The recent events of Ukraine and Crimea have not only raised alarm in Europe and North America, but have also increased worries in other regions on what the change implies for them. On the other hand, President Putin has thanked China and India for their understanding on the Ukraine crisis. Both China and India have refrained from criticizing Russia directly and have not backed moves to impose sanctions.
As US withdraws from Afghanistan, plus the shift in NATO’s attention towards Europe, has escalated concerns that US may start to cut aid to Pakistan. Then came the news last week that US has decided to shift $10 million from the $1.5 billion Kerry-Lugar-Berman annual fund meant for Pakistan, to support and expand Ukrainian, Balkan, Russian, and Tatar language services of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and Voice of America. This development also raised questions regarding the state of US-Pakistan ties, which have gone through a rough patch and are only beginning to get steady.
The Director for Strategic Initiatives at PoliTact, Dr. Claude Rakisits commented on Geo News that this move will not have a significant impact on the ties. He added that the transfer of funds from one bucket to the other actually demonstrates that the relations between the two nations have been going quiet well, a point validated by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani. Furthermore, the US government has not given much credence to the allegations made in the new book by The New York Times correspondent Carlotta Gall that ISI knew about the presence of Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad. After the US withdrawal from Afghanistan this year, the US reliance on Pakistan is only likely to increase.
Meanwhile, China seems to be speeding up its pivot to Europe by building business ties. President Xi Jinping completed his 11-day trip to Europe on April 1. “The relationship between China and the EU has become one of the most important financial relationships in the world,” Xi stated. During his trip of Europe, China sealed 50 deals with the total value of 18 billion Euros ($25 billion).
In addition to the flux in the Middle East, PoliTact is monitoring the evolving European situation closely and to decipher what it means for the South Asian dynamics.