Why Imran Khan's victory speech was an ode to China

There was nothing to suggest that he is in any hurry to improve ties with India.

 |  3-minute read |   27-07-2018
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Imran Khan's victory speech on July 26 was an ode to Pakistan's all-weather ally — China.

Given that hardly any country in the world is ready to break bread with Pakistan, it is understandable Khan, who is now set to take over as the country's Prime Minister, reached out to China.

The Prime Minister-elect played the electoral game much like 'Kaptan' as his followers love to refer to him and made it clear that he will stick to the economic reforms ushered in with the help of China.

No leader at the helm of affairs in Pakistan can afford to overlook its all-weather friend and ally China, a country that stood by Islamabad even when the world looked away. Whether the policy will be in China's interest in the long run is best left for the future to decide.

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Next up on Khan's focus was Afghanistan, a country that shares historic and social ties with Pakistan but has over a period of time gravitated towards India accusing Islamabad of harbouring terror outfits.

Imran Khan spoke at length on his wish to mend ties with Afghanistan, sit across the table and sort out issues. An important statement, considering that in today's geopolitical scenario, Pakistan needs Afghanistan on its side more than Afghanistan needing it.

It is only natural that Khan would watch out for what role China wants him and his country to play in Afghanistan. What can't be ignored is that China will like a bigger say in matters concerning Afghanistan.

Khan also acknowledged the support Saudi Arabia has extended to Pakistan. This acknowledgement is understandable as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the largest benefactors of Pakistan.

The relationship with USA was termed 'one-sided', which is, true in many ways.

As the war on terror spearheaded by the US winds up in the Middle East, the 'need' for Pakistan has dwindled. The US has also come to openly speak out how little Pakistan is doing to control terrorists using its soil to launch attacks and spread terror in the world, a fact India has long been pressing.

Like many of his predecessors, Khan was quick to latch on to the Kashmir issue. He brought up the thorny issue as soon as he started to talk about ties with India.

That relation with India would figure low in Imran Khan's list of priorities is not surprising. The fact that he raised the issue of the presence of Indian troops in civilian areas of Kashmir, provides a window to what India can expect of him in the days to come. But that he spoke about the need to sit down and talk and find a solution is welcome.

Khan concluded promising to focus on all round development, including economic front. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was effective, if not a hugely successful.

He does not carry the taint of corruption and the youth sees him as someone who can deliver.

What he said in the context of India was mostly on expected lines. There was nothing to suggest that he is in any hurry to improve ties with New Delhi.

Also read: Why India-Pakistan relations are unlikely to improve if Imran Khan becomes Pakistan's next prime minister

Writer

Arindam De Arindam De @arindamde01

The writer is journalist working with India Today.

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