LAHORE / LAHORE: Pakistan needs to broaden its support with the US, and offer business incentives similar to those being extended to China, stated a report issued on Monday by the Institute for Policy Reforms, a think-tank based in Islamabad.
The report compiled by the IPR with support from renowned Washington think-tank, the United States Institute of Peace, also stresses that both countries need each other and should cooperate in the areas of the economy and security.
For its study, the IPR interviewed 60 experts including current and former senior policymakers, representing key constituencies in the security and foreign policy space.
“With the relationship under strain, and diplomatic and other contacts limited, there is a need for both sides to understand each other’s perceptions and interests,” states the report.
“Within its moderate expectations from the US, Pakistan should rebuild security and economic cooperation. By offering US businesses incentives at par with those given to China, it should try to broaden its support.
“Pakistan must reassure USA that its partnership with China does not preclude other alliances.”
Pakistan has conflicting foreign policy goals as its stated vision is to become a trade and transit hub for the region, yet its fixation with its neighbour conflicts with this vision. Many participants said that improved relations with India would allow Pakistan to modify its policies. Two things come in the way of improving relations with India – lack of trust between the two countries and India’s new-found confidence that make it a demanding interlocutor. Consequently, third country mediation is a practical way forward.
“Pakistan’s policy making structure needs to change. The country has no agreed national security strategy. Elected leadership has not played its role in this regard. In addition, economic weakness compromises national security and Pakistan must reduce economic dependence on other countries,” the report added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2018.