It is evident from Iran’s top military general’s visit to Pakistan that the regional political scenario is now the leading variable in the case of foreign policy making for both Iran and Pakistan, more than ever before. The three-day visit of Iran’s Chief of General Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri’s to Pakistan holds great importance for the fact that bilateral exchanges between Islamabad and Tehran are sporadic. His visit to Islamabad came at a time when relations between the two neighbouring sides are witnessing a thaw.
The tour of Iranian general will help in consolidation of mutual trust that was lacking till recently. Both states are giving room to the demands of neo-realism, and the nature of decisions for enhanced cooperation is mostly security oriented. In fact, the diverging strategic interests are shaping the trajectory of the bilateral ties – much warmth in attitudes of both states towards each other.
However, credit goes to Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Qamar Bajwa who broke the ice with his visit to Iran in November last year. The recent tour of the Iranian General and his meetings with top government officials in Islamabad reflects that both countries have realised that the changing geopolitical situation in the region demands both nations to come closer. Instead of blaming each other, both sides vowed to enhance their ties through cooperation.
While Qmar Bajwa stressed on the need of military-to-military cooperation for ensuring peace and security in the region, his Iranian counterpart’s revelation that both sides were seeking jointly manufactured defence equipment would have a positive impact on other areas of mutual cooperation. The primary focus of the two generals’ meeting was on border security mechanisms and further enhancement of existing collaboration to achieve the desired goals. Indeed, improved border security protocols between the two neighbours are of utmost for both sides considering the possibility of the presence of terrorist outfits like the Islamic State (IS) and its affiliates.
In present times when the entire region is facing the menace of terrorism, warmth in the ties was of utmost importance. Both sides are facing common challenges concerning fight against terrorism, violent extremism and organised crimes. As all evidence suggests that Iran is destined to be on the wrong side of the US –as Trump has discarded the nuclear deal with Tehran–, and Islamabad is also having uneasy relations with Washington, it is high time for both sides to remove any obstacle that can prove detrimental in better bilateral ties.