Subsequently, US Vice President Mike Pence had, in a surprise visit to Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase on Dec 22, warned that Trump has
“put Pakistan on notice” in what was the harshest US warning to Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war over 16 years ago.
Putting all speculations to rest, the White House has now confirmed suspending $255 million
of military aid to Pakistan, a move seen as the first step to implementing Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan. A bitter Pakistan has cried foul and its iron brother has once again jumped for its rescue by supporting Pakistan’s
fight against terror.
Does India gain from worsening US-Pak relations?
While the cut in military aid will benefit India directly as it has accused Pakistan of using military aid against it; the worsened relations will force Pakistan to be totally dependent on China. Perhaps
China also wants it to happen and Chinese reactions to US statements also point in this direction. However, till now China has only supported Pakistan’s role against fighting terror through statements and not gone beyond it by providing alternative to
US military aid, if it really means what it preaches. Whether China comes forward to fill the vacuum created by denial of military aid by the US, will certainly be an interesting event to watch.
China certainly does not want US presence in Afghanistan as it affects China’s ambitious OBOR.
Militarization of OBOR owing to threat from terrorists at some point of time in future will put both the countries face to face. As of now, it appears to be in the interest of China to strengthen Pakistan’s fight against bad terror(Pakistan Taliban)
while supporting good terror (Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network) to continuously engage the US in Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan, therefore, is unlikely to be better as per US liking, owing to China’s long term interests in the theatre.