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What Impact Has Pakistan's Geopolitical Location (i.E. Sharing Borders with Two Upcoming Regional Powers, and Afghanistan) Had on Its Socio-Economic and Political Development?

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Essay Preview: What Impact Has Pakistan's Geopolitical Location (i.E. Sharing Borders with Two Upcoming Regional Powers, and Afghanistan) Had on Its Socio-Economic and Political Development?

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In literal terms, geopolitical location of a country refers to the link between the geography and politics of a country. However the impact of the geopolitical location is well beyond the scope of this definition for a country like Pakistan. Pakistan is a country with a diverse terrain comprising of steep mountains, deep valleys, fertile plains and deserts with an area of more than 803,940 square kilometers. It is situated in the north western part of the Asian sub continent with 30' north latitude and 70' east longitude.

It has a 2,912 km long border with India on the eastern side while it has 2,430 km long border with Afghanistan on the north western side. In addition to this it has a 523 km long border with China on the northern side while it has a 909 km long with Iran on the south western side and it is also bounded at the southern end by the Arabian Sea (CIA).

According to Napoleon a country's foreign policy is determined by its geography and this statement falls in the correct place for Pakistan (Geo). As it is situated at a very strategic location sharing long borders with two upcoming superpowers- both with over a billion people- in China and India, a war ravaged country in Afghanistan and an anti-western country in Iran. Historically Pakistan has had long standing close relations with China, being amongst the first countries to recognize People's Republic of China in 1950.

In addition to this Pakistan has always lent a helping hand to Afghanistan ever since the 1979 Soviet Invasion by supporting their resistance movement and assisting Afghan refugees, while on the other hand it has had a history of difficult and volatile relations with India. These neighbors have individually, or as a combination, managed to impact Pakistan's socio-economic and political development either directly or indirectly.

China's relations with Pakistan touched their political peak during the 1960 Chinese-Indian tensions when the two countries started exchanging high level political visits resulting in various agreements. Also China has always been able to provide Pakistan with economic, military and technical assistance which has helped in stimulating economic development in Pakistan. In addition to this, Pak-China relationship has potential to induce even further socio-economic as well as political development through the port of Gwadar. In the port of Gwadar, China eyes its opportunity to market products produced in Western China which will help reduce the economic gap between the eastern and western parts of China as well as stop internal migration of people from East to West.

Also this would benefit Pakistan as it would help Gwadar port to become one of the biggest trade hubs in the world and also help generate revenue for the government through transit fees (Gwadar).

On the other hand there have also been many negative effects on Pakistan of its geopolitical location even from Afghanistan. The principal negative effects of having Afghanistan as its neighbor have been the influx of refugees from Afghanistan, Talibanisation and Kalashnikovization of Pakistan. The influx of refugees has managed to exacerbate the existing problems of overpopulation, poverty and unemployment in the country. In addition to this it has led to an increase in ethnic unrest in the already ethnically diverse city of Karachi. Moreover it has also caused an increase of smuggling from Afghanistan to Pakistan and vice versa which has hurt the economy quite badly. While Talibanisation has resulted in spreading of extremism across the country and Kalashnikovization has resulted in scattering violence throughout the country as well as increasing the availability of arms and ammunition (Baxter). Also it has led to an increase in the availability of drugs made out of Afghani opium such as cannabis. This increase in availability of arms and drugs is damaging the society especially wrecking havoc amongst the youth of Pakistan where considerable increase in consumption of drugs has been noticed over the years


Moreover Pakistan's continued hostility with India has caused it to spend majority of its budget on military expenditure which could have otherwise been utilized for the welfare of the public by spending it on other public sectors such as health and education. So if it was not for the threat from neighboring India Pakistan would have developed much further economically. In addition to this it has also hampered Pakistan's political development as the military has never allowed the political institutions to become strong. Also some politicians have exploited this rivalry with India rather than do indulging in development activities to gather votes and win elections which have also caused damage to the strengthening of the political structure. Furthermore Pakistan's location has also had a negative impact socially as Pakistani's are influenced by the Indian culture that is portrayed through India's powerful media. Some part of the society are so much attracted by the Indian culture that they know more about their culture than they do about their own culture.

Furthermore Pakistan would have been the main beneficiary of the outsourcing service industry boom if it were located anywhere else as its neighbors India and China had already become the main centers of outsourcing. In addition to this, Pakistan would have been a bigger exporter of manufactured goods if it were located anywhere else as its goods are relatively expensive than the goods produced by India and China. The goods from India and China are much cheaper than the Pakistani goods as they are produced by these bigger economies which have the capacity to produce the goods in bulk quantities and so can afford to sell them at lesser prices. Also despite being a predominantly agriculture based country Pakistan is unable to export all of its surplus agriculture produce into the international market as India and China's agriculture are heavily subsidized by



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