Depending on others or self-reliance?
The US-India nuclear deal has upset many in Pakistan. Sartaj Aziz has called it detrimental for the stability of South Asia. Leader of the Opposition in NA has asked the government to call a consultative conference to review the foreign policy. Pakistan is not in a position to get the US-India deal undone. What it can do instead is to devise initiatives that reduce the deal’s negative impact on the country. With India being a big market for US goods and a possible bulwark against the expanding Chinese influence in Asia, any administration — Republican or Democrat — would have taken the measure irrespective of opposition from Pakistan.
The recent deal is in continuation of the original US-India agreement signed in early 2007 when President-cum-COAS Pervez Musharraf was basking in the reflected glory of Pak-US relations. Among the reasons why the US was not willing to sign a similar agreement with Pakistan was a perception that the Musharraf government was simultaneously running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. Later under the PPP government Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani sought US support but was unwilling to launch operation in NWA against the Haqqani Network which had launched deadly attacks against the US troops and Afghan civilians. The discovery of the much sought after OBL in the cantonment city of Abbottabad further strengthened the misunderstandings. The policies dictated by the generals before present COAS Raheel Sharif were enough to create a lack of trust between the US and Pakistan.
Kicking up anti-US sentiment in Pakistan as desired by the religious parties would harm national interests. America is still helpful to Pakistan. No doubt Islamabad should further cultivate relations with China. What needs to be understood, however, is that China is as much against terrorism as the US. What is more, China wants Pakistan to give priority to its economic development and live in peace with India and other countries. However a belligerent India under Modi will continue to pose a challenge for Islamabad. In this context, Pakistan has to cope with the challenges of the post-Cold War era when total dependence on any single power would be suicidal.