US-Pakistan ties are unlikely to be back to good old days

Washington, Jul 02 (PTI):
Pakistan’s desire to improve relations with the US is unlikely to happen unless Islamabad changes its policies on terrorism and its relations with China and India, according to two eminent American experts.
Addressing a seminar on US-Pakistan Relations after US Withdrawal from Afghanistan,’ Lisa Curtis, former Senior Director at the National Security Council and Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security, said that strategic partners need converging strategic interests, and currently Pakistan and the US disagree on Afghanistan and China.
Curtis told a seminar organised by the Hudson Institute on Tuesday that Pakistan’s policies supporting the Taliban were not in its own interests.
If the Taliban does become ascendant in Afghanistan, which seems to be the direction we are headed, that there will be blowback in Pakistan from militants that target the Pakistani state, Curtis told the participants.
Pakistan would be better off trying to come to some form of modus vivendi with India, she added.
The seminar was moderated by Husain Haqqani, Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute, who had once served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. Curtis, who was the Trump administration’s point person for South Asia, said that the aid suspension under the Trump administration helped the US to realise that Pakistan would never really crack down on the Taliban and Taliban would never really cut ties with Al Qaeda.
Joshua White, who served at the White House in the Obama administration and is now a professor at the School for Advanced International Studies, said that the US once again finds itself with a growing dependency on Pakistan while withdrawing from Afghanistan but this time Americans do not want to rush in with financial incentives to get Pakistan’s cooperation.
In previous cycles when the US needed Pakistan, White noted, the US would offer military sales, security cooperation of some kind, some form of economic assistance overt or covert and that would form the basis of a reasonable exchange.
But this time, there is no support within the US for large scale financial payments or security assistance to Pakistan.
White attributed the American reluctance to the close Pakistan-China relationship and the strong India-US partnership and noted that any secret arrangements like in the past have become more difficult.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said that his country was seeking a “civilised” and “even-handed” relationship with Washington like the one that existed between the US and the UK or with India “right now” after America leaves war-torn Afghanistan.

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