Understanding Pakistan Project Team September 6th, 2007
By: Athar Osama
Ever since its creation, Pakistan’s national security challenges, primarily a threat from India, had occupied the minds of its defense and foreign policy planners. Just months after the country’s creation, a war broke out with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. A day after its founder—Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah—passed away, India invaded the independent state of Hyderabad and annexed it with brutal force. Nothing it seemed was safe from Indian designs and the Indian leaders had made it amply clear that they would like the renegade Pakistan to return back to Mother India. (Figure: President Ayub Khan with Mrs. Kennedy during their visit to Pakistan. Foreign Minister Bhutto is seen in the background).
Pakistan’s Search for Security through Western Alliances
In this age of extreme paranoia—based on a fear that was justifiable or not—Pakistan’s leaders began looking for defense alliances, primarily with Western countries, to seek some level of comfort and security for its defense needs. The military had always been a pro-Western factor in Pakistan’s politics. The forces have been heavily dependent on foreign military trade and aid for their hardware and training needs respectively. In the initial years of the country’s independence, Britain provided some additional military hardware to stuff Pakistan’s virtually empty military arsenals. Britain, however, was not willing to meet all the defense procurement needs of the new country for it was also on friendly terms with India as well. During the late 1950s, therefore, there was a sharp switch towards a pro-America stance in Pakistan’s foreign in national security policy. Pakistan Army’s defense needs led this movement while the Airforce and Navy largely remained dependent on Britain and France for their weaponry.