Geostrategic Importance of Pakistan

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Located in the northwestern part of the South Asian subcontinent, Pakistan became a state as a result of the partition of British India on August 14, 1947. Pakistan annexed Azad (Free) Kashmir after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48. Initially, Pakistan also included the northeastern sector of the subcontinent, where Muslims are also in the majority. The East Wing and West Wing of Pakistan were, however, separated by 1,600 kilometers of hostile Indian territory. The country's East Wing, or East Pakistan, became the independent state of Bangladesh in December 1971. Pakistan occupies a position of great geostrategic importance, bordered by Iran on the west, Afghanistan on the northwest, China on the northeast, India on the east, and the Arabian Sea on the south. The total land area is estimated at 803,940 square kilometers. The boundary with Iran, some 800 kilometers in length, was first delimited by a British commission in 1893, separating Iran from what was then British Indian Balochistan. In 1957 Pakistan signed a frontier agreement with Iran, and since then the border between the two countries has not been a subject of serious dispute. Pakistan's boundary with Afghanistan is about 2,250 kilometers long. In the north, it runs along the ridges of the Hindu Kush (meaning Hindu Killer) mountains and the Pamirs, where a narrow strip of Afghan territory called the Wakhan Corridor extends between Pakistan and Tajikistan. The Hindu Kush was traditionally regarded as the last northwestern outpost where Hindus could venture in safety. The boundary line with Afghanistan was drawn in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand, then foreign secretary in British India, and was acceded to by the amir of Afghanistan that same year. This boundary, called the Durand Line, was not in doubt when Pakistan became independent in 1947, although its legitimacy was in later years disputed periodically by the Afghan government as well as by Pakhtun tribes straddling the Pakistan-Afghanistan border....
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