International RelationsPakistan Studies

Pak-US Relations, Issues and Strengths

Relations between the United States and Pakistan are characterized by both friendship and hostility because of the nature of their national interests and position in international politics. This article discusses the strengths and issues of Pak-US relations in detail. 

Strengths and Issues of Pak-US relations

The description of the issues and strengths of Pak-US relations is as follows: 

Strengths in relations

1. Military cooperation

The United States (US) has been the largest supplier of military technology to Pakistan after the Peoples’ Republic of China. Military association between both countries has existed since the establishment of relations at the beginning of the 1950s. Both armies also have been regularly engaging in joint exercises. Recently, both armies have cooperated in the war against terror in Afghanistan. In past, they have collaborated in Afghan Jihad against the Union of Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR) during the 1980s.

2. Economic Cooperation

Apart from being the largest military supply, the USA has been the largest provider of economic aid to Pakistan after Pakistan’s signing of US-led military alliances over the course of history. To give an example, $18 billion of both economic and military assistance was provided to Pakistan from 2001 till 2011.

3. US-AID development programs

The U.S. civilian assistance program has been supporting Pakistan to improve different sectors of the economy i.e. energy, economic growth, education, agriculture, and health.

4. Student Exchange Programs:

Thousands of Pakistani students are studying in different colleges and universities of the United States of America as part of different scholarship programs e.g. YES and Full Bright scholarship.

5. Alliance against terror

Both countries are allies in the war against terror. The USA has been providing all necessary support i.e. both military and economic, to do away with militants and their hideouts in Pakistan. ISI and CIA share intelligence reports in this regard. Pakistan provided its air space, airbases, and way to carry attacks on militants and transport logistics to Afghanistan. Thousands of terrorists were caught and handed over to the USA.

6. Trade relationship

Pakistan and the USA have a trade relationship. The USA is the largest market in the world for Pakistan’s textile goods.

Issues in Pakistan’s relationship with the USA

1. Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline

The USA is has been pressuring Pakistan to avoid any trade and economic cooperation with Iran. One of the projects that have been disturbed because of American pressure is Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project. Pakistan had signed an agreement with Iran regarding this gas pipeline to overcome its energy needs.  Iran has completed its part of the gas pipeline but Pakistan has stopped working on it in face of American pressure.

2. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

CPEC will connect China with Middle East, Africa, and Europe through Gwadar Port. This poses threat to US economic interests in the world. USA opposes CPEC and urges Pakistan to rethink it. The US has established strategic relations with India to empower it both militarily and economically to counter increasing Chinese influence in the region and world.

3. USA India Civil Nuclear Agreement

Pakistan is critical of USA India Nuclear Agreement 2008. According to Pakistan the technology provided by America to India potentially be used to advance its nuclear weapons. Secondly, Pakistan also demands a similar agreement with it.

4. USA support with India in development of Afghanistan

The USA has been supportive of Indian presence in Afghanistan and its role in the development of Afghanistan. According to the Pakistan Indian spy agency RAW in Afghanistan is a threat to security in Pakistan as it has been involved in carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan engineered from within Afghanistan.

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