Strategic dialogue: Pak looking to take maximum advantage of their moment in the sun

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Washington, Mar.24 (ANI): The United States and Pakistan have had a history of "trust deficit". However, in the recent past things have improved considerably with President Obama offering huge monetary and military assistance to Islamabad. It is this change that Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his team of officials would like to exploit during the strategic talks.

US officials, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said that while the Pakistani leadership has responded to America's overtures by taking on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda with full force in ungoverned tribal regions, it is also well aware of the fact that the partnership is prone to suspicion and things can change with the US pulling out of the region.

"The Pakistanis are not stupid. They know this is not China or Taiwan or India, where we have a long-run business investment driving the partnership. We have a war and we need them. They are suspicious that we're going to leave. But they also want to take maximum advantage of their moment in the sun," The Washington Post quoted a US official, as saying.

Analysts also believe that Pakistan's approach during the first ministerial-level strategic talks with the US would that of to protect its own interest, as there is a feeling among both the Pakistani political and military leadership that the US may vacate the region leaving Islamabad in the lurch.

"There is a sort of panic in Pakistan that the endgame may be earlier than Pakistan had thought, and that Pakistan isn't positioned well at all to protect its own interests," said Tanvir Ahmad Khan, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

Khan, who had also served as Pakistan's Foreign Secretary, also underlined that if Pakistani officials fail to get their demands fulfilled during the strategic dialogue and come back with little to show, their strategy to hype about what the White House owes to Islamabad would backfire resulting in massive public dissent.

"The outcome cannot possibly conform to what the Pakistanis have been led to think," Khan said. (ANI)

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