Pakistan-US: The Bajwa reset

Source– The post is based on the article “Pakistan-US: The Bajwa reset” published in The Indian Express on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- International Relations

Relevance– Pakistan angle US-India relationship

News- The article explains the reasons behind renewed engagement between the USA and Pakistan. It also suggest India to not worry about these development

What factors might explain the renewed engagement between the US and Pakistan?

Importance of Pakistan– Pakistan has always been taken into consideration by foreign policy establishment of western world.

Pakistan gains importance due to its geostrategic location that sits between the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, Arabia, Central Asia, Russia and China.

Pakistan continues to enjoy leverage both positive and negative due to its support for international terrorism. Whether it is promoting jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s or in countering international terrorism during 2001-21, the Pakistan Army’s cooperation was seen as vital in Washington.

The Pakistan army controls the major decisions related to international diplomacy.

US- China relationship– The increasing tensions between the US and China has increased the importance of its neighbours.

Pakistan enjoyed productive relations with both the US and China. Pakistan has been a “major non-NATO ally” of the US. China and Pakistan define their partnership as an “all-weather relationship” that is  “higher than Himalayas, deeper than the Indian Ocean, and sweeter than honey”.

China has been nudging Pakistan into the anti-American coalition led by Beijing and Moscow. Bajwa was concerned about Imran Khan going very close to China and Russia.The Pakistani army recognised the dangers of a strong Indo-US strategic partnership.

Improvement of US image in Pakistan– Imran Khan was arousing anti-American feelings in Pakistan. Imran khan celebrated the US defeat and departure from Afghanistan in August 2021. He has accused the US officials of conspiring with Bajwa to oust him.

The USA wants Bajwa to have internal and external policies conducive to American interests.

What is Bajwa ‘s vision for Pakistan’s external policies?

He wants the Pakistan army to stay away from politics. He prefers geo-economics over geopolitics. He has emphasised the importance of putting Pakistan’s house in order and seeking regional peace to achieve that objective.

Why should India not be worried about renewed US engagement with Pakistan?

India’s economy today at nearly $3.5 trillion is 10 times larger than Pakistan’s. Pakistan’s political leverages against India have steadily weakened. Pakistan might be useful for the USA. But it will not regain its past position as a leading strategic partner of the US.

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