Progress and Foreign Policy


Sajid Ali Bangash

After gaining independence, Pakistan, India, China, and Japan took different paths. China and Japan have done real­ly well, while Pakistan and India have struggled. The reason for this is the choices these countries made about how to deal with oth­er countries and how to develop their own coun­tries. In other words, this divergence can be attributed to the foreign policy choices made by these nations and the leader­ship’s approach to national de­velopment.
The foreign policy of a nation plays a pivotal role in determin­ing its international relations, economic partnerships, and geopolitical positioning. In the case of Pakistan and India, for­eign policy decisions have often been marred by regional con­flicts, strained diplomatic rela­tions, and geopolitical instabil­ity. These factors have hindered their ability to fully capitalize on their potential for growth and development.
Conversely, China and Ja­pan have pursued foreign pol­icies that have fostered eco­nomic growth, technological innovation, and global influence. China and Japan have become very strong economically, even though they had big problems after they became independent. China’s economy has grown a lot, and Japan has become one of the richest countries in the world. They did this by focusing on peace and making good plans for their country’s growth, instead of fighting wars. These two coun­tries were able to achieve the ap­parently unachievable targets of success in ends of economic and technological growth, only be­cause they said “no” to war and followed constructive policies based on peace and tranquility.
After the Aug. 1945 debacle of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Jap­anese King Hirohito was able to convince his nation that wars in future are going to be extreme­ly expensive and devastating and impossible for any nation to af­ford. He advised his nation to re­sist the temptation of seeking vengeance on American aggres­sor and try to build up their ca­pabilities in the fields of edu­cation, science and technology. This foresighted leader told his nation that arena of war has now shifted; wars in future will be fought in schools, colleges, uni­versities, laboratories and fac­tories and not in the tradition­al battlefields. Japanese took the advice of their leader and decid­ed to endure their humiliation at the hands of Americans, with pa­tience and restraint.
On the other hand, unfortunate­ly, the leaders of India and Paki­stan had a hard time working to­gether from the beginning. They failed to address critical issues such as the disputes over Kashmir, Siachen, and Sir Creek. Even to­day, both countries have not made earnest efforts to resolve these is­sues. This has cost both countries a lot of money and caused prob­lems with other countries. They didn’t learn from China and Ja­pan’s peaceful ways, and this has stopped them from growing.
History and common sense both support this fact that in or­der to establish peace, one par­ty often needs to make unilateral sacrifices. In the end, the par­ty that appears to be losing by sacrificing its established rights may actually emerge as the vic­tor (the Hudaibia Peace Pact, made by Hazrat Muhammad PBUH, stands as a prime exam­ple for the Muslims of Pakistan). The leadership of Pakistan and India should acknowledge the changing realities of our times and, instead of clinging to tradi­tional thinking, adopt a progres­sive and forward-looking out­look for the future. They should realize this fact that they have missed chances to do better, and that China and Japan have done much better. They need to change their foreign policy to fo­cus on talking and working to­gether instead of fighting. They also need to invest more in ed­ucation, science, and technolo­gy to help their countries grow. They can learn from China and Japan’s success by choosing peaceful and smart ways to work with other countries. This will help them and the whole Asian region to have a better future.
The writer is a freelance columnist.