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Promising trajectory in Pakistan-US relations

Nothing dramatic was expected to happen, nor did it happen; yet Pak-US relationship has got a fresh impetus—courtesy Nawaz-Obama summit. It has come out of a vicious cycle of blame game and attendant negativities. The continuing volatility in the security situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s battles with the terrorists, and its relations with India were broadly the three topics that dominated the discussions. Disruptive speculation triggered by American media about a nuclear deal with the US, in exchange for Pakistan limiting its nuclear weapons programme died its own death.During the last 2-3 years, Pakistan has witnessed several positive developments domestically, democracy has strengthened; terrorism is being combated; the economy has stabilized and is poised for rapid growth. Yet, it still faces external challenges: to pacify Afghanistan and normalize relations with India. Pakistan has made a strategic choice to eliminate all terrorist groups through a comprehensive strategy, involving forceful law enforcement actions and targeted military operations. Military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, launched in June 2014, the largest anywhere in the world, has produced remarkable results. The past year has seen the lowest number of terrorist attacks and suicide bombings since 2007. These indicators enabled the PM to play a comparatively firm hand. Pakistan-US Joint Statement is reflective of a higher degree of US sensitivity to Pakistani concerns, setting direction for the coming years. It also indicates a broad continuity in the US policy in South Asia.

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