Early Foreign Policy

Pakistan Table of Contents

Pakistan's early foreign policy espoused nonalignment. Despite disputes with India, the policies of the two countries were similar: membership in the Commonwealth of Nations; no commitment to either the United States or the Soviet Union; and a role in the UN.

Pakistan's foreign policy stance shifted significantly in 1953 when it accepted the United States offer of military and economic assistance in return for membership in an alliance system designed to contain international communism. When the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower sought a series of alliances in the "Northern Tier"--Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey--and in East Asia, Pakistan became a candidate for membership in each. In 1954 Pakistan signed a Mutual Defense Agreement with the United States and became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). The following year, Pakistan joined Iran, Iraq, and Turkey in the Baghdad Pact, later converted into the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) after Iraq's withdrawal in 1959. Pakistan also leased bases to the United States for intelligence-gathering and communications facilities. Pakistan saw these agreements not as bulwarks against Soviet or Chinese aggression, but as a means to bolster itself against India.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress