On Sunday, US President Donald Trump defended his administration’s decision to cut aid to Pakistan, saying the country does not do “a damn thing” for the United States. Trump has slammed Pakistan for not doing anything despite receiving aid from America.
In September, the Trump administration cancelled USD 300 million in military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups active on its soil. The relations between the two countries have soured after Donald Trump assumed power in the US. The US administration has suspended nearly USD 2 billion in military aid to Pakistan this year. Pakistan has misused the American help by supporting and allowing terrorism to prosper on its soil. On Sunday, in an interview with Fox news, Trump said, “We were giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore; by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, and they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
In August 2017, Trump had said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.”
United States is in favour of stable and democratic government in Afghanistan which may serve as a partner in the global war against terror but Pakistan maintains a view that only its Islamist groups can bring peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan considers the instability in Afghanistan crucial for its national security interest.
A reduction or even a complete halt in US aid to Pakistan is not likely to allow Washington to overcome the basic problem in the relationship. Earlier Bush administration created space for Pervez Musharraf in the hope that it will change Pakistan’s behavior. The Obama administration had taken ‘more for more’ approach for Pakistan and provided USD 7.5 billion in aid for economic and social programs in addition to military aid in bid to evoke greater cooperation. So, the decision from Trump administration to stop aid is a welcome development for the countries prone to Pakistan sponsored terrorism.
This reaction from US comes at a time when Pakistan finds itself entirely isolated and is on the verge of collapse. The country grapples with a financial crisis with the current balance of payments crisis being the third consecutive in 10 years . There are apprehensions in Pakistan against the growing Chinese influence. World Community seems to be wary of the Chinese ‘debt trap diplomacy’. There has been uproar in Pakistan after the new government raised questions over the previous governments’ dealing with China. This recent Pakistani posture has certainly not gone well with China. Imran Khan’s recent visit to China, in order to ask for financial assistance to manage ‘balance of payments’ crisis, turned out to be an unsuccessful one. Chinese haven’t confirmed their help to Pakistan yet. It seems that their ‘all weather friendship’ is set to go under some new transformation.
After the United States stopped its aid, the debt-ridden nation is only left with the option of Chinese help. Going by the Chinese way, Pakistan could lose the sovereign status to China as Sri Lanka seems to have done by leasing its port for 99 years.
On the other hand, recent talks between India and the United States speak volumes about the growing partnership between both these nations. American trust for India has increased to a new level with India emerging as a major partner of the US. Trump in a recent Diwali celebration at the White House called India a ‘very good negotiator’. All these developments will start a new chapter in the Indo-Pacific region.