Changing US Priorities in South Asia: Challenge for Pakistan’s Foreign Policy


  • Saman Zulfqar Lecturer at the Department of International Relations, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi


Pakistan-US, strategic competition, counterterrorism, strategic partnership


While they span seven decades, Pakistan-US relations lack a bilateral
context, with the role of third states being a defining factor in shaping
their bilateral ties. Over the years, both states have undergone three
phases of engagements, while also experiencing irritants in their
relationship; yet somehow, the relationship continued to survive. The postCold War era has witnessed the evolving strategic priorities of the US in
different regions, particularly in South Asia. At present, US policy in the
region is influenced by its strategic competition with China as well as by
its counter-terrorism concerns vis-à-vis Taliban-led Afghanistan. In this
regard, the US has been forming and strengthening the existing bilateral
and multilateral regional arrangements. The most challenging of these
developments has been the India‒US strategic partnership that has farreaching consequences for Pakistan. This article focusses on highlighting
three triangular relationships: those between the US and India, the US
and China, and the US and Afghanistan and their implications for
Pakistan-US relations.