Once Friends, Now Foes?

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Coming to contemporary times, US President Joe Biden has not had a direct conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan from the time the former took office in Washington last year….reports Asian Lite News

After enjoying years of warm relationship, the US and Pakistan seem to struggle to maintain a cordial relationship.

In a rare moment, ties are now at a crossroads. Washington does not know where Pakistan figures in its Indo-Pacific strategy. And Pakistan does not know how much space it has for the US in its relations with China, as reported by Dawn.

Coming to contemporary times, US President Joe Biden has not had a direct conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan from the time the former took office in Washington last year.

Further, US-China tensions have created a schism in Pakistan’s strategic thinking and its decision to skip President Biden’s Democracy Summit last December followed by the offer to be a bridge between the US and China signals Pakistan’s desire to be in both camps but also its uncertainty about Washington’s response.

On the other hand, even though the US-Pakistan relationship is more than six decades old, neither side has a well-defined view of the other and its policies. They have thrice engaged with each other, each time prompted by Washington’s short-term need for Islamabad’s cooperation to serve its critical security and strategic interests and Pakistan’s long-term need for US economic support and strategic patronage.

Meanwhile, their interests were only partially served as each side used the other to advance its own agenda that impacted negatively on the other’s interests. Both benefited but also felt aggrieved.

Earlier, during the US-Soviet detente, only indispensable American allies were retained, not Pakistan. Since then, neither US-Pakistan relations nor Pakistan has been the same. Pakistan has had no permanent importance for Washington, nor any lasting place in its foreign policy. Its importance has varied according to fluctuating US interests in the region, positioning it sometimes alongside Washington, and sometimes against it, according to Dawn.

There are, thus, many reasons for US-Pakistan engagement but it will not come without US conditionalities and pressure, some of which Pakistan will have to accommodate, for its own sake and for the sake of its ties with America, without compromising its vital interests including strategic ties with China, as noted by Dawn. (ANI)

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