Resetting Pakistan’s Foreign Economic Relations

Resetting Pakistan’s Foreign Economic Relations by Dr Ishrat Husain

The 2021 National Security Policy has made geo-economics its main pivot. It is therefore essential to look in a coherent and comprehensive manner how Pakistan’s economic relations with other nations should evolve to meet this objective. In designing foreign economic policy we should always keep in mind that such a policy would be a by-product of the country’s larger foreign and domestic economic policies. For example, if foreign policy with one particular country or group of countries is silent, ambivalent or agnostic then a foreign economic policy cannot be built upon strong economic cooperation with that country or group. Similarly, if the domestic economic policy is constrained by fiscal problems then giving aid to promote Pakistani goods in international markets would be an exercise in futility. In the domain of foreign policy, ambiguity, diplomatic language, courtesies and sensitivities mask a lot and reveal very little. But foreign economic policy must be more direct, focused, target oriented if it has to meet its goals. Globalization, technology, demographics and demand patterns are important drivers of any country’s foreign economic policy. At the same time, we are also at a severe risk because of the onslaught of climate change that has already hit us badly. We are also confronted with change in the geopolitical power balance. A fuller understanding or comprehension of these driving forces and risks is extremely critical for formulating, adjusting and fine tuning our policies.

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Taken from The News International in October 2022 | Authored by Dr Ishrat Husain. The writer is the author of ‘Governing the ungovernable’.

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