Pakistan Iran military relations improvement will benefit both as well as the entire region due to special positions they enjoy.
Pakistan Iran military relations
Improvement in military to military relations can be gauged from visits of the top officials concerned. Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa went to Tehran on November 18, 2019. Since 2017, it was his second visit to Iran. He led a high level delegation.
Meetings with Iranian top officials
Notably, high-level Pakistan military officials met President Dr Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Supreme National Security Council Shamkhani.
They also met chiefs of armed forces Maj Gen Baqeri and army chief Maj Gen Abdul Rahim Mousavi.
Meeting with IRGC head
But, Pakistan military officials’ meeting with IRGC Commander Maj Gen Salami can be attached relative more importance for many reasons.
Since IRGC or Pasdaran remains an additional ideological force and enjoy special position in Iran, its significance remains high.
During all these meetings, Pakistan Army Chief and Iranian officials discussed bilateral defence cooperation. Besides, they exchanged views on how to strengthen common border security mechanism.
However, both sides also thrashed out the matters relating to regional security. Keeping in view the US and Saudi tension with Iran, analysts believe that Pakistan army chief also discussed that matter.
Saudi-US tension with Iran
Factually speaking, Iran has made public many a times its intentions and offer of reconciliation and regional security framework with GCC countries.
But, Iran has opposed meddling of US into regional affairs. Particularly, Iran turns down US military presence in Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pakistan role as facilitator for regional talks
Pakistan government and military leadership too has been trying its best for deescalation.
Interestingly, Iran has welcomed Pakistan’s facilitation and also praised Pakistan role in this regard. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia disowns Pakistan sincere efforts.
Even then, Pakistan continues its efforts because Pakistan truly believes intra-OIC tension against the interest of Muslims.
Good News for Pakistanis and Iranians
However, good news for Pakistani and Iranian nations had it their military-to-military relations have improved. General Asif Nawaz was the last army chief who visited Iran in early 1990s.
Although, General Raheel Sharif also had visited Iran yet he accompanied then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. They also tried patch-up between Saudi Arabia and Iran but Saudi regime disowned their efforts too.
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa
Improvement in bilateral military ties has become noticeable during the tenure of incumbent Pak Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Iran intelligence head attended four-nation intelligence meeting in Pakistan where China and Russia also joined Pakistan. Iranian armed forces chief Maj Gen Baqeri also visited Pakistan.
These facts show close relations of the two countries military leaders. It also shows sincerity and willingness of both sides to expand ties.
Pakistan Iran natural allies
Pakistan and Iran have matchless commonalities which lay foundation of common strategic approach as well as cooperation.
Ideology of Pakistan originates from National Poet Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal who remains a source of inspiration for Iran.
Specially, Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei respects Allama Iqbal in high esteem. He also lauds founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s struggle for oppressed Muslims of the subcontinent.
And unlike GCC countries, Iran has a clear pro-Kashmir policy that makes it natural ally of Pakistan as compared to Saudi Arabia-led GCC.
Pakistan’s pro-Palestine policy also makes it natural ally of Islamic Republic of Iran.
Therefore, leaving diplomatic jargon aside, Pakistan and Iran have solid common points for strengthened bilateral relations.
Pakistan Army Chief visit to Iran must not be the last of its sort of visit. Both countries need to frankly share their concerns with one another. Furthermore, they must remove irritants and impediments in the way of strong relations. However, they ought to do all this, speedily.
M.S. Mehdi for Shiite News Exclusive