Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Wednesday that the relations between Pakistan and the United States are no longer linked to India or Afghanistan. Bhutto is currently in the United States for discussions over enhanced trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. 

“Not only I am presently surprised, but I am absolutely impressed by the new foreign policy approach of the US towards Pakistan,” Bilawal said at Washington DC-based think-tank, Woodrow Wilson Centre. 

“There is also an increased feeling in our [Pak-US] interaction that we are no longer hyphenated – Afghanistan-Pak or Pak-India. Only Pak-US that’s a good thing,” he added. 

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Bhutto also launched an attack on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he said that India has changed a lot since 2010. He said that Modi is not like his predecessors Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh and even talked about the 2002 riots in Gujarat. 

He also said that the reaction from India in the aftermath of United States’ decision to give $450 million to upgrade Pakistan’s fleet of F-16 aircraft did not surprise him. 

“Obviously, Indians are going to be upset, let them be, kiya karein (what do we do),” he said. 

Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar had criticised the US decision regarding the F-16 fighter jets and said that the relationship between the US and Pakistan has not served both countries well. 

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“Everybody knows where and against whom F-16 fighter jets are used. You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things. Very honestly, it is a relationship that has ended up serving neither Pakistan nor serving American interests well… for the US to reflect what the merits of the relationship [are] and what they get by keeping it sort of continuing,” Jaishankar said at a community event in Washington. 

United States was quick to respond as state department spokesperson Ned Price said that the White House doesn’t view its ties with New Delhi and Islamabad “in relation to one another”. 

“We don’t view our relationship with Pakistan… our relationship with India… in relation to one another… both partners of ours with different points of emphasis…,” he said.





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