Along with globalization, regionalism has also become a multidimensional process that has brought many significant changes to international relations. Presently, inclusive economic integration through multilateralism has become a key indicator of regional stability, connectivity, and geo-political strength. In this aspect, many countries with immense geostrategic and geoeconomic capabilities have craved their way out of the tyrannies and liberated themselves from exploiters. Explaining the reinvigoration of regionalism requires case studies that highlight the commonalities that characterize various regional experiments and account for the beneficial outcomes and converging trajectories such projects exhibit. One of the classic examples can be taken into account through the case study of Azerbaijan. The visionary leadership under President Aliyev has played a proactive role in liberating the country’s regions from 30-year long illegal Armenian occupation.
As a victorious state, the Republic of Azerbaijan has fulfilled all its obligations stipulated by the tripartite declarations. It is also necessary that Armenian side fulfill its commitments within the scope of the trilateral declarations. In this aspect, it should not hinder the projects and efforts for the revitalization of the regional transportation and communication networks. This is what the basic logic demands for sustainable regional peace and cooperation. As a matter of fact, the truce agreement foresees the reopening of the Zangezur-Nakhchivan corridor, which is a great project in showcasing Azerbaijan’s true potential to become a middle corridor. The Corridor will create immense opportunities not only for Azerbaijan but also for Armenia, Iran, Georgia, Turkiye, and Russia. The opening up of the corridor will stimulate economic connectivity, regional transportation, and communication lines as well as enhance cooperation in many other areas of mutual interest for the regional stakeholders.
It is important to mention that President Ilham Aliyev has shown strong political will within the scope of integration into the global economy and determined the main lines of its foreign policy. After the liberation of territories, the country has taken a very active role in the development and diversification of energy, transportation, communication lines at the global level and succeeded in realizing important global projects such as Zangezur, Baku-TbilisiKars railway, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline, Southern Gas Corridor, TANAP, TAP etc. It is incredible to see the opening of the Fuzuli International Airport in the liberated territories which has been completed in eight months. It is the ground-breaking of the road leading to the Zangezur corridor that can be described as decisive, fast, and tangible steps. On the other hand, the reopening of this corridor is also beneficial for other states, including Armenia. It is high time that Armenia must shed the conational notion of waging war, step out of isolation, and join hands with Azerbaijan for the cause of humanity and regional integration. As a matter of fact, it must also provide land mine maps to Azerbaijan as per international law and stop violating the ceasefire agreement.
Azerbaijan towards a Glorious Future:
The enormous development of transportation networks on the East-West, North-South, and South-West routes will be a positive sum-game for Azerbaijan. It also involves the economic interests of all countries concerned, regionally and even globally. It is evident that these routes are closely related and even complementary to each other as they hold the potential to have long-term impacts on international trade. Sustainable economic development, social progress, easy financial flow, managing logistics, and modern transport/communication systems are the major attributes of new corridors and projects.
The fact that raises Azerbaijan to an advantageous country position in all relevant transportation routes, especially in the East-West transportation corridor, is that most infrastructure projects have been completed and operating at a good pace. The situation of ending the Armenian occupation in a considerable part of Azerbaijani lands has the quality to accelerate extremely positive developments. The construction of the new corridor will enhance Azerbaijan’s global outreach and economic development. Great visions require actions and the visionary leadership under President Aliyev has been practically implementing all sound policies and effective plans for regional connectivity and alliance building.
Serving the people wholeheartedly is the abiding mission of the Azerbaijan. The government’s efforts to develop modern trade/transport hubs will indeed guide it toward prosperity. The dedication is for the people and to follow the underlying trends of social development and respect the people's principal role in making history. Now, the decision of making liberated areas into smart cities along with establishing corridors would allow Azerbaijan to step into a golden era of greater prosperity. The explicit benefits will integrate other regional partners in the mega project.
Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram is Executive Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), Islamabad.