Iran and Pakistan share a volatile border, stretching about 900 kilometers, and have long fought Baloch terrorists in the region. The Baloch people reside at the convergence of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

Iran and Pakistan find themselves entangled in a series of cross-border attacks, raising questions about the underlying causes and potential consequences of the escalating hostilities between the two neighboring nations. While both countries have a history of strained relations, the recent spate of attacks demands a nuanced examination of the geopolitical dynamics at play.

While Iran and Pakistan share a common separatist enemy, it is highly unusual for either side to attack militants on each other’s soil.

The latest strikes come as Iran’s allies in the Middle East launch attacks on Israeli forces and its supporters against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

One of the primary factors contributing to the tensions is the longstanding issue of border disputes. The Iran-Pakistan border, which stretches over 900 kilometers, has been a historical source of contention, with both nations holding different perspectives on its demarcation. Recent skirmishes have reignited discussions around the need for a clear and mutually agreed-upon border, as territorial disputes often serve as a catalyst for heightened hostilities.

Religious and sectarian dynamics also contribute to the strained relations between Iran and Pakistan. The two nations, while both predominantly Muslim, adhere to different sects of Islam—Iran being predominantly Shia and Pakistan primarily Sunni. These religious differences have at times fueled tensions, as regional actors exploit sectarian fault lines to further their own agendas.

Pakistan said it had for years complained that terrorists had “safe havens and sanctuaries” in Iran – and was forced to take matters into its own hands with Thursday’s strikes.

The international community has expressed growing concern over the escalation of violence, urging both Iran and Pakistan to exercise restraint and engage in diplomatic dialogue to de-escalate tensions. The United Nations, through its spokesperson, called for an immediate ceasefire and emphasized the importance of peaceful negotiations to address the root causes of the conflict.

As the situation unfolds, diplomats and leaders from various nations are working behind the scenes to facilitate diplomatic channels and promote dialogue between Iran and Pakistan. Regional stability and the prevention of further bloodshed are paramount concerns, and the international community is closely monitoring developments in the hope of preventing a full-blown conflict between these two neighboring nations.

In the coming days, the world will be watching closely as diplomatic efforts unfold, seeking a peaceful resolution to the hostilities and a return to stability in a region already grappling with complex geopolitical dynamics.

Published: 19th Jan 2024

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