Pakistani Foreign Policy: Non-Alignment and India

In general, Pakistan has attempted to portray a policy of non-alignment. However, this policy of non-alignment has occasionally resulted in a lack of outside assistance. During the Cold War, for example, Pakistani Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan pursued a policy of non-alignment with either the Soviet Union or the U.S. This ultimately resulted in both nations ignoring Pakistan at a time when Pakistan was in great need of international assistance.

Again in the 1970’s Pakistan shunned foreign involvement. President Zulfikar Bhutto left both the Commonwealth of Nations and SEATO during his rule. Bhutto also chose to recognize Communist nations such as East Germany, North Korea, and North Vietnam while other nations did not recognize these Communist sovereignties.

While Pakistan generally remains isolationist or neutral towards the world powers, an aggressive foreign policy has been pursued against India (click here for more information about Pakistani wars against India). In fact Pakistan’s post-independence foreign policy is centered on a perceived need to protect itself from India, the stronger, wealthier, better-connected nation on its doorstep. In summation, Pakistan’s foreign policy decisions are driven by one of three things: defense or aggression concerning India, a desire to remain non-aligned, or the need of international assistance. For most Pakistani leaders international alliances were not a priority.

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