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Don't be warrior nation or China pawn: ex-envoy Haqqani to Pak

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

should become a "trading nation rather than a warrior nation" while ensuring it does not turn into China's pawn, Islamabad's former to the US, Haqqani, has said.

In an interview to PTI, said also needs to take a call on what is more important supporting terror suspect or gaining international credibility and respect.

Amid the consolidation of the already-robust Sino-Pak ties, Haqqani, who served as to the US from 2008 to 2011, stressed should not go from being dependent on the US to relying on and must refrain from becoming a "Chinese pawn".

Pakistan needs to build a self-sustaining economy, he said, warning of the pitfalls of aligning with a major power.

Haqqani, who was in last week for the launch of his new book 'Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State', said the country needs to "re-think its overall direction", including in the economic sector.

Pakistan should become a "trading nation rather than a warrior nation" and start thinking about geo-economics rather than geo strategy, said the 61-year-old former and author of 'and Military' and 'v Pakistan: Why Can't We Just Be Friends?', among other books.

"Trying to take advantage of its strategic location by allowing itself to be used by one major power or another has brought Pakistan to the present situation and if we continue to play the same game, the result is not going to be very different in the future, he said.

While should seek good relations with Beijing, "there is no reason why Pakistan should become a Chinese pawn in the mistaken belief" that this would somehow make it a power in its own right, he said when asked if Pakistan's dependence on could prove counterproductive.

His remarks assume significance as in January, the US had suspended more than USD 1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan, accusing it of harbouring such as the Afghan and Afghan group Network.

After US had lashed out at Pakistan earlier this year for providing "safe havens" to terrorists, had defended Islamabad, saying the world community should acknowledge its all-weather ally's "outstanding contribution" to counter terrorism.

Asked if America's tougher stance against terror would push into a robust military alliance with Beijing, said the more and came close, the more Pakistan would try to strengthen its ties with China.

"But, for Pakistan's own sake, it would be useful to have relationships with multiple partners. Dependence on the US did not prove useful for Pakistan in the 50s and 60s; dependence on China will not necessarily be the key to Pakistan's progress in the 21st century," said Haqqani, who lives in the US, where he is Senior Fellow and for South and at the Washington-based

Haqqani was removed as Pakistan's to the US for his alleged role in what is known as the Memogate controversy, which revolved around a memorandum seeking help from the after the killing of to avert a military takeover of the civilian government in his country.

Asked if the suspension of American aid had brought about a change in Pakistan's attitude, Haqqani said the establishment had not changed its world view and was still hoping that logistical and other considerations would make the soften its stance.

On the possibility of power blocs being formed in the region, he said a "new Cold War" in which Pakistan aligns with China and India with the was not going to be positive for

"I think that aligning with one major power against another is not the recipe for economic growth and success for a country like Pakistan," said Haqqani, who also served as the Pakistani to from 1992 to 1993.

The former diplomat, who is often critical of the Pakistani military, rued that the power structure in the country had not changed fundamentally and national security and foreign policy remained in the hands of the

Pakistan has made distinctions between that have acted against it and those that have acted outside the country, and that distinction had not worked to its advantage, he said.

Islamabad's insistence on "mainstreaming terrorists" rather than marginalising them was going to be counter-productive for the country, he held.

Haqqani also said the issue could be put on the back burner to build normal Indo-Pak relations.

"It is also a reality that the problem of has not been solved in 70 years. And if Pakistan insists on solving the problem before moving forward on normal relations with India, then it may have to wait for another 70 years," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, April 15 2018. 12:40 IST