Trump clamps down over Pakistan-cancels IMET

Trump administration has started to clamp down on Pakistan beginning with chopping down coveted training and other educational programmes of Pakistani officers. Latter has been a notable part of the bilateral military ties between the two allies for over a decade and is thus seen as a first significant impact of the suspension of military aid to Pakistan, which is being done to force Pakistan to act tough on Islamic terrorists who have taken a safe refuge in Pakistan.

The move has been criticized as it can be a great hit to an important trust-building measure, although the military from both Pentagon and Pakistan have not given any official reaction to the same. Pakistani officials have stated that the move can serve as enough reason for Pakistan to look towards China or Russia for military training in leadership.

The announcement to cut the International Military Education and Training Program will lead to closure of other places which have been separately kept for 66 officers from Pakistan. The value of the cancellations nears $2.41 million. The cancellations have also brought uncertainty over the kind of military cooperation which will be retained between the two nations especially minus the IMET programme other than maintenance of contacts between top-level military personnel from both sides.

US Army has always kept IMET out of preview of political sphere as it always stood by the principle that ties which are built by training of foreign military officers usually pay long-term returns. The current cancellations have also taken off Pakistan from US Naval War College and Naval Staff College.

Pakistani Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee has stated that the cancellations will push Pakistani army to look for such ventures with other countries and thus be highly detrimental to mutual ties. Pakistan had already signed an agreement with Russia last week for training of Pakistani military officers in Russia. IMET partnership programs have not been touched even when the US and Pakistan went through poor relations in the past apart from when H.W. Bush administration had touched it by triggering the Pressler Amendment which involved scraping off all military assistance.

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