The announcement of the Quadrilateral Coordination and Cooperation Mechanisms (QCCM) between Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan is a very positive step in the regional political sphere, especially in terms of increasing security and stability in the area.

The attendance of all chiefs of staffs from the armies of member states tells us that this is being taken seriously by all those involved. The group will focus its efforts on intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism situation evaluation, capacity training, joint training exercises and personnel training.

The broad parameters of the cooperation pave the way for improved security in South-East Asia, but that is not the only benefit. Pakistan has managed well on its own defence resources in carrying out operations against militancy in the country, but the porous border on all sides ensures that the war never truly ends. Add that to Afghanistan and Pakistan lambasting each other over who shelters which terrorists, there seemed to be no cooperative measures in sight. The QCCM might be the only lasting means to remove the roots of militancy in the area.

The QCCM might just be what this region needs to stop the bickering Pakistan and Afghanistan regularly engage in. The two countries have traded more than barbs over the issue of terrorist sanctuaries recently, and a coordinated effort to fight militancy might just be what both need to improve their ties by a significant margin. China and Tajikistan’s inclusion into the mix will only serve to bring neutrality to the table, and the relentless tirade of accusations will have to come to an end.

General Raheel Sharif, and by extension Pakistan, is seen as one of the leading parties in the QCCM, and this is a masterstroke for two important foreign and domestic policy aims; to bring security to the region and improve ties with neighbouring countries. The only thing left now is to turn this vision of the future into a concrete force against extremism.