Can the US deliver on the Strategic Partnership?

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The US and Pakistan will begin a new strategic dialogue next week.There is apprehension and a lot of hope on the side of the Pakistanis.They believe that they can leverage Afghanistan to get parity with Bharat (aka India) and commence a new chapter in US Pakistani relations. The Pakistani list of demands concentrates on Nuclear Technology, arms for the military, trade access, and financial assistance. Pakistan also wants the US to help resolve Kashmir and reduce the Bharati influence in Afghanistan.

Qureshi said the Pakistani foreign minister and US secretary of state should meet annually and the Pakistani foreign secretary and US regional envoy Richard Holbrooke should hold talks twice a year.

“I am also proposing 10 tracks of sectoral engagements in economy:

  1. energy,
  2. defence,
  3. education,
  4. science and technology,
  5. counter-terrorism
  6. strategic stability and non proliferation,
  7. health,
  8. communication,
  9. agriculture and
  10. public diplomacy,”

He said his engagements in Washington would “contribute to a better understanding of each other’s position. We expect the US to understand our concerns both in the realm of security and economic development.” AFP

Pakistan’s ace in the hole is an agreement with Iran, and all the neighbors of Afghanistan. Thus, this is not just a return to the 90s when Iran, and Pakistan were at odds fighting for the same space. This time around, Iran, and Turkey have already created a consensus with Pakistan. Iran and China also supported the London Conference decisions–dialogue with the Taliban, and anointment of Pakistan as a broker of peace in Kabul. Chagrined Bharat is looking at options to withdraw completely from Kabul. Bharat’s retreat from Kabul is inevitable, and Bharat will have to do it before 2011.

.. there were a number of differences between Pakistan and the United States and that while Pakistan had already done too much it was now time for the US to do more as well.

He stressed the need for financial assistance for development, poverty alleviation and prosperity in the country…FM Shah Mehmud Qureshi

The US will surely force Pakistan to take more assertive actions against the ephemeral Al-Qaeda and the “Taliban”.

ISLAMABAD: In a qualitative difference in Pakistan’s approach to the United States, Islamabad will, at the renewed Strategic Dialogue with Washington, seek ‘tangible deliverances’ particularly on its strategic concerns and wouldn’t settle for short-term relief measures.
The fourth round of the Strategic Dialogue on March 24, being dubbed by Pakistan’s foreign policy gurus as the ‘renewed process’, is expected to be one of the most intense diplomatic engagements the two countries had in the recent past.

Major politico-security stakeholders, including several federal ministers, army chief, director-general of ISI, and a number of federal secretaries will leave for Washington on Saturday to attend the meeting. The US representation at the dialogue, upgraded to ministerial level, will be equally strong. The team will be headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Other members will be National Security Adviser James Jones, Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and a number of other top officials of the Obama administration.

The level of participation by both sides, analysts believe, is indicative of the desire of Islamabad and Washington to give a new meaning to their bilateral relations hitherto marred by trust deficit. Dawn

“This round is going to determine the future of Pakistan’s relations with the United States,” a top official told Dawn, after attending one of the preparatory sessions aimed at developing a unified perspective among the country’s state organs for this engagement with Washington.

Pakistan is often referred to by Washington as a ‘key regional player’ and a ‘major non-Nato ally’ with whom it eyed a ‘long-term engagement’, but it is probably the first time that Islamabad’s strategists are feeling that the time has come to tell Washington to move on from symbolism and concretely address Pakistan’s core security concerns and its immediate economic needs.

Among the issues on which Islamabad desires solid assurances are protection of its legitimate interests in Afghanistan; normalisation of relations with India, including resolution of the Kashmir issue; end to instability in Balochistan; accepting Pakistan as a declared nuclear weapons state and thereby quashing all rumours that the US was secretly working to defang the country.

On Pakistan’s wish-list is also a strong desire for civilian nuclear cooperation on the pattern of India-US deal. Although Pakistan primarily wants nuclear cooperation to meet its growing energy needs, the issue has a political connotation also because Islamabad doesn’t want to see itself discriminated against and at a disadvantage vis-à-vis India.

Qureshi said the Pakistani foreign minister and US secretary of state should meet annually and the Pakistani foreign secretary and US regional envoy Richard Holbrooke should hold talks twice a year.

“I am also proposing 10 tracks of sectoral engagements in economy, energy, defence, education, science and technology, counter-terrorism strategic stability and non proliferation, health, communication, agriculture and public diplomacy,” said Qureshi.

He said his engagements in Washington would “contribute to a better understanding of each other’s position. We expect the US to understand our concerns both in the realm of security and economic development.”

Strong emphasis from the Pakistani side, senior diplomats at the Foreign Office say, is also expected on market access for its products to US and economic assistance at the dialogue, which now includes new strands like strategic stability, security, public diplomacy and health.

The Pakistani contingent will specifically tell the American interlocutors that the economic assistance needed to be fast tracked to arrest the economic decline believed to have been worsened because of the war on terror. The disbursement of Coalition Support Fund, a mechanism for repaying expenses incurred by Pakistan for supporting US counter-terrorism operations, has been sluggish and so has been the release of funds under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act. Only $400 million has so far been released under the aid legislation enacted last year.

US tells Delhi to back off Pakistan and lay low in Afghanistan. All countries are working on peace in Kabul–except one. Bharat has consistently managed to aggravate each and every one its neighbors, Nepal, Lanka, China, Maldives, Sikkim, Bhutan and Pakistan. Even Bangladesh is extremely angry with Delhi ton immigration, on the Border Security force, and for Bharat’s illegal support for the terrorist among the Chittagong Hill Tracks.
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London forum discarded India’s ‘greater’ Afghan role: Qureshi

* World accepts Islamabad’s stance that ‘Af-Pak’ policy not applicable to Pakistan
* Must engage elements willing to disarm

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

LONDON: Afghanistan’s six immediate neighbours, as well as China and Russia (six-plus-two), feel no need for a “greater Indian role” in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday.

Addressing a news conference at the Pakistan High Commission, Qureshi said the international community participating in the London Conference on Afghanistan had accepted Islamabad’s stance that a joint Pak-Afghan policy was no longer applicable to Pakistan, as both countries had their own distinct outlooks.He said the conference addressed Pakistan’s concerns regarding Afghanistan.

Af-Pak policy: “So this Af-Pak terminology was a mistake. We are two different countries with different levels of development. Our institutions and their capacities are different and today there was a clear departure from Af-Pak,” the foreign minister said. He said the conference also rejected new regional structure as advocated by certain elements.

Pakistan, Qureshi said, was of the opinion that the existing mechanisms in place were adequate and working well, and there was no need for new regional architecture. The foreign minister said as India had no border with Afghanistan, it did not fit into the scheme of things though it may continue to play a role in assisting development in Afghanistan. “We conveyed our point of view to Turkey in the trilateral and regional meetings held recently, we made our point loud and clear. In our interaction with various countries, we expressed our concern and today our point of view was understood and incorporated. The Afghan president and other important countries were of the view that there was no need for the new structure in the region.”

Engagement: Qureshi said Pakistan had been advocating that the international community would have to engage with elements willing to lay down arms and willing to shun violence. The international community, he added, endorsed this point of view. Qureshi said the Pakistani government had been pursuing a policy of dialogue, deterrence and development and the international community supported the point of view.

“So in many ways this conference was productive from Pakistan’s point of view,” he stressed. To a question, the foreign minister said Pakistan wanted the reconciliation and reintegration process to be “Afghan­owned and Afghan-led”, adding that President Hamid Karzai had asked Pakistan to help facilitate the reconciliation process with the Taliban.

“It is for the Afghans to take the lead and tell us what they want from us. We feel that stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan,” he said. Regarding the Saudi King Abdullah’s role in the reconciliation process, Qureshi said Saudi Arabia had historic links with Afghanistan and was an important country that could play a productive role in this regard. He mentioned that during his meetings with his counterparts from Malaysia and Indonesia, it was agreed that Muslim countries could a play a proactive role in Afghanistan along with Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Qureshi said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband had stood by Pakistan at the London Conference. app

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