In a significant development, the federal cabinet of Pakistan has quietly approved the signing of a new security pact with the United States. The Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CIS-MOA) will pave the way for enhanced defense ties between the two nations and may allow Pakistan to procure military hardware from Washington DC. This move comes after the previous agreement, signed in 2005, expired in 2020.
Renewing Defense Ties:
The new CIS-MOA is a foundational agreement that the US signs with its allies and partners to maintain close military and defense cooperation. It grants legal cover to the US Department of Defense for selling military equipment and hardware to other countries. By signing this pact, both Pakistan and the US are expressing their commitment to maintaining strong institutional mechanisms for defense collaboration.
Potential Military Hardware Procurement:
With the agreement in place, the United States may consider selling military hardware to Pakistan in the coming years. However, a retired senior Army officer with experience dealing with the US highlighted that despite the agreement, it might not be straightforward for Pakistan to purchase military equipment from the US. The strategic interests of the US are increasingly aligned with India, given the challenge posed by China, which has affected the US-Pakistan defense relationship.
Strained History and Renewed Ties:
In the past, the US and Pakistan experienced strains in their defense cooperation, primarily due to differences over Afghanistan-related issues. Incidents like the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and an airstrike on a Pakistani military outpost added to the complexities in their relationship. Former President Donald Trump also accused Pakistan of not doing enough in the fight against militants.
However, since the new government under Shehbaz Sharif took office in Pakistan, there have been efforts to improve relations with the US. The recent meeting between US Central Command chief General Michael Erik Kurilla and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir signifies a desire to enhance bilateral relations, including in defense.