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Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Trends and Challenges

Sumita Kumar is Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • IDSA Occasional Paper No. 54
    2019

    Pakistan's most critical foreign policy concerns in the last few years relate to the deadlock in relations with India and India's success in isolating Pakistan regionally and internationally due to its support for terrorism. The success of its peace overtures to Afghanistan are constrained by various complexities arising out of the unpredictable situation in Afghanistan and the role of external powers like the US, China and Russia in the ongoing peace process. It has felt the impact of US dissatisfaction with its role in the war on terror with a reduction in economic assistance and security related aid and though it would like to believe that it can function independent of US patronage, it has discovered that it may not be easy to do so given the latter's diplomatic outreach and clout in international financial institutions. While Pakistan has continued to rely on China for diplomatic and economic gain, it will have to figure out how to maintain its sovereignty and strategic autonomy vis-à-vis China. Pakistan's relations with Russia have improved considerably given a convergence of interests, yet the extent to which this will expand Pakistan's strategic options remains to be seen. This paper explores such trends in Pakistan's relations with important countries and challenges it faces in the formulation of its foreign policy.

    About the Author

    Ms. Sumita Kumar is Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. She specialises on South Asian security issues with a focus on Pakistan. Her research publications have covered a diverse range of issues concerning Pakistan's foreign policy, internal politics and security, energy security, economy and role in regional cooperation. She has published chapters in books and articles in journals published in India and abroad, as well as the Indian media. Her publications include an edited book on Stability and Growth in South Asia, (IDSA & Pentagon Press, 2014) and a co-edited book titled India's Neighbourhood: Challenges Ahead, (IDSA & Rubicon Publishers, 2008).

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