|Pakistani Diplomatic Mission Around the World. Source: Lowy Institute|
Pakistan has 116 diplomatic missions around the world. This figure includes 85 embassies, 29 consulates and 2 permanent missions. Pakistan ranks 27th among 60 countries ranked by Lowy. It ranks 7th in Asia .
Pakistan's arch-rival India has 181 missions, including 124 embassies and 48 consulates. India ranks 12th in the world and 3rd in Asia on Lowy Diplomacy Index. United States is number 1 and China is number 2 on diplomacy index. US has 273 diplomatic missions while China has 268. France ranks 3rd, Russia 4th and Japan 5th in the world.
Foreign Policy Objectives:
Pakistan does have a large network of diplomats and extensive presence of diplomatic missions around the world. But what is it for? The answer to this question requires understanding Pakistan's foreign policy objectives.
Pakistan, like any other nation, needs to ensure its national security in all its dimensions: political, economic and military. The nation has to participate in various international fora. It needs to project its soft power to cultivate friendly cultural and educational ties. Part of it is encouraging people-to-people contacts by promoting travel, trade and tourism.
Pakistani Diplomats Responsibilities:
Pakistan foreign service officers posted around the world have the responsibility to not only project Pakistan and its policies in a positive way but also to be the nation's eyes and ears giving information and feedback to policymakers back home.
Pakistani diplomats need to engage with their host nation's influencers as well as other nations' diplomats in foreign capitals and international institutions to promote friendship and goodwill for advancing Pakistan's foreign policy agenda.
Pakistani missions have the responsibility to provide services to 9-million strong Pakistani diaspora, the world's sixth largest. This diaspora not only sends home nearly $20 billion a year but can also help in promoting Pakistan's friendly ties with the host nations. Pakistani diaspora represents a huge market opportunity for Pakistani exporters. Highly accomplished overseas Pakistanis can be a source of investment and expertise for their country of origin.
All policies must take into account the shifting geopolitics of the world. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger put it best when he said: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”
Rapidly unfolding events confirm shifting post-cold-war alliances in South Asia. The Cold War ended in early 1990s when Pakistan was closely allied with the United States. Now China-Pakistan defense collaboration is strengthening. Chinese President Xi Jinping has committed investment of over $45 billion in Pakistan, representing the single largest Chinese investment in a foreign country to date.
Pakistan's Key Relationships:
Pakistan's key relationships are with China, US, India, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran and the European Union. These relationships require the greatest attention by Pakistani foreign and security policy establishment to advance the country's foreign policy agenda.
These relationships need the most care and feeding to achieve the objectives of peace, development, security and prosperity. The best and the brightest of Pakistani diplomats need to be assigned to manage these crucial ties.
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