Pakistan’s grossly Islamist approach is making it a lapdog of the Turkish President and wannabe Khalifa, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Take the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict for instance, where the Turkish President is presently fighting a religious war by arming Azerbaijan against the Christian-majority State of Armenia, which happens to be a Russian ally. Pakistan should have nothing to do with the conflict but it is no fighting alongside Turkey only in order to please Erdoğan.
As per a Times Now report, Imran Khan is believed to have sent his troops to fight alongside the Turkish military and Azerbaijan Army in Agdam, a town located in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Pakistan has forced its men into the battlefield only because it wants to please Turkey. The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict wasn’t Pakistan’s war to fight, but by getting involved in it, Islamabad will soon find that it has pushed Russia further away from itself.
At a certain level, Pakistan also feels that Armenia is India’s friend. And therefore, Islamabad wants to annoy New Delhi by backing Azerbaijan.
Pakistan is making the suicidal move of supporting Turkish aggression against a Russian ally at a time when Pakistan-Russia ties are already in a quagmire. Russia is India’s all-weather ally and recently, it went as far as announcing that Moscow will not be supplying arms to Pakistan and New Delhi can be assured that the prospect of any deal happening with Islamabad was next to impossible.
Russia’s announcement is a major relief for India on one hand and a severe jolt for Pakistan on the other. Russia has always been one of India’s key allies. Till 2014, Russia even had a strict embargo on weapons sales to Pakistan. Since 2014 however, Islamabad has been trying to inch closer to Moscow in a bid to buy Russian weapons.
Ideally, Islamabad should have been repairing its ties with Russia while India drives a wedge between Pakistan and Russia. However, objectives like annoying India and pleasing Turkey seem to be at the top of Imran Khan’s agenda here. He is entering the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict without even understanding what is at stake.
Armenia is Russia’s strategic ally in the Caucasus region and also a member of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). CSTO is the Eurasian counterpart of NATO, which means that Russia will come out all guns blazing in case anyone attacks Armenia. Moreover, the Orthodox Christan connection between Armenia and Russia is such that the former looks upon Moscow as a protector of sorts.
Moreover, the ongoing battle in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region also has a Central Asia link. Turkey lacks a direct link to Central Asia, a region considered to be Russia’s sphere of influence, and the only roadblocks are Armenia and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Attacking Armenia and taking control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region is therefore a part of Erdoğan’s dreams to unite the Turkic world from Central Asia to Turkey under Ankara’s leadership.
Russia has seen through Ankara’s plan of action and won’t let Turkey snatch away the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. But what is Pakistan doing here? How is it even remotely concerned with the ongoing battle for influence between Russia and Turkey? In fact, Islamabad is unnecessarily making itself a part of the Azerbaijan-Pakistan-Turkey trilateral attacking Armenia. Russia will not only punish Turkey but also those who rally behind it.
Pakistan’s meddling in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict is a display of its utter desperation. Islamabad has to support Turkey because Ankara is the only one supporting Pakistan’s ineffective Kashmir propaganda. Moreover, Armenia supports India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, while also valuing the historic Indo-Armenian ties and the scope for future cooperation across a range of sectors from defence to technology.
Therefore, Islamabad got impulsively involved in a conflict that has nothing to do with Pakistan. The only consequence is going to be more diplomatic isolation for Pakistan. It seems that Islamabad did not even realise that it was shooting itself in the foot when it came out with full support for Azerbaijan much to Russia’s chagrin.