Analyse the Main Determinants of the Foreign Policy of Pakistan.

Analyse the Main Determinants of the Foreign Policy of Pakistan.

PMS 2015 Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Papers | Analyse the Main Determinants of the Foreign Policy of Pakistan.

The following question of PMS Pakistan Affairs 2015 is solved by Khadija Yaseen under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni. She learnt how to attempt 20 marks question and essay writing from Sir Syed Kazim Ali, Pakistan’s best CSS and PMS English essay and precis teacher with the highest success rate of his students. This solved past paper question is attempted on the pattern taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory and optional subjects for years, and uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.


1- Introduction

2- Understanding the term foreign policy

3- A glance at Pakistan’s foreign policy under the context of Mr Jinnah’s vision

4- What are the main determinants of the country’s foreign policy?

  • Internal determinants
    • ✓Ideology of the sole nuclear power in the Muslim world
    • ✓Geography of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
    • ✓Economic situation of the state
    • ✓Security conditions and military strength of Pakistan
    • ✓History of the land of the pure
  • External determinants
    • ✓International geopolitics
    • ✓Response of the other states
    • ✓Long-term strategic plan

5- Critical analysis

6- Conclusion

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Answer to the Question

In this interconnected world where borders are blurred, and economies are intertwined, states find themselves intricately linked within a complex web of international relations. Undoubtedly, foreign policy, being the cornerstone of a nation’s engagement with the world, serves as a roadmap for navigating the complexities of international relations. Likewise, Pakistan’s foreign policy sets a framework for how to engage with other countries. However, a  set of critical determinants influences the execution and formulation of the country’s foreign policy. These determinants encompass a wide range of factors, both internal and external. Internal elements include ideology, geography, economic situation, and security conditions, devising policymakers how to design foreign policy. In addition, the country’s foreign policy revolves around other internal elements, such as Pakistan’s military strength, its history, the type of government and its leadership in the country. Besides, external determinants, including international geopolitics, the response of other nations, long-term strategic plans, and global organisations, play a multifaceted role in shaping Pakistan’s foreign policy. In short, the determinants, either internal or external, hold paramount significance as they serve as the foundational elements that help Pakistan decide how to interact with other countries.

Coming towards understanding foreign policy’s concept, the term foreign policy refers to establishing relationships with other nations to pursue national interests. It sets a framework and policies through which a nation interacts with other state actors and engages with non-state actors at the international level. Moreover, it is the spectrum of diplomatic, political, economic, and security initiatives that a country undertakes to safeguard its national interest, promote its objectives, and engage in different trade agreements. Thus, it is imperative for a state’s security, economic prosperity, diplomatic influence, and global interactions.

Before exploring the determinants of Pakistan’s foreign policy, it is essential to have a glimpse of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

“ Our Foreign Policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the policy of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our utmost contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nation’s Charter.”

To begin with, ideology is one of the fundamental determinants of the country’s foreign policy. Preserving the essence of ideology is the breath of Pakistan’s life; If ideology ends, Pakistan will no more. That is why Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been designed to preserve ideological views. For example, the nation’s ideology stands on Islam and the two-nation theory. Clearly, the nation’s aggressive approach towards Israel and France manifests that it is the soul of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s ideology that it cannot go hand in hand with them.

Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim ideology which has to be preserved.” 

Mr Jinnah, the founder of the nation

Besides, the geography of Pakistan matters a lot in the foreign policy of a state. Pakistan is bound to formulate its foreign policy by undertaking its geostrategic position. To illustrate, the nation has to be involved in the  War on Terror due to its geographical location. Recently, Pakistan has enjoyed a remarkable foreign policy with China on the basis of CPEC that hinges upon the country’s geography.

If you know a country’s geography, you can understand and predict its foreign policy.” 

Napoleon Bonaparte

In addition, another key factor that influences the formulation of foreign policy is the economic situation of Pakistan. Since its inception, the country has been entangled in the predicament of an economic crisis. It has to move towards the IMF, the World Bank, and foreign assistance for economic stability. That is why the nation never designed an independent foreign policy. Moreover, in order to make the country economically stable, the nation regulates its foreign policy in a manner to achieve economic stability and prosperity. To get economic assistance, the country has to build stronger ties with other helpers. A glaring example is the U.S.A.’s standards of behaviour with Pakistan, but Pakistan cannot respond in the same manner as it is dependent economically on the former.

Moreover, security conditions and the country’s military strength are also fundamental determinants of Pakistan. Since the state came into being, it has had security-centric foreign policies because of having a hostile neighbour on the eastern side and the threat of terrorist attacks from western borders. Besides, the strength of the Pakistani military also stands as a permanent determinant. Recently, when Pakistan was invited to Qatar for security at the event of the FIFA World Cup owing to its biggest military power in the Muslim world, the country formulated relations with the Arab countries on the basis of its military power. Not only this, the country was also engaged with international organisations’ peace missions.

Last but not least, history remains a permanent determinant that influences the foreign policy of the state. It provides context, lessons, and a foundation upon which Pakistan make its decisions in the complex world of international relations. For example, throughout history, Pakistan has had hostile relations with India, Bangladesh, and Israel; thus, in the future, the nation will formulate its relationship based on past experiences. Another case in point serves as a glaring example. In the past history,  Pakistan has always stood with America, but the Superpower has always left the former in the lurch. This has helped the Muslim country move towards other states, like Russia and China.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

George Santayana

Along with internal determinants, external factors play a decisive role in Pakistan’s foreign policy. To begin with, international geopolitics is one of them. The country must design its relations with other countries by taking the geopolitical trend into account. To illustrate how foreign policies changed due to shifting geopolitical dynamics, let’s go back to history when Pakistan was an American ally in counterterrorism and enjoyed healthy ties with the biggest economic power. Yet, in recent years, with the change of regional and global politics, the relationship between both countries has been strained.

In addition, the response of other states matters a lot while designing foreign policy. The other nation’s behaviour set a roadmap for how to chalk out relations with them in the near future; for example, by offering peace dialogue to India Shabazz Sharif and rejecting the peace offer, India set a layout for Pakistan to prefer aggressive behaviour in its foreign policy rather than a friendly one. Except this, the country has offered Iran to join CPEC, and Iran’s friendly response influenced Pakistan to change its policies for further economic prosperity and peace in the region.

Last, long-term strategic plans bound Pakistan to formulate its policies under specific boundaries. Long-term strategic plan based on the country’s national interests. For example, Pakistan needs strategic depth in Afghanistan to secure the western border as the nation is not secure from a hostile eastern border. In such a case, Pakistan is bound to strengthen its ties with Afghanistan despite the peril of terrorism, refugee crisis, and drug trafficking. In short, Afghanistan’s eastern neighbour always stands with it as it is the former’s need. Similarly, Pakistan cannot see into the eyes of America despite its double standards.

To articulate criticality, navigating the determinants of foreign policy can drag any country into the vicious cycle of war, economic instability, and geographical isolation. Hence, following the determinants, while designing policies to achieve national interests is as crucial as the survival of the land of the pure. Undoubtedly, these determinants preserve the country’s ideology, geographical significance, national interests, and economic prosperity. In addition, being the hallmark of foreign policy, it helps the nation make smart choices in the global playground and ensures it does not end up lost in the woods. In short, without effective foreign policy based on determinants analysis, there would be no peace.

When diplomacy ends, the war begins.”

Adolf Hitler

In a nutshell, the determinants of the foreign policy of Pakistan are both internal and external. Being an Islamic state located at the hub of Asia, ideology, geography, and history stand as permanent internal elements in the realm of foreign policy. The country, being economically stagnant and militarily strong, has to consider its economic situation and military power while making relations with other states. Besides, external factors, such as international geopolitics, the response of other states, and long-term strategic plans, also influence the land of the pure, shaping the nation’s policies. In short, like a compass guiding a ship through turbulent waters, the determinants of Pakistan’s foreign policy serve as the north star, helping nations navigate the complex seas of international relations.

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