In recent years there’s been a huge push by the Pakistani establishment to strengthen ties with nations like Turkey and Malaysia, while also trying to look towards Western capitals to highlight the Kashmir issue, however Pakistan severely lacks a dedicated South Asia policy.
It goes without saying that our relationships with our immediate neighbors are of the most significant importance in terms of trade and security but there has been no investment into these relationships.
For example it’s beyond comprehension why there hasn’t been a reapproch of Bangladesh. There is no political cost in Pakistan for condemning the atrocities of 1971 as the majority of the populace sees the struggle for Bangladeshi independence as just due to the abuse of power by East Pakistani politicians and the military. Also there is a point of convergence via a vis Indian meddling in the internal affairs of Bangladesh, a historical grievance of Pakistan.
Furthermore overtures to neighboring countries that follow the Dharmic order like Nepal and Sri Lanka, where there is some existing cultural goodwill for Pakistan, can help to de-couple us from the Hindu-Muslim dichotomy propagated by the right wing Hindutva regime. Increased military cooperation with Pakistan, like during the Sri Lankan civil war, can safeguard Nepal and Sri Lanka from Indian expansionism. The territories of both nations fall under the ideological map of Akhand Bharat, the idea of greater India enshrined in the BJP party’s manifesto as well as echoed by [liberal diplomats like Shayam Saran](https://i.imgur.com/s0fuFbN.jpg) (former Indian ambassador to Nepal).
Finally Pakistan also needs to engage with the civil society in India, a large majority of who also do not want conflict with Pakistan. Pakistan respects Dravidian indigeneity to this landmass, something that the revisionist state government of India is keen on undermining through the suppression of the Aryan migration theory. This can be a point convergence to promote the two nation theory, the foundational basis of Pakistan that asserts that South Asia has always been an amalgamation of civilizations. The populations of Indian Punjab, the North East, South India, are all experiencing the erasure of their civilizational identity by the same ideology that threatens Pakistan.
So why is it that there is more chatter about what’s happening in the West Bank, or Syria and Yemen, developments that have no bearing on the strategic positioning of Pakistan, amongst the Pakistan intelligencia and media instead of how we can improve our reach amongst the states that directly surround us.