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Growing Closeness of USA and Pakistan and its Impact on India

It is usual for connections between nations to alter throughout time, and this can occasionally cause changes in how things work. Changes in US-Pakistan relations can significantly impact India, given the proximity and interrelated dynamics between the three countries. It is crucial to recall that the US-Pakistan relationship has experienced ups and downs over the years. The two nations have worked together on several issues, such as counterterrorism initiatives, but they have also disagreed on other issues. The India-Pakistan dynamic has been marked by a historical pattern of collaboration and conflict. From the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty aimed at resolving the sharing of the Indus River system’s water resources to the opening of the Wagah-Attari border for trade and commerce, the two nations have managed to work together in some capacities. Nevertheless, significant conflicts such as the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War resulting in the creation of Bangladesh, the 1999 Kargil War, and the 2008 Mumbai Attacks carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists, continue to strain their relationship. Despite the challenges, both India and Pakistan continue to engage in a complex, yet ongoing dynamic that has been characterized by a mixture of cooperation and conflict throughout history. It’s possible that there would be a variety of effects on India if the US improved ties with Pakistan. For instance, if the US increased its financial or military support for Pakistan, this may alter the balance of power between Pakistan and India. On the other hand, if United States’ efforts to curb terrorism by holding accountable the countries that harbor and support terror groups could yield substantial benefits not only for the US but also for India. By taking a strong stance against state-sponsored terrorism and exerting diplomatic pressure, the US could diminish the threat of terrorism not just within its borders but also in regions such as South Asia. This, in turn, would create a safer and more secure environment for countries like India, which have been the targets of numerous terror attacks.

The Biden-Harris administration is ushering in a new era in US-Pakistani relations. One might anticipate a change in American policy toward Pakistan, with an emphasis on Islamabad’s contribution to the stability of South Asia and Afghanistan, a turning moment in relations between Pakistan and the US, and perhaps the first step toward the revival of their long-standing friendship. The US is adjusting its approach towards India and Pakistan, after previously being perceived as favouring India. Washington is now seeking to strike a delicate balance between the two nations and is not simply passively observing India’s interactions with both sides. However, the foreign policy approach taken by the US towards this delicate dynamic indicates a nuanced and complex situation. In response to New Delhi’s self-imposed hedging, the US is preparing to balance its military ties with Islamabad. Pakistan appears to have been let out of Washington’s doghouse as a result of the State Department’s response to India’s protests, which stated that it cherishes its connections with both sides. For a week, State celebrated Pakistan’s foreign minister, culminating in an event at the Museum of American Diplomacy to mark 75 years of diplomatic ties. A supper at Blinken’s house was also provided for his Indian counterpart, who was in town at the same time and was grumbling about the Pakistani weapons trade.

It is a calculated action made at a vital time. It will create new opportunities for cooperation across various fields and support the development of multidimensional cooperation. The nomination of the US Ambassador to Pakistan, after a protracted void, was already a real accomplishment and the appropriate move in this respect. The greatest degree of political and diplomatic ties must be established in order to set the stage for a general improvement in relations. The Biden administration said on September 26, 2022, that India and Pakistan are both allies of the United States with distinct priorities. During his one-day visit, S. Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, raised concerns about the justification for the American security aid in the form of F-16s that was granted to Islamabad on September 8, 2022. Everyone is aware of the locations and adversaries that F-16 fighter jets are deployed for, according to Mr. Jaishankar, in response to the U.S. claim that the F-16 maintenance package is intended to combat terrorism. During a conversation with Indian-Americans, he responded to a query with, “You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things.”

A further indication that relations between the two countries are improving was the week-long visit to the United States by the former Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa. According to reports in the local media, General Bajwa was accompanied by a powerful entourage that included the Chief of General Staff, the Director General of Military Operations, and the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He had meetings with important figures like CIA Director William J. Burns, National Intelligence Director Avril D. Haines, and Défense Secretary Lloyd Austin. According to reports, he also met people from different think tanks and academics who were interested in Pakistani Politics. He reportedly had an unusual phone call with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman earlier, discussing how declining foreign reserves cast a shadow on economic growth. Bajwa pleaded with the White House and the US Treasury Department for the swift transfer of $1.2 billion to Pakistan during his conversation with the US Deputy Secretary of State. In 2019, he made a three-day trip to the US with then-Prime Minister Imran Khan. Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with General Birame Diop (Senegal), Military Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) (US). The conference covered topics of shared interest as well as the general security situation in the area, including the natural catastrophes brought on by the recent floods in the nation. The COAS was appreciative of the UN Military Advisor’s office’s contribution to advancing UN principles and crisis response.

“On the other side, we don’t see our relationship with Pakistan and our relationship with India as being related to one another. Both of these individuals are our partners, with distinct strengths in each, “At his daily press conference, State Department Spokesman Ned Price told reporters,” Well we don’t view our relationship with Pakistan, and on the other hand we don’t view our relationship with India as in relation to one another.  These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each, and we look to both as partners because we do have in many cases shared values, we do have in many cases shared interests”, he stated. Earlier, the Biden administration overturned the decision of the previous Trump administration to suspend military assistance to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network by approving a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment program to Pakistan. “Additionally, we want to use every effort to ensure that the relationships between these neighbours are as positive as they can be. So, let’s emphasize it as well” in response to a query, Mr. Price remarked. Mr. Price responded to a different query by stating that it was “not in Pakistan’s interest to see instability and bloodshed in Afghanistan.” Our efforts to better the lives, livelihoods, and humanitarian situations of the Afghan people as well as to ensure that the Taliban uphold their agreements are topics we constantly address with our Pakistani allies, the official continued. According to Mr. Price, Pakistan is involved in many of the same responsibilities, including those related to counterterrorism, safe passage, and the welfare of Afghan residents. “The Taliban’s refusal or inability to fulfil these obligations would have important ramifications for Pakistan as well,” the Taliban said. So, Mr. Price said, “for that reason, we do share a number of interests with Pakistan regarding its neighbour. He pointed out that the United States has been particularly concerned about the destruction and fatalities brought on by the heavy floods that destroyed significant portions of Pakistan. “Tens of millions of dollars have been donated to help those affected by these disasters. In view of the humanitarian crisis that Pakistanis are currently experiencing, the Secretary will have further information about additional US aid for the Pakistani people today “Added he.

It is challenging to foresee precisely how India may be impacted by a shift in the US-Pakistani relationship. However, such a move might likely affect India in both direct and indirect ways. Changes in the level of military or economic cooperation between the two nations or changes in the balance of power in South Asia are a few examples of potential direct repercussions. Regional political changes or shifts in international power dynamics can have indirect effects on India as well. In conclusion, the strengthening bond between the United States and Pakistan is creating a new chapter in the region’s political landscape. As these two major players draw closer, the impact will inevitably be felt far and wide, particularly for India. The relationship between these nations will be a determining factor in shaping the future of the region and its people. It’s important to keep a watchful eye on this unfolding scenario, as the ramifications could be both positive and negative. The growing closeness of the US and Pakistan is a development that demands close attention and examination, as it has the potential to shape the future of the region for years to come.

By Yash Jha

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