Focus on building on our strengths
Pakistan’s relations with the US which have gone through several ups and downs have taken another dip. Accusing Pakistan of failing to take action against the Haqqani network and bring Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table, US administration has refused to supply F-16s and reduced security assistance by 73 pc. What has caused anger among Pakistan’s establishment is that the US has signed a security cooperation agreement with India and is lobbying hard for India’s membership of the NSG.
Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi’s meeting in the wake of the latter’s swearing in ceremony was marked by bonhomie. Modi and Sharif later met in Paris and Ufa. Sushma Swaraj called on Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad and Modi paid a surprise visit to the Raiwind Estate. Relations however again deteriorated with the Pathankot attack and the protests in Kashmir following the killing of Burhan Wani. Modi has subsequently accused Pakistan of terrorism and tried hard to isolate it at the G-20 and BRICS moots.
Pakistan’s relations with the US or India are however not marked by a deadlock. A US government document says good relationship with Pakistan is critical to counter-terrorism efforts, nuclear nonproliferation, regional stability and peace in Afghanistan. Similarly despite the recent lows in Pak-India relations Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan says Narendra Modi is looking forward to visiting Islamabad for the SAARC summit in November.
In the multi-polar world of today countries continue to maintain and strengthen economic and cultural ties despite major disputes. Notwithstanding China-India war in 1962 and their still unresolved border issues the volume of trade between them has risen gradually to about $75 billion in 2015. Similarly despite sharp competition between the US and China they have a whooping $598 billion bilateral trade volume. Pakistan needs whatever cooperation and help it can get from the US for building its economy, reducing power shortages and scholarships for students studying in the US. Mutual cooperation alone can rid Pakistan and India of poverty and social backwardness. What is needed is building on existing linkages instead of weakening them.
The US has opened all military and technology doors to India, and encouraged Israel and other allies to do so as well. For the past eight years, India has been the world’s largest arms importer, buying over $100 billion in weapons each year, two-thirds of which are deployed against Pakistan. Moreover, US military and political support encourages India in its bellicose behaviour towards Pakistan.
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