All around Asia, states are finding new ways to cooperate and form mutually beneficial partnerships. China has a lot to do with establishing this regional trajectory towards friendship and progress, and this was evidenced in the new Iran-China deal on both the military and trade fronts, reportedly worth as much as $400 billion. This gives Iran the much-needed support from someone that could defy US sanctions and not take a major hit, while China has yet another access to the Indian ocean through the Chabahar Port.

But the best part of this deal—at least for Pakistan—is that China has essentially left India out in the cold with this agreement. The Modi government’s grand designs of encircling Pakistan on all sides might have been undone before they ever truly began. RAW’s presence in both Afghanistan and Iran has already been admitted to publicly by Indian officials, and they have made no secret of the fact that Pakistan’s destruction is what they seek.

But Pakistan now has mutually beneficial trading relationships with all neighbouring states, barring India. Closeness with China, allowing for transit trade for Afghanistan, historically close friendship with Iran, and the recent developments regarding the movement of energy commodities to as far as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are all positive for us.

India on the other hand has fraught relations with China and Pakistan, and is getting more distant with its old allies such as Nepal and Bangladesh, all in the pursuit of emerging as the new ‘eastern power’ according to the old global dynamics.

With Iran soon to be closed off to India, Pakistan—Balochistan in particular—is likely to get safer as a result. Non-state actors in the province and beyond, such as the target killer arrested in Karachi on Tuesday, are likely to have a harder time orchestrating such incidents on our soil. Even though this agreement was a bilateral trade contract between two friendly states, by being a crucial cog in this Asian trade machine that is being constructed, the benefits we stand to reap are potentially immense.