Courtesy Reuters


IT is nearly ten years since Pakistan became an ally of the West. In May 1954, Pakistan signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the United States. Later in that year it became a member of SEATO along with the United States, Britain, France, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. A year later, it joined the Baghdad Pact, another mutual defense organization, with Britain, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. The United States has not joined this organization, but has remained closely associated with it since its inception. In 1958, when Iraq left this pact, it was renamed CENTO (Central Treaty Organization): it continued to comprise Turkey, Iran and Pakistan as its regional members. Early in 1959, Pakistan signed (as did Turkey and Iran) a bilateral Agreement of Coöperation with the United States, which was designed further to reinforce the defensive purposes of CENTO.

Thus Pakistan is associated with the United States through not one, but four mutual security arrangements. In this sense, it has been sometimes termed "America's most allied ally in Asia." It is the only Asian country which is a member both of SEATO and CENTO.

The strategic location of Pakistan is of some significance in this connection. West Pakistan borders on the Middle East, is close to Soviet Russia's southern frontier and shares a common border with China. It stands across the great mountain passes through which all land invasions of the Indian sub-continent have taken place in recorded history. East Pakistan, on the other hand, borders on Burma. Thus West Pakistan and East Pakistan flank India on her northwest and on her northeast. So situated, Pakistan virtually constitutes a defensive shield for India. It constitutes also the gateway to South Asia. It should therefore be in the interest of world peace, particularly of India's security, that Pakistan remain strong and stable.

Nevertheless, Pakistan came in for bitter criticism from India when she joined these purely defensive alliances. India charged that by so doing "Pakistan had brought

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