NEW DELHI: One of the major outcomes of the connectivity meeting on Friday was the formation of a new bloc involving Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and the US. Though officially the US termed the block as a pre-requisite to improved connectivity in the region, it has far flung implications in the region, especially for India.Russia-based American analyst Andrew Korybko said the block gives the view that Pakistan’s version of multi-alignment is more successful than India’s. “It makes the US a stakeholder in Pakistan’s stability, which could lead to America putting pressure on India not to destabilize its rival through proxy. Islamabad accuses India of doing so despite New Delhi’s consistent denial,” he said.
In a statement announcing the formation of the block on Friday, the US said the leaders agreed that long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan were critical for regional connectivity and that peace and regional connectivity were mutually-reinforcing.Washington could also have kept the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan railway line in mind while agreeing to form the ‘new quad’ to push its economic interests in the Central Asian Republics.
Apart from India, some other major countries which will feel the implications of the block include Russia and China. A former diplomat said the formation of the ‘new quad’ was done keeping in mind China’s intentions to extend the Belt Road Initiative to Afghanistan. “If China manages to extend the BRI to Afghanistan, it can use Kabul as a strategic point to spread its influence across the world,” he said and added that it could help Russia in attaining its long-cherished goal of spreading its wings in the Indian Ocean region.