U.S. established its diplomatic relations with Pakistan for the first time in 1949 during ‘Eisenhower’ administration. America agreed to provide economic and military assistance to Pakistan and latter’s partnership in ‘Baghdad Pact’ during this regime. At that time, Pakistan was so close to America that it was called ‘US’s most allied ally’ in Asia. US began to supply arms to Pakistan in 1954 and continued till 1965.Also, the threat of N. Khrushchev, the Soviet leader in 1960 to annihilate the nuclear arms of Pakistan affected the US-Pak relations.
Gradually, US again restored arms sales to Pakistan in 1975 but then cut-off economic assistance under US “Foreign Assistance Act” due to Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 proved to be another milestone in heavy US aid to Pakistan, being the common interest of Pakistan and US in South Asia. In 1981, US agreed for 3.2 billion dollar military and economic assistance to Pakistan’s armory for conducting the worst operation which eventually defeated the Soviet’s in 1988. US congress again added 4 million dollar for economic development and security assistance package to Pakistan in1986, but in 1990, the US suspended military assistance/economic aid to Pakistan under ‘Pressler’ amendment’ which required the President of US to certify that Pakistan doesn’t possess nuclear explosive device.
Again in 1998, the renewed US interest into Pakistan during Clinton administration was strengthened in view of India’s decision to conduct nuclear test in May 1998. Pakistan’s matching response to nuclear tests conducted by India, although called for another sanction by US but, later the intensive dialogue between Deputy Secretary Talbott (US) and Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed (Pakistan) waived off the sanction to some extent but in October 1999, Pakistan was kept under another sanction by US under section 508 of ‘Foreign Appropriation Act’. However the turning point in this scenario was 9/11 due to which Pakistan moved decisively to ally itself with the US in its war against Osama-bin-laden and Al-Qaeda.
In bargain to provide the US many military airports and bases for its attack on Afghanistan and arrests of over 500 Al-Qaeda operatives, Pakistan had been lavishly getting appreciation from US. Although the economic and military assistance has been flowing from US to Pakistan, the huge amount of such aid has been misappropriated by Pakistan aimed to fight against India. Pakistan received 9 million American dollars after 9/11 incident, 4.2 billion dollars in 2003 to purchase advanced American military technology and further in May 2006, Bush announced major sale of missiles to Pakistan costing 370 million US dollars.
The recent Taliban’s upsurge in Pakistan particularly in SWAT, FATA, Waziristan and in close vicinity of Rawalpindi, Lahore and Islamabad has caused some concern to US authority but after visit of Asif Ali Zardari to America, this issue has been cooling off recently. US Ambassador to Pakistan has again reacted about US commitment to assist Pakistan government in the areas of development, stability and security and has also announced 8.4 million dollar aid to address Pakistan’s food crisis.
However, the Pentagon has confirmed one of South Asia’s worst kept secrets that, Pakistan has used billions of dollars of the US aid to buy a mind-boggling array of conventional American Weaponry to use against India which was meant for Pakistan to fight the war on terror. India has repeatedly pointed out that much of military hardware of Pakistan’s shopping list was not suited to anti-terror operations by Pakistan. Pentagon has also revealed that even the pouring aid to Pakistan by Bush after 9/11 to fight Al-Qaeda was used to develop offensive capabilities against India. This was on its peak between 2002-2009.
Even acquisition of anti-tank missiles to F16’s by Pakistan was meant to blunt India’s edge in conventional weaponry. Such gestures by US authorities in favor of Pakistan has become a cause of great concern to India particularly in view of Pakistan’s fragile democracy, upsurge of Al-Qaeda, Pakistan’s nuclear capability and bad experience between both the countries during past 60 years. US may have got its compulsion to appease Pakistan due to its war against Al-Qaeda but it should also be equally concerned about the balance of power in South Asia particularly arms race between the two nuclear power nations.