The US and India have once again adopted a ‘do more’ mantra against Pakistan while putting pressure on the latter to take concrete steps against ‘terrorism’ and ‘militant networks.’ Pakistan has been urged to take ‘immediate, sustained, and irreversible action’ to ensure that no territory under its control was used for ‘terrorist attacks’ at the end of the India-US 2+2 meet. In response to the statement, Foreign Office in Islamabad has categorically rejected the unwarranted reference to Pakistan. Vested interests, economic cooperation and geographic location have become a strong basis for establishing long-term international relations. Being a huge market for the consumption of products and big weapon deals, India has cemented ties with countries like the US, Russia, Australia and Japan that possess strong economies. In quest of better ties, they never shy away from making a ‘joint statement’ against Pakistan when it comes to matters related to terrorism forgetting the fact that it was Islamabad that has paid a heavy price in the fight against terrorism. Mainly, the US has never trusted Pakistan and always preferred India’s stance regarding the issue of militancy. The adoption of 2+2 dialogue format of talks between the foreign and defence ministers of India and its allies on strategic and security issues gives it an edge over Pakistan. India holds dialogues on this format with four of its strategic partners – US, Russia, Australia, and Japan and continues to take benefit of this alliance. On the contrary, Pakistan is solely relying on China when it comes to policy statements from international perspectives. At this juncture, Pakistan needs to have more friends who could stand by it when it needs to defend its stance on the global stage. It can build a stronger relationship with other regional powers like Russia and Turkey who can stand by Pakistan in its time of need.
A triangular conundrum exists between Pakistan, India and the US. Historically, trust deficit has always been the main feature of the transactional relationship between Pakistan and the US. Hidden and not-so-concealed feelings of betrayal have always been the hallmark of this love-hate relationship over the years. Though successive Pakistani leaderships have always been pro-west, they have never been able to win the complete trust of the US. While safeguarding its own interests, the US is following a nuanced policy between Pakistan and India. Mainly two factors explain this phenomenon. First, China is in quest of attaining the status of a superpower, which the US wishes to contain. Second, the US views India favourably, both as a ‘counterweight’ to the rise of China, as well as because of India’s ‘huge emerging economy’ as a vast consumer market with untold business opportunities as well as a big buyer of weapons. The other factor behind this love-hate relationship is the strategic importance of Pakistan in the region. The US is still dependent on Pakistan’s political, diplomatic and military help to deal with the situation in Afghanistan post-withdrawal. In line with the policy of the US towards Pakistan of repeating the mantra of ‘do more,’ it should also urge India to get engaged in peace talks with Pakistan. Both Pakistan and India should work on improving mutual ties, which could start with a meaningful dialogue for regional stability. The US should review its policy of trade with India and aid for Pakistan. In order to normalise ties, both Pakistan and India should resolve all key issues including the main issue of Kashmir for normalcy in the South Asian region and economic development of both the neighbouring states.