US, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan form new quad group: All you need to know!
The new diplomatic platform will work to expand trade, build transit links and strengthen business-to-business ties.
The United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan have agreed to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform to enhance regional connectivity.
The US State Department announced the setting up of the new diplomatic platform on July 16, 2021 to help strengthen economic connectivity across the region. The department announced that representatives from Washington, Kabul, Islamabad, and Tashkent had agreed, in principle, to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity.
The department's statement read “We look forward to partnering with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to enhance regional cooperation, a cornerstone to a sustained peace.” It further read that "all the parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing."
• All four nations- the US, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links and strengthen business-to-business ties, recognising the historic opportunity to open flourishing interregional trade routes.
• The representatives from the four nations will be meeting in the coming months to determine the modalities of the cooperation with mutual consensus.
• The new diplomatic platform will work to expand trade, build transit links and strengthen business-to-business ties.
Today, we announced a new diplomatic platform to help strengthen economic connectivity across the region. We look forward to partnering with Afghanistan, Pakistan & Uzbekistan to enhance regional cooperation, a cornerstone to a sustained peace. https://t.co/FjiIiPScmp pic.twitter.com/M83X390nfN— State_SCA (@State_SCA) July 16, 2021
• Afghanistan is bordered by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north, Pakistan towards the east and south, Iran to the west and China to the northeast.
• The land-locked nation's location has for a long time been seen as a competitive advantage for the country.
• Afghanistan has since long been the crossroads of commerce between Asian countries by connecting them to Europe and enhancing religious, cultural and commercial contacts.
• Afghanistan is located at the heart of the historic silk road.
How will this impact China's BRI initiative?
• The new quad group's formation is significant as it comes amid China's efforts to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan.
• The Belt Road Initiative was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013.
• The Belt Road Initiative aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.
• Afghanistan due to its strategic location can provide China with a strategic base to spread its influence across the world.
• Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had visited Uzbekistan in the past week for an official two-day visit during which he highlighted the benefits of regional connectivity and invited the nation to become party to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The announcement came during the international conference on "Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity: Challenges and Opportunities", which was hosted by Uzbekistan in its capital city Tashkent from July 15-16, 2021.
The conference had originally been scheduled to discuss building better transportation links across Central and South Asia, but it was mostly centred on Afghanistan due to the latest instances of violence as the Taliban moves to gain a larger control in the country yet again.
The new ‘quad’ group appears to be a means for the United States to retain its foothold in the region after it completes its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. The US is in the midst of withdrawing all its remaining troops from the country, bringing an end to America's longest wars by August 31.
However, ever since the US has begun withdrawing its troops, violence has been rising and efforts to broker a peace agreement between the Afghan government and Taliban have slowed down.