Pakistan on Thursday expressed serious concern over “growing strategic ties” between India and the US.
As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded five-nation tour (Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the US and Mexico) on Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser (on Foreign Affairs) Sartaj Aziz blasted Washington for adopting a dual policy, saying that while the US is strengthening ties with New Delhi, it is using Islamabad “whenever it needs it”. He also slammed the Barrack Obama administration for backing India’s bid for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Aziz made clear that that Islamabad would never accept Washington’s foreign policy.
A day after Indian and American officials signed agreements to boost bilateral security and defence co-operation in the presence of Prime Minister Modi and President Obama, Aziz said: “The US approaches Pakistan whenever it needs it and abandons it when it does not need Islamabad. Pakistan will convey its concerns to the US over the latest issues in the bilateral ties.”
As Pakistan was scheduled to hold a high-level meeting with the US on Friday in Islamabad, the PM’s adviser stressed that Islamabad would firmly convey to the US that maintaining effective nuclear deterrence was critical for Pakistan’s security. “Only Islamabad can determine how it should respond to growing strategic imbalance in South Asia,” he told the press. At the same time, Aziz stressed that Islamabad was ready for cordial relations with other countries, including India.
Aziz issued the statement, as Pakistan stepped up its diplomatic outreach among members of the NSG in a bid to stall India’s chances of gaining membership to the 48-member Group. Earlier on Wednesday, UN Desk of the Pakistani Foreign Ministry held a briefing in Islamabad for diplomatic missions of NSG member-countries to put forward its argument against India’s membership and to push for its own entry to the elite group. At the meeting, Pakistani officials warned that country-specific exemptions could negatively impact strategic stability in South Asia.
While India’s NSG membership bid is being backed by several major NSG members (including the US), China is backing Pakistan’s bid. Beijing argues that if India, a non-signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is given membership, then Pakistan, too, should be taken on board.
Meanwhile, the Indian media have said that Pakistan fails to match Prime Minister Modi because of its anachronistic identity. They are of the opinion that Pakistan has made a mistake by keeping itself a prisoner of the past. The Indian media have also advised Islamabad to rise through the ranks just as the post-liberalisation India has done in the last 25 years.