Feb 10, 2009
PAK US RELATIONS
HISTORY:The United States and Pakistan established diplomatic relations in 1947. The U.S. agreement to provide economic and military assistance to Pakistan and the latter's partnership in the Baghdad Pact/CENTO and SEATO strengthened relations between the two nations. However, the U.S. suspension of military assistance during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war generated a widespread feeling in Pakistan that the United States was not a reliable ally. Even though the United States suspended military assistance to both countries involved in the conflict, the suspension of aid affected Pakistan much more severely. Gradually, relations improved and arms sales were renewed in 1975. Then, in April 1979, the United States cut off economic assistance to Pakistan, except food assistance, as required under the Symington Amendment to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, due to concerns about Pakistan's nuclear program.Anti-Soviet Alliance in the Afghan War:The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 highlighted the common interest of Pakistan and the United States in peace and stability in South Asia.The incasion proved to be great threat for both Pakistan and US. As victory of Soviet Union meant that they will be crossing the borders to reach the Arabian Sea waters through Pakistan.And for USA their invasion meant further expansion of Soviet power in the region which was not acceptable to it.In 1981, the United States and Pakistan agreed on a military and economic assistance program aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the heightened threat to security in the region and its economic development needs. With U.S. assistance - in the largest covert operation in history - Pakistan armed and supplied anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan, eventually defeating the Soviets, who withdrew in 1988. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a 10-year war which wreaked incredible havoc and destruction on Afghanistan.Nuclear Sanctions:Recognizing national security concerns and accepting Pakistan's assurances that it did not intend to construct a nuclear weapon, Congress waived restrictions under Symington Amendment on military assistance to Pakistan. In March 1986, the two countries agreed on a second multi-year economic development and security assistance program. On October 1, 1990, however, the United States suspended all military assistance and new economic aid to Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, which required that the President certify annually that Pakistan "does not possess a nuclear explosive device."Nuclear Weapon Tests:India's decision to conduct nuclear tests in May 1998 and Pakistan's matching response set back U.S. relations in the region, which had seen renewed U.S. Government interest during the second Clinton Administration. A presidential visit scheduled for the first quarter of 1998 was postponed and, under the Glenn Amendment, sanctions restricted the provision of credits, military sales, economic assistance, and loans to the government. An intensive dialogue on nuclear nonproliferation and security issues between Deputy Secretary Talbott and Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad was initiated, with discussions focusing on CTBT signature and ratification, FMCT negotiations, export controls, and a nuclear restraint regime. The October 1999 overthrow of the democratically elected Sharif government triggered an additional layer of sanctions which include restrictions on foreign military financing and economic assistance. U.S. Government assistance to Pakistan was limited mainly to refugee and counter-narcotics assistance. Post-9/11 alliance:Pakistan's relations with US have reveived and regained strength since 9 /11.Pakistan moved decisively to ally itself with the United States in its war against Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. It gave the U.S. a number of military airports and bases, for its attack on Afghanistan. This commitment of Pakistan helped USA alot in its war against terrorism.Being a major ally of US Pakistan gained various benefits and also recived praises on behalf of the US governmant at various occassions.This Pak US partnership is in the larger interest of both the nations.Both Pakistan and US are facing the challenge to develop broad and deep relations that are not subject to downturn seen in the past.There is the need for more attention on the economic dimension of the relations between both the countries.A greater access to US market for Pakistani goods is desired and the direct investment by USA in the trade sector of Pakistan is needed. All this also requires public support and interaction between the people of the two countries so that they could better understand each other. History is very clear that the relations between both the countries have always been very tactical.The Cold War or Soviet Invasion in Afghanistan and War on Terror are included in this regard. Important is to develop a common mutual understanding that these relations become strategic. What is important is to immunise our relations from the ups and downs and shifts witnessed in the past.It is important for both US and Pakistan to have strategic relations.As in it lies the interest of both the countries.Infact it wouldn't be wrong to say that its a good time of opportunity to impove the mutual relations in this increasingly interdependent world.