Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/01/2012 -- BMI's Pakistan Defence & Security Report for Q312 examines the country's strategic position in the Asian region and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future.
The report also examines the trends occurring in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The report's general conclusion is that Pakistan remains highly vulnerable by virtue of a combination of circumstances: political instability, economic malaise and Islamist militancy.
BMI considers relations with four countries - Afghanistan, China, India and the United States - to be of paramount important to Pakistan's geopolitical outlook. China remains Pakistan's key defence ally, while relations with India have shown some recent signs of improvement, especially on the trade side. However, ties with Kabul remain strained, and the US relationship - once so important in the wake of 9/11 - is still at rock bottom six months after an American air strike inadvertently resulted in the deaths of 28 Pakistani soldiers. Having said that, in mid-May Islamabad was starting to suggest that it might now be ready to start mending fences in its relationship with Washington, with economics as much as security the motivating factor.
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Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- The latest developments in Pakistan's rocky relationship are reviewed in detail. These include the visit of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commanders to Pakistan in March, and Pakistani plans to attend the NATO summit in Chicago in late May. Islamabad has also signalled its intention to reopen the NATO supply route to Afghanistan after a six-month hiatus. However, continuing US drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region continue to cause severe tension.
- The instability of Pakistan's political establishment has continued, with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani being found guilty on contempt of court charges, but still managing to remain in post after only a token custodial sentence was imposed. His opponents continue to try to unseat him, however, and the instability in Islamabad has ongoing implications for the country's economy and security.
- Relations with India are relatively upbeat, with concerted efforts being made on both sides to normalise economic ties. In terms of security, the deaths of 129 Pakistani soldiers in an avalanche in the disputed Siachen region led to calls from civilian and military leaders in Pakistan for the area to be demilitarised. India is considering the proposal, but will require assurances that Islamabad will not try to take strategic advantage of any withdrawal.
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