The Potential Implications of Balochistan's Independence: A Western Perspective Writer: Waja Sohrab Baloch Balochistan's independence could mark a significant geopolitical shift in South Asia that could be strategically advantageous for the Western bloc, particularly regarding its relations with China, Iran, and Pakistan. Balochistan, located between Iran and Pakistan, has a long-standing independence movement that has largely been underreported by international media.
The Component Influence - China, Iran, and Pakistan
China has invested heavily in the region as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Key to this is the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), offering China direct access to the Arabian Sea through Balochistan's Gwadar Port. An independent Balochistan could potentially disrupt this plan, stifling China's ambitions for economic expansion and reducing its influence in the region.
Pakistan, which would lose a substantial portion of its territory, natural resources, and access to strategic ports with Balochistan's independence, would be severely impacted. The resulting destabilization may create an atmosphere conducive for Western interests to negotiate or exert relative power.
Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province has substantive Baloch populations and has been the site of repeated Baloch uprisings. Independence for Pakistan's Balochistan can incite and invigorate independence movements in Iran, causing a significant shift in regional geopolitics.
Outcomes for the West
If Balochistan gains independence, the resulting nation could provide a strategic ally and base for Western operations in the region. Significantly, the United States has long been in search of a partner and footprint in the region outside of its traditional alliances.
Western nations could also pump investments into the new nation, using economic diplomacy to advance strategic objectives and further isolate their adversaries economically.
However, supporting Balochistan's independence could also pose severe risks. The region has a history of insurgency and violence, and full independence may not guarantee stability. Furthermore, such moves could exacerbate tensions with China, Iran and Pakistan, possibly escalating into conflict.
Moreover, just as Balochistan's independence offers potential benefits for the West, these nations may also face backlash from other quarters internationally for what may be perceived as a precedent of backing separatist movements.
In conclusion, while Balochistan's independence may indeed present a strategic counterweight to China, Iran, and Pakistan from a Western perspective, the path is fraught with potential destabilization, risks, and trade-offs. A careful examination of long-term consequences against short-term gains is essential before making any substantive alignments.