Iran-Pakistan Tension: What It Means to the Middle East’s Balance of Power Politics?

Thursday 11 April 2024 / 12:00 - 13:30 / Zoom

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The 2024 Iranian missile strikes in Pakistan are the culmination of competition in the geopolitical arena deriving from heightened tensions in West Asia with the Israel-Palestine war. This incident lays bare a deficiency in trust between the neighbouring nations, a facet that is anticipated to persistently afflict bilateral relations even after the abatement of missiles and allegations. Ideological variations and competition between the two Islamic countries of Iran and Pakistan, as well as a volatile border riddled with organized crime syndicates trafficking drugs, people, and energy, has for long made their relationship fraught. Radical factions and illicit organizations are leveraging the prevailing circumstances to amplify and fortify their sway in the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) region, particularly in Iran and the Levant (Iraq and Syria). Concurrently, there has been an escalation in terrorist assaults on either side of the 900-kilometer extensive Iran-Pakistan border, concomitant with increased interceptions of narcotics within the vicinity.

Responses by India and China have been neutral; Beijing advocated for “restraint” from both involved parties, while New Delhi emphasized the situation as “a matter between Iran and Pakistan,” maintaining a certain distance. Notably, China’s intricate relationship with both Iran and Pakistan places it in a delicate position. Balancing its ties with these nations, especially considering its reliance on Iranian oil and close association with Pakistan, becomes a crucial geopolitical challenge.

These tensions may prompt realignments in regional alliances as nations assess their affiliations and partnerships. Traditional alliances may be tested, and new alignments could emerge in response to the evolving situation. An escalation of tensions in the Middle East has direct implications for the security landscape in Eurasia, especially as the Israel-Palestine conflict and war in Ukraine continue to test diplomatic ties and trade routes. It hence becomes important to assess what long-term impact this conflict has on the existing lack of trust between the two neighbours.

This is the fifth event in the Europe-Asia Webinar Series hosted by YCAPS’ Europe Chapter at the Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs.


Dr. Javad Heiran-Nia is the Director of the Persian Gulf Studies Group at the Center for Scientific Research and Middle East Strategic Studies in Iran. He was the Current Affairs Analyst at Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum. His articles have appeared in Atlantic Council, Stimson Center, National Interest, Middle East Policy, Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum, Insight Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus Journal, Contemporary Review of the Middle East, Strategic Analysis, LobeLog. Heiran-Nia’s commentary and interviews have been published by leading outlets including Newsweek, Anadolu Agency, The Asahi Shimbun, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Qatar AlarabyTV, Expresso and the New Arab. His book titled Iran and the Security Order in the Persian Gulf is being published by Routledge.

Dr. Sania Muneer works on pro-women legislation, women in armed conflicts and government and politics in Pakistan. She is working as an Assistant Professor at the School of Integrated Social Sciences, University of Lahore. She holds her Ph.D. degree in Pakistan Studies from Pakistan Study Centre, University of the Punjab, Pakistan and a split degree from Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom. She a former Digital Humanities Fellow of an exchange partnership between the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, North Carolina Central University, and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She is currently working on a ‘Historical and Socio-Legal Approach to Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan’. She has presented her research at Oxford, Royal Holloway University of London, Duke University, USA, and Mahidol University Salaya, Thailand among others. She is the author of several articles in peer-reviewed research journals.

Dr. Rishi Gupta is Assistant Director at the Asia Society Policy Institute in New Delhi – a division of the Asia Society India Centre, Mumbai. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA), Kathmandu, Nepal. He was previously associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation and Center for Air Power Studies, New Delhi. He completed his PhD from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India. His research interests include South Asian & Indian-Pacific affairs.

Webinar Cost: Free of charge
Chair: Dr. Jagannath Panda, ISDP
Co-Chair: Mr. Luc Maccioni, YCAPS
Format: This event will be on-the-record. Questions are encouraged. It will be recorded.
Registration: Required via this link.
Co-Sponsor: Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP)