Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahif Khaqan Abbasi on 8 October, made a statement in public that the days Pakistan depending on the US were over. In the last few weeks, one could notice a high level of rhetoric in the Pakistani media; while some have been asking for a reset in US-Pak relations, majority have been asking for Islamabad sending a strong message to the US.
Is the Prime Minister, playing to a local crowd, or is he signaling to the US? Can Pakistan afford to look beyond the US? Obviously, there is a new confidence for Pakistan; where does it come from?
The Prime Minister also have stated: “If one source dries up, we have no option but to go to another source…We have major US weapons systems in our military, but we’ve also diversified. We have Chinese and European systems. Recently, for the first time we inducted Russian attack helicopters.”
Perhaps, there is a conscious effort inside Pakistan to diversify their defence purchases. It needs a larger analysis to find out on the patterns of Pakistan’s defence procurement and whether there has been a substantial change in the pattern, which would give the above confidence to Pakistan. Just buying few attack helicopters does not mean, there is a larger defence partnership between Pakistan and Russia.
Or, is Abbasi signaling to the US? There have been reports already that the high level US officials are coming to Pakistan later this month to deliver a tough message. Perhaps, the statement is aimed at upsetting the American threat and tell them – don’t push us, for we have others.
But, for Pakistan, where does this confidence come from? Does the CPEC and the growing China-Pakistan relations would substitute for Pakistan’s dependence on the US. If it does, what would that mean? This also needs a larger analysis from an Indian perspective.
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