United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells will visit Pakistan from January 19 to January 22. She is on her routine visit to the region, where she will also visit Sri Lanka and India, before coming to Pakistan.
Under the emerging geopolitical scenario in this region, her visit carries a lot of importance at a crucial moment. Overall a shift in the US policy toward this region is witnessed. Last week, she has announced the resumption of a training program for Pakistan’s military officials. It will definitely strengthen military to military cooperation on shared priorities & advance US national security. Earlier, she announced that 15 high-level business delegations are scheduled to visit Pakistan during 2020, and expected to invest generously. These all are positive developments and Pakistan welcomes warmly.
The US is one of the countries, who early recognized Pakistan after getting independence from British rule in 1947. The relations between the US and Pakistan are covering almost 7 decades. Where Pakistan was a very close ally in the cold war era and non-NATO ally on the war on terror. The History of US-Pakistan relations is full of fluctuations. We enjoyed excellent relations as well as faced the worst sanctions too.
In fact, the US believes this friendship as transactional relations, as long as they need Pakistan, they care well, as soon as there is no urgent common interest, the US turns its face immediately. This is very much true in international relations that it is the interests which make friends or foes, but in Pakistani culture and traditions, friendship is much more than this. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Pakistan believes in long-lasting friendship and much more beyond the common interests. I believe the American needs to translate “Friendship” in the understanding of Pakistani cultural and traditional background.
In the past, the US has done a lot good for Pakistan, but the impact was limited to the ruling elite or a few persons only. The impact was not trickled down to the common man. Of course, we should not blame the US for corruption and greed in our society. If someone was obliged in the past, and if someone has served the American interest more than the national interest of Pakistan, the US may not be blamed at all. But hope, there must be a realization in the American policymakers and this time, they might consider Pakistan’s national interests and the common man in this society and may gain public support in this society too.
As long as there was close cooperation between Pakistan and the US, Pakistan was sincerely protecting the American interests as a result, the US achieved its strategic goals in this region. Since last few years, the US has completely written-off Pakistan and canceled almost all existing cooperation, as a result, there was no sincere friend of America in this region to look after their interest’s and as a result, the US failed to achieve its strategic goals in this part of the world.
Pakistan is a comparatively small country, and with the economic crisis, but due to its geostrategic location, it is a pivotal state and can play a decisive role in geopolitics. There exists a strong recognition of Pakistan’s potential in the American power circles, especially the military leadership.
The US developed its strategic relations with India and signed the “Major Defense Partner” agreement, helped India generously. The US assistance in S&T, transfer of technology, especially high tech, and advanced technologies, sophisticated advance weapon varies, nuclear civil deal, American support for India to UNSC permanent membership and NSG, etc., are the areas of an obvious tilt toward India.
Pakistan has no worry about US-India and US-Israel bilateral relations, but would not like these relations are to harm Pakistan. There was sufficient evidence during the February 2019 Pakistan-India limited conflict. In spite of President Trump’s offer for mediation between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue, no progress on ground favors India. American silence over human rights violations in India and racist discriminatory Citizenship law passed in India, targeting Muslims, all are beyond our understanding.
Pakistan is a well mature and very responsible nation. Pakistan has no objection if US-India and US-Israel relations grow bilaterally only, without harming Pakistan. Pakistan warmly welcomes the resumption of traditional friendship between the US and Pakistan, while keeping our strategic interests with China and Russia intact.
It is believed that the Intellectual community and think tanks may advise the policy makers and decision makers in the US to take positive measures to restore out relationships based on trust, sincerity, on long term basis. We have high expectation from Alice Wells’ visit and hope all is well.