesingh, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. Mikesingh

    Mikesingh Senior Member Senior Member

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    Will Balochistan be the next target for the US after it winds down operations in Afghanistan?

    At the outset, I would like to mention that according to reports, two marine divisions are to be stationed permanently in Afghanistan with one division in Southern Afghanistan. Would this be a prelude for contingency operations in Balochistan?

    Hard-line American analysts have suggested that Washington help the Baloch break away from Pakistan so that American and NATO forces can have unfettered access to landlocked Afghanistan, given how Pakistan has been holding the US to ransom.

    The Rohrabacher resolution introduced by California Republican Dana Rohrabacher and co-sponsored by two other Republican Congressmen Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Steve King (Iowa), says that the Balochi nation has a "historic right to self-determination."

    Stating that Balochistan is currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own, the resolution explains that, "In Pakistan especially, the Balochi people are subjected to violence and extrajudicial killings," and therefore, the Balochi people "have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status."

    Placed next to the oil lanes of the Persian Gulf and covering a common border with Iran and Afghanistan, Balochistan is strategically very significant. The Gwadar Port, being the third largest deep water port in the world, is situated at the doorway of the Persian Gulf (180 nautical miles from the Strait of Hormuz through which 40% of World’s Oil passes) and at the largest trade route in the world.

    It is due to this fact that makes it geo-strategically more important to the world powers. The emergence of new Central Asian Republics (CARs) has added to its value, as it will provide the shortest route (Quetta to Chaman) to Central Asia. America has an eye on Gwadar as being its future “Potential Military Base”.

    What has added to US security concerns is the CPEC where China is investing $46 billion (out of which $11 billion is a loan to Pakistan). The US is wary of China which is keen and has a focused eye on Balochistan. The Gwadar Port has been completed with its help because China wants to import raw material and oil from the Middle East and Africa and export goods through a land corridor that would extend from Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang Province. Strategically this port is situated near the Straits of Hormuz, a major oil shipping lane and China is keen for a link to the Arabian Sea for its land-locked western provinces.

    The Gwadar Port has been leased to China for 40 years.

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    However, most importantly, the Chinese are making this 'economic corridor' for their own strategic and national interests. Their strategic aim is to establish a PLAAN base at Gwadar to try and dominate the Strait of Hormuz from where a large proportion of the world’s oil flows. Not only the Strait of Hormuz but also to try and dominate the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. The CPEC is the only viable option for providing logistics support to their future naval base at Gwadar.

    This would pose a direct threat to the US Naval forces and US strategic interests in the region.

    Considering the above, the withdrawal from Afghanistan is not going to put an end to American interest in South Asia. In fact the focus will most likely shift to Balochistan due to its geostrategic significance. Control over this area by the US will also reduce the threat to US Forces deployed in Afghanistan.

    Pakistan needs to be prepared for big power rivalry in Balochistan especially between China and the US of A, jockeying for geostrategic space and the potential economic advantages.


    It would be interesting to see how things pan out.

    mikesingh
     
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