Challenging times require leaders to take tough decisions in the larger interest of their people. Various media outlets have confirmed that India has purchased oil and coal from Russia at significantly discounted rates, defying all calls from the West to do otherwise amidst massive sanctions slapped on the latter. However, Pakistan, entangled in severe economic troubles, is unable to follow the footsteps of the neighbouring country, which calls for deep introspection on why the country has failed to take sovereign decisions.
The economic strength of a country is directly related to its ability to make independent policy choices in the international arena. India is the world’s fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. Some of the world’s top-notch companies have relocated their businesses to India owing to favourable business policies and a vast market of more than a billion people. Besides, the country has developed deep economic ties with the world’s leading economies, such as the US, China, Russia, and Europe.
Strong economic interlinkages develop deep ties among countries, which deters them from severing mutual relations at the cost of losing significant financial margins. The bilateral trade between India and the US alone stands at $ 119.42 billion in 2021-22. Therefore, despite showing displeasure at India’s decision to trade with Russia in these trying times, the West did not penalize the former, seemingly owing to deeply ingrained economic and strategic partnerships.
Unlike India, Pakistan couldn’t buy discounted petroleum products from Russia as it included risks of the West punishing the country on multiple fronts. The US holds significant sway in IMF and FATF, which are sufficient to bend Pakistan to its knees due to their massive significance in supporting our fragile economy. Thus, to be able to take an independent course in foreign relations, Pakistan should strengthen itself by strengthening the domestic economy and developing deep-rooted economic ties with other nations. Failure to do so will keep us moving in circles, as we have been doing for the last 75 years.