Pakistan Foreign Policy
The quest for security has been at the heart of Pakistan’s foreign policy since independence. Pakistan’s security environment derives its origins from the circumstances in which Pakistan was created. The violence accompanying the portion leading to the emergence of the two independent states of Pakistan and India generated hostility, which continues to afflict relations between the two countries mainly because of the unresolved issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The issue is the source of continuing tensions and conflict, and shaped the unstable and tense security environment in the region. The historical perspective of Pakistan’s foreign policy falls in five broad phases. The first period covers the time from the UN enforced cease-fire of 1949 to the 1965 war over Kashmir. During this period Pakistan allied itself with the West by joining the Baghdad Pact and its successor, CENTO, and SEATO. The primary motivation underlying our membership of these alliances had been the need to redress our defence vulnerability and achieve a reasonable military equilibrium with India. The second phase runs from 1965 to the 1971 crisis in East Pakistan. The 1965 war, which was sparked by the Jammu and Kashmir issue, had led to a drastic reduction in economic and military assistance to Pakistan. The increase in defence expenditure together with the decline in foreign assistance compounded economic difficulties and aggravated political problems led by a sense of alienations in East Pakistan. India played on this crisis and eventually imposed war on Pakistan. During the third phase from 1971 to 1989 Pakistan remained engaged in rebuilding itself and facing the challenge of the Soviet military intervention in neighboring Afghanistan, which lasted for over a decade since 1979, and has spawned a conflict that continues to ravage Afghanistan. The fourth phase covers the period from 1990 to the nuclear tests of May 1998. Two important events from the security perspective took place in 1990. USA clamped economic and military sanctions on Pakistan under the prissier Amendment (which widened the conventional gap between India and Pakistan). That same year the intensification of the freedom movement in occupied Kashmir. The last two years, the current phase, have witnessed important developments in Pakistan’s foreign policy. These includes prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif’s initiative to resume bilateral dialogue with India soon after taking office, the nuclear tests that radically altered the security environment of South Asia last year, the security dialogue with the united States and the crisis in Kargil. These developments, together with the continuing conflict in Afghanistan, represent the major preoccupations of our policy makers. Meanwhile, trade and economy have acquired increasing importance in our foreign relations. The Nuclear Challenge The India nuclear test in early May 1998 posed one of the gravest security challenges to Pakistan since its independence. The Indian nuclear tests drastically altered the strategic balance. The hostile statements made by important Indian leaders following
thee tests verged on nuclear blackmail and underscored dangers to Pakistan in India’s latest bid to establish its hegemony in the region. The Indian media also started questioning the credibility of Pakistan?s nuclear capability. The Indian political analysts commented that by testing India had called Pakistan?s ?bluff?. This was a dangerous assertion, which could lead to miscalculation and misadventure against Pakistan. In the wake of the Indian tests, Pakistan undertook consultations especially with major powers. It was evident that in the absence Of a nuclear umbrella, Pakistan was alone to face a nuclear India. It became imperative to discard the policy of nuclear ambiguity. Demonstrate our nuclear capability and therefore restore the strategic balance in the interest of peace and security in South Asia. Pakistan consequently conducted...
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