Within the last fortnight, three separate but related events are pointers to the emergence of a new, alternative global order rooted in Asia and the Global South, providing exciting new opportunities for Pakistan. I was fortunate to be participating in two of these three events. On 19 June, Russia, as the current chair of BRICS, hosted a major international event on BRICS in the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok. 29 countries, including Pakistan, are applicants for membership in BRICS, which now includes almost half the world’s population, contributing 30% of global GDP and 50% of global oil and gas producers amongst its members. Pakistan hopes to join BRICS as it wants to be part of the new emerging order of the Global South. Pakistan, as a member of the UN Security Council from 2025 to 2026, will also be a robust voice for peace, justice, and the Global South.

Pakistan’s election to the UN Security Council for 2025-2026, its participation in the International Transport Corridor initiative, and the deepening of the Pakistan-China Strategic All-Weather Partnership underscore its pivotal role in the emerging global order.

Then, on 28 June, President Xi Jinping hosted an International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of the 5 Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which was the first Asian alternative to the then-existing Western-dominated global order. On 3 July, the Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) met in Astana. Pakistan was represented in all these three major events.
These events took place in the context of three fundamental shifts in the contemporary world order. First, the decline of the West and the concurrent rise of the Global South, with ‘The Economist’ (9 May, 2024), aptly announcing that ‘the (post World War II) Western liberal international order seems to be coming apart’.

Second, China’s phenomenal rise, particularly in advanced areas of science and technology, is a force multiplier in Beijing’s quest to spearhead and spawn the emergence of an alternative world that is not based on the fading hegemony of the West but upholding the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. America’s Harvard University carried out a research report on ‘China versus the United States – The Great Tech Rivalry,’ which noted that ‘China seems to be overtaking the U.S. in hi-tech manufacturing, especially in Artificial Intelligence, 5G, robotics, cloud computing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)’.

The Economist, in its cover story on 15 June, called China ‘the scientific superpower’, concluding that the ‘old science world order, dominated by the United States of America, Europe and Japan, is coming to an end’. The Economist cites some interesting facts in this regard: 40% of original research papers on A.I. are now emanating from China, with only 10% from the US and another 15% from Europe/UK; out of the top 10 scientific research universities, 6 are in China; Tsinghua University, alma mater of President Xi Jinping, is the top university in the world in science and technology today, and China’s spacecraft is the first to bring samples to earth from the hard-to-reach side of the moon.

Third, the US and the West have already embarked on a new Cold War to ‘contain’ China and curtail its rise. NATO, which is based in Europe, now labels China as a ‘threat’, and after the recent G7 Summit in Italy, The New York Times splashed its report of the Summit: ‘China joins the G7’s List of Adversaries’, citing ‘28 references to China in the final communique, almost all of them describing Beijing as a malign force’.

China’s rise as a scientific superpower, particularly in areas like AI, 5G, and robotics, is reshaping the global landscape. This shift is evident in China, which produces 40% of original research papers on AI, compared to 10% from the US and 15% from Europe/the UK.

While the West, or, more precisely, the US military-industrial-complex, which is becoming a permanent war machine, prepares for a New Cold War, with a mindset steeped in the Cold War of the past, the contours of an emerging global order are already apparent, replacing the post World War 2 Western-propped global economic and political order, which is already unraveling.

Organizations like BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) would be the pillars of this emerging new global order, which will derive its strength from the United Nations Charter, international law, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, rejecting hegemony, military diktat, and double standards.

An expanded BRICS and SCO can make a major contribution to promoting three major trends of contemporary international relations:

  • Democratization of international relations through dialogue and inter-state relationships based on equality, reciprocity, and the rule of law;
  • Demilitarisation of international relations, as the Western world order in the 21st Century, is in the grip of a new Cold War hysteria, arming Israel to kill Palestinians or promoting ‘Asian NATO’ and building groups like QUAD and AUKUS to contain China and Russia;
  • DeDollarisation of the international financial system, with the US often using the dollar currency as a political weapon, as now 68 of 193 member states of the UN are already embarked on this process, while Saudi Arabia, on 9 June 2024, has ended its 50-year-old agreement with the United States regarding petrodollars and Saudi oil is now also trading in non-dollar currencies.

On 14 June, the initiative of President Putin for a new Eurasian Security paradigm was unveiled, based on indivisible security of nations so that no one country’s security can be at the expense of others, which is similar to the earlier endeavour of President Xi Jinping for a ‘Global Security Initiative’. At Astana, President Putin termed the SCO as ‘one of the key pillars of a far, multipolar world order’.

Russia and China have also taken an upfront principled position on the Gaza Genocide, underlining Israel has lost the war politically, morally, legally, and diplomatically, and Israeli supporters in the declining West have also been exposed for their double standards as they are complicit in aiding and abetting the Gaza Genocide, which is a crime against humanity under international law and the UN Charter.

Recent events, such as the BRICS summit in Vladivostok, the International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of the 5 Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and the SCO Summit in Astana, highlight the rise of a new global order led by Asia and the Global South, offering new opportunities for Pakistan.

Pakistan, given its historical role and location, has already embarked on being an active part of the new global order unfolding now, with three specific developments. Pakistan’s election to the United Nations Security Council for 2025-2026 underlines Pakistan’s growing role as the spokesperson of the Global South, especially as the Voice of the oppressed Kashmiris and Palestinians. Then, Pakistan accepted President Putin’s invitation to join his signature initiative of an International Transport Corridor.

At the same time, the successful visit of the Pakistan Prime Minister to China and the ensuing Joint Statement are a historic blueprint for the future direction of the Pakistan-China Strategic All-Weather Partnership. Three elements of the Joint Statement are significant. First, it refers to the content and quality of the bilateral bond as being based on ‘unshakable mutual trust’ and in an oblique reference to the presence of Army Chief General Asim Munir in the Prime Minister’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, that cooperation among the two neighbors militaries stems from ‘high level of mutual trust playing an irreplaceable, critical role in ensuring strategic balance in the region’ (meaning vis-a-vis the regional bully, India).

Second, Pakistan endorses that China’s path to modernization provides a new option and practical solution for developing countries and that the ‘Thought of President Xi Jinping has opened up a new path for handling international relations in a proper way.’ Third, both Pakistan and China expressed support for an ‘equal and orderly multipolar world and inclusive and universally beneficial economic globalization’ while opposing ‘hegemony, domineering and bullying, exclusionist approaches, power politics and unilateralism in all forms.’

China also expressed support for ‘Pakistan playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs.’ Significantly, President Xi Jinping told the Pakistan Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff that ‘China views relations with Pakistan from a strategic and long-term perspective.’

Given this context, Pakistan has Strategic Space to pursue an autonomous foreign policy that needs to weave in a triangular focus on providing a Healing Touch at home for political stability, Regional Reset with neighbours focusing less on security and more on geoeconomics, and taking an upgraded CPEC forward, together with SCO and support for BRICS, to be the pivotal player in regional economic connectivity as a whole new world is opening up through economy, energy, roads, railways, ports and pipelines.
As the Latin maxim goes: ‘Carpe Diem’, ‘Seize the Moment’!

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