Improving relations with USA
Donald Blome, the first full-time ambassador in Pakistan since 2018, was sworn in at a time when relations between the two countries are no more marked by the tensions of the PTI era. PM Shehbaz Sharif told Mr Blome Pakistan seeks deeper ties with the USA. The era of accusing each other is hopefully over, with a period of mutual cooperation taking its place.
Pakistan remains relevant to the USA for a number of reasons. It is a country with over 220 million people, and lies in a region which has significant economic and political importance. Being a superpower the USA has strategic interests in the region. While it considers India its principal strategic partner in South Asia, it knows that improved relations with Pakistan will make India realise that the USA is not to be taken for granted. Meanwhile China-Pakistan friendship ensures that Pakistan will remain relevant for the USA.
Despite a peculiar geopolitical environment leading the USA and Pakistan to have close ties with each other’s rivals, there are still opportunities for collaborations in non-security spaces. Wherever interests align, there can still be cooperation.
Mutual needs are once again promoting goodwill between the two countries. With the USA being Pakistan’s largest export destination, Islamabad is keen to further enhance its exports to the extra-large US market. It might not be a realistic objective for the near future as the annual inflation rate in the USA has accelerated to 8.6 percent in May, the highest since December 1981. As the US economy slows down this year and the next, possibly leading to recession, there is likelihood of Pakistan’s exports declining. The idea is however worth pursuing when the US economy comes out of doldrums. .
Pakistan is keen to lure investors. Finance Minister Miftah Ismail welcomed a US delegation which showed interest in investing in different sectors in Pakistan including renewable energy, textile, and agriculture. There are a number of factors that discourage investors from coming to Pakistan that include incidence of terrorism, power-cum-gas outages, shortage of skilled manpower and bureaucratic delays. Pakistan has to work hard to provide a conducive environment for foreign investment.
While good relations with the USA must be sought, these must not be at the cost of ties with any other country. Pakistan cannot afford to be a part of bloc politics.
document.getElementById( “ak_js_1” ).setAttribute( “value”, ( new Date() ).getTime() );