Geostrategic Importance of Balochistan: Baloch Insurgency and the Global Politics of Energy Resources

By Ismail, Muhammad | Journal of Political Studies, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

Geostrategic Importance of Balochistan: Baloch Insurgency and the Global Politics of Energy Resources


Ismail, Muhammad, Journal of Political Studies


Introduction

Balochistan has not only importance due to its vast fields of valuable natural resources and other minerals but it is situated in the South-west of Pakistan, near Iran and Afghanistan borders, the construction of Gwadar port in Arabian Sea has the possibility of bringing development in the region extraordinarily has increased its importance for Pakistan in regional affairs. Before independence, the British took advantage of this region by utilizing it as a buffer zone. They controlled it through Sardars of Balochistan, and this practice still existed after 1947, but several insurgencies outbreak to create independent Balochistan.(Wolpert, 2000, pp. 2-5). Since then, Pakistani central government has been struggling hard to stop eruption of Baloch insurgency and continue to have territorial integrity and sovereignty and have law and order situation under control in Balochistan. Since 1947, the Baloch launched five revolts against the central government of Pakistan. Nevertheless, due to the regional and global changing strategic, political and economic scenarios, its importance has come into focus. Robert Kaplan argues that energy competition is increasing with reducing collection of new and emerging markets (Kaplan, 2010, pp. 4-5).

Current NATO war in Afghanistan also express the importance of Balochistan as it provides the entry point for the military and relief goods going to the fighting zones in Afghanistan. Balochistan proved to be a safe route for these military goods as compared to other routes. It is important to mention that insurgency and other extremists and fundamentalist factors in Balochistan are possible indicators for worries in the near future that needs extra amount of care and treatment. Interests and pressures from regional and global powers and its strategic location along multiple sea and land routes has increased its importance that needs careful attention, because number of security issues of regional and global dimension are linked to Pakistan's internal politics. Energy issues have increased the interest of not only South Asian countries but also China, Russia and European nations. Decision for construction of the proposed pipelines to carry oil and gas through Balochistan, have increased its importance in terms of security and stability of this region.(UNPO, 2010, March 23).

Geostrategic Importance of Balochistan

This part of the paper illustrates the geostrategic importance of Balochistan, such as how it is perfectly situated in Southwest of Pakistan and its close proximity to the energy rich regions, Middle East and Central Asia. This part of the study will show the importance of vast, large Balochistan's valuable and useful energy possessions and by what methods the Gawadar deep-sea port will bring globalization into Pakistan. Furthermore, this paper explores in what ways the Baloch insurgency causes problems for regional peace and security and the increasing level of international involvement in Balochistan, the potential for global intervention along with their vested interests and political agendas can push this strategically important region into chaos. Strategic importance of Balochistan exists by joining together its geographic position, natural resources and the people living in and around Balochistan. The focus is on in what way the area of land of Balochistan positioned it at the crossroads of most important business route from South Asia to Southwest Asia.

To survive, the states think about two important principles or ideas that complement each other, "interests" and "security." Interests refer to the values that distinguish that state from any other state. However, security refers to the survival. Purpose of "security" is to get and protect the "interests" of the state. Since each state would like to protect its interests, the extreme and forceful competition is inevitable. Some, usually the powerful states claim what amounts to a prerogative of the mighty to act against the international law if it is believed to be in conflict with their interests. …

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