The U.S.–Pakistan Dialogue

Commentary | October 21, 2010

Writing for The News, EWI Director Ikram Sehgal anticipates the third round of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, which began in Washington on October 20 with an assessment of the countries’ relationship.

Sehgal, who found the last round of talks “pragmatic and even-handed,” highlights current areas of concern. In particular, he calls for a reevaluation of the aid that the United States has directed to Pakistan, asserting that “comparatively Afghanistan gets far more for doing far less.” According to Sehgal, the United States should bolster Pakistan’s economy through policies, like permitting market access for Pakistani cotton textiles, and with financial support for infrastructural projects (like dams and power plants) and job creation.

Turning to the military aspect of the bilateral relationship, Sehgal applauds Pakistan’s successful counterinsurgency operations and encourages the creation of a full-fledged counter terrorist force.

He calls upon the United States to replace its criticism of Pakistan’s military efforts with a substantive show of support, chiefly through a long-denied nuclear energy deal. And the United States must demonstrate real, disinterested concern for the Pakistani people: “The people of Pakistan must gain confidence that the U.S. is genuine about sustaining a meaningful long-term relationship.”

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