The post-World War II scenario observed many rapid identical changes which included end of wartime bonhomie developed between the United States and the Soviet Union against Axis forces.
The story did not end here and both the parties turn into arch rivalry and the world once again sustained half century long cold war between them. Containment was the policy adoption by the United States against the Soviets and this policy resulted in the formation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe to check the influence of the fast spreading communism and to protect the continent from the sway of the soviets. The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) were formed which aimed to perform the same task in Asia as with NATO in Europe. However the regional members of these pacts in Asia were more or less inclined towards security arrangements within their own interest with or without having a concern to communism. This was the sharp difference that changed NATO into long lasting alliance even in post-cold war international system but short lived and failed to achieve the aimed objectives in case of SEATO and CENTO.
There is a long saga that explains, how and why Pakistan from the south Asia joined these security pacts. In the wake of security and survival relations newly emerged state of Pakistan was encased in the fear of aggression from its eastern neighbor. There were several factors supported this thinking in Pakistan’s corridors of security and led policy makers to pursue possible options to mitigate this sense of insecurity and improve defense capabilities. These factors included Indian aggression on Kashmir Hyderabad and Jona Garh (all three princely states which were to be part of either India or Pakistan on settled criteria mainly consent of major population of the state). India compellingly integrated Hyderabad and Jona Garh in Indian Territory and Kashmir became a disputed territory between India and Pakistan remained in cold storage of the United Nations in coming future. This was the scenario that constituted insecurity and uncertainty about survival.
In such situation Pakistan joined alliance with the United States and became member of SEATO and CENTO despite both partners were in a loose convergence of interest as Professor Hans J. Morgenthau a notable realist describes the lack of identity of interests in US-Pakistan alliance relationship as: “The alliance between the United States and Pakistan is one of many contemporary instances of an alliance serving complementary interests. For the United States it servers the primary purpose of expanding the scope of the policy of containment; for Pakistan it serves primarily the purpose of increasing her political, military and economic potential via-s-vis her neighbors”.
In the words of Mr. Bogra ( at that time Prime Minister of Pakistan and one of the architect of security policy to join alliances with the United states) “Our main and only purpose was to safeguard the safety and security of Pakistan and we needed support from like-minded and peace-loving nations. We have never made any secret of the fact that we apprehended a threat to our security from India.” It appears both sides were very much clear about intentions of each other and hence at the time of war with India vices raised by Pakistan were rhetoric as it was very much clear from the day one that these pacts were aimed at any communist aggression. Additionally, Mr. Nehru (Indian Prime Minister) manipulated the situation in the favor of India by deviating Kashmir form the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and attached it with changing security environment of the south Asia with reference to Pakistan’s membership into SEATO and CENTO. Moreover in aftermath of Sino-India border conflict of 1962 India was supplied with huge scale of arms and other military hardware’s which provoked negative sentiment in Pakistan as she had provided the United States with intelligence sharing air bases and joined containment policy as second largest non-communist state of Asia but its strategic concerns against India were not focused by partners.
Interestingly the other members of SEATO and CENTO were also more concerned about their regional security arrangement in comparison to the communist threat. For example Iran was more anxious for Egypt, a potential challenger for regional dominance. Gulf States about Iran and as mentioned earlier Pakistan about India. Furthermore The SEATO was boycotted by French, Pakistan entered into an arms accord with the Soviet Union, member states responded passively to the situation in Vietnam. Thus, these events had made the obvious question about the security alliances of Southeast Asia by the United States such as SEATO and CENTO and weakened them sharply. Moreover the logic of divergent political system among member states work against and the coherence could not sustain among them. This logic was visible and worked in NATO as the members were sharing several identities and alliances was based in recognition of these identities include Democracy, Freedom of Speech and expression , Free Market and Common threat.
Sharp differences and divergences of interests resulted with short term objectives oriented policies by the Asian members of alliances and second largest non-communist state of Asia left alliances. Although there were conditions imposed by the United States on Pakistan to use military hardware mainly not against India but Pakistan was never ready to sustain arms embargo in 1965 war with India. Indeed these pacts left Pakistan with unilateral following the policy of containment by the Unites States and in response did not assured security and survival of Pakistan. In nutshell the choice to be the part of these pact served in twofold ways. Firstly, this forum provided military hardware to develop a strong army of Pakistan with the potentials to check any threat or act of aggression intended by its eastern neighbor and access into sophisticated technology of the west. However on political front this policy neither made Pakistan strong enough to solve Kashmir with muscles not it provided any political support from the west and the Unites States to pressurize India to solve the issue, in accordance of the UN resolutions. Rather it gave escape goat to Indian Prime Minister to deviate from the promised solution of Issue.
First published in Monthly the Jahngir World Times