The logic of Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan has always been linked to the fear of encirclement by India. Even if India has no military or security presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s establishment will see it as a threat. It is unrealistic to expect India to not trade with Afghanistan or for Afghans to not accept Indian assistance. But given the mindset of our strategic planners, I fear an escalation in India-Pakistan tensions after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, our state institutions do not seem to agree that the best way for Pakistan to have a friendly government in Afghanistan is by befriending the government in Afghanistan instead of trying to impose one.
My argument is that Pakistan misunderstood its significance for the U.S. by assuming that America will embrace its concerns about India and help build it up as a regional power against India. Great powers cannot be built solely by other nations’ aid or arms and in any case the U.S. never accepted Pakistan’s view of India. The American misunderstanding was that if only it provided aid to Pakistan it would be able to get Pakistan to align its world view with the U.S. over time. Pakistan and the U. S. never really accepted that their interests and priorities did not converge, which explains the cycles of engagement and estrangement. On the one hand, Pakistanis have grown to be dependent on the U.S. and on the other they are bitter about that dependence because it does not allow them to fully exercise what the Pakistani establishment considers to be its national interests. In some ways, the U.S.-Pakistan alliance offers a lesson on how not to conduct international relations based on unreal or falsified expectations.
this is one part of the interview conducted by The Hindu with Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani.