The United States “needs Pakistan more than the latter needs America”, a former US ambassador to India said on Tuesday.
“We tend to need Pakistan more than Pakistan needs us. That’s the current dilemma, because in many ways the US is utterly dependent on Pakistan for logistical access to Afghanistan,” former US Ambassador to India, Thomas Pickering, told the National Bureau of Asian Research, a Washington-based think tank in an interview.
“In some respects this situation is paradoxical, because in my own view the US is in Afghanistan more to avoid destabilising Pakistan than for almost any other reason. It is utterly strange that at the same time that we are in Afghanistan trying to help Pakistan, the Pakistanis see our struggle against the Afghan Taliban as a struggle against erstwhile allies,” Pickering said.
On the one hand, India is flattered, or was in the past, by the notion that the US sees it as the largest and most significant power in South Asia, while Pakistan finds that view utterly reprehensible, he said.
“Pakistanis would like American aspirations and interests in the region to afford them a position of full equality. To some extent, that went the way of the past with President Clinton. Now with Afghanistan, the trappings of a US-Pakistan relationship are causing some degree of heartburn in India.”