A golden ring of the emerging eurasian force
02 June 2021
he vision of the golden ring of China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey was first disclosed recently by Iran’s ambassador to Pakistan Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini's lecture at the Islamabad Strategic Studies Institute (ISSI) in 2020, which deserves to be analysed more in-depth.
There is also a full possibility of Central Asian states joining this group as their economic and cultural links are more towards Russia and China than the west.
No doubt this will be one of the strongest organisations on earth, possibly stronger than the Warsaw Pact or ASEAN or even say EU in economic and military terms. One can imagine the strength and challenges of this force with two powers Russia and China, energy-rich Iran, Russia, and Central Asia, besides big coastal access on Pakistan, Iran, China, and Turkey.
The trilateral Economic Cooperation Organization’s (ECO) in the 10th edition of which the Transport and Communications Ministers Meeting concluded in Istanbul on December 15, 2020, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran have come to terms with the resumption of the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) cargo train service to boost economic ties between the three countries. It is from Turkey and Pakistan via Iran that this railway covers 6,500 km; covering 1,950 km in Turkey, 2600 km in Iran, and 1,990 km in Pakistan.
There is a proposal to build a China-Pakistan-Iran-Turkey CPIT energy corridor between China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, which is of great significance to realize the energy strategic objectives of the countries. Pakistan reached a conclusion to seek a regional solution with the help of Russia and China in the matters of Afghanistan. Turkey-Iran-Pakistan axis trying to gain traction.
There is a serious attempt on the part of the US for the creation of QUAD with a group of far-flung countries of the US, India, Australia, and Japan. The role of QUAD throughout the Asia Pacific will be in the footsteps of that of NATO in Europe. The expansion of NATO already sparked the cold war rivalry, the creation of QUAD, and its possible expansion with the intention to contain Russia and China will be another step towards a big confrontation among the big powers. India if it joins QUAD will be the frontline state confronting China and Pakistan both countries in the above-mentioned group their borders of historical rivalry will be a flashpoint of any big confrontation in the near future.
A troika of Russia Iran and Turkey is formed to work in Syria. In the Eastern Mediterranean, Caucasus, and Central Asia, the regional dynamics are being shaped by Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara as they have done for centuries. The nexus of the three pairs of relations are influencing each country’s dealings with the other two as well as with the United States and is being whipsawed by unfolding events that continue to surprise the leaders of these historic rivals. Starkly differing policies toward the Syrian civil war and the Arab Spring have strained Ankara’s previously cooperative relations with Moscow and Tehran.
Another troika of Russia, Pakistan, and China is emerging. The Quad virtual summit was followed by a Russian peace conference on the future of Afghanistan on March 18th, 2021 which was a significant development. Though China, Pakistan, and Iran were invitees, India as a party was not invited by Russia. The emergence of this troika is being considered as a counterbalance to the US and its allies including India. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spearheaded the new strategic triangle of RCP. The new strategic troika has been in making since 2015 but the emergence of the QUAD has led to its formal arrival on the geopolitical scene. Whether this new RCP axis does not bode well for India and her geopolitical interests or not depends on the further development of Indian policy towards QUAD and its role in it, as the organisation is being viewed by Russia and China as a base against them.
Informed by analysts, if the two troikas come together and as mentioned besides the possibility of Central Asian States joining them also chances of other countries such as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt whose possible inclusion will force analysts, experts, and think tanks to study the strategic depth of the organisation from the Mediterranean and the Middle East to the Asia Pacific. One can come to the conclusion that this Golden Ring if it enters any military alliance as indicated their increasing the challenges will be experienced by the western-backed NATO and QUAD and their policies.
The author works at the Centre for Central Eurasian Studies, University of Mumbai.
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