US and Pak harden stand against each other

US and Pak harden stand against each other

The US legislative amendment calls for "imposing graduated diplomatic, military, and economic costs on Pakistan as long as it continues to provide support and sanctuary to terrorist and insurgent groups, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network. "It calls for simultaneously outlining the potential benefits of a long-term United States-Pakistan strategic partnership that could result from the cessation by Pakistan of support for all terrorist and insurgent groups and constructive role in bringing about a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Moving through the Senate

Moved on the Senate floor on Thursday, the amendment also calls for intensifying America's regional diplomatic efforts working through flexible frameworks for regional dialogue together with Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and other nations to promote political reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The move is also aimed towards advance regional cooperation on issues such as border security, intelligence sharing, counter-narcotics, transportation, and trade to reduce mistrust and build confidence among regional states. The McCain amendment proposes strict conditioning of American economic, and governance assistance programs for Afghanistan upon measurable progress in achieving joint United States-Afghanistan benchmarks for implementing necessary institutional reforms, especially those related to anti- corruption, financial transparency, and the rule of law.

Pakistan stands up to the US

Days after the Pentagon announced it is withholding $50 million intended for Pakistan as part of its Coalition Support Fund, the South Asian country's ambassador hinted at potential retaliation, possibly coaxing Washington to negotiate access to the country's air corridors, which Islamabad suggests have been taken for granted.

Pakistan is ready to cooperate with the United States, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said, though Washington may now end up having to negotiate with Islamabad on the corridors and other tangible assets, he added.

US-Pakistan vs. China-Pakistan

Chaudhry indicated in an interview with VOA that Islamabad had grown accustomed to having to negotiate with Washington.

"These and all other issues are always negotiated, because that's in the nature of the business" between allies, he said. By contrast, he pointed to Pakistan's "unique" relationship with China, the top strategic rival to the U.S. in Asia.

Islamabad sees Beijing as its closest ally, he added, and the two countries find themselves completely attuned. There is "so much of a meeting of minds," he noted — with no "policy differences at all" dividing them.

Chaudhry told VOA "the clearest example and manifestation" of Sino-Pakistan ties has come in the form of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, stretching 3,000 kilometers from Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region to the port city of Gwadar, at the southwestern end of Pakistan on the edge of the Arabian Sea.

Realignments in the region

The reality is that there are re-alignments in the region unfolding. As the US gets closely aligned with India, Pakistan is strengthening ties with China and Russia. Pakistan finds itself encircled by India. So it is best served by encircling India with China. The Russians are defence suppliers and even though Pakistan fought them out of Afghanistan with the help of Americans in the 70's, today they see that they are best served to partner with them.

Time to understand the new lines of engagement and move forward with them.

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