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12 Aug 2018

Trump administration suspends military training with Pakistan, says media report

US suspends military training with Pakistan: Report

The Trump administration has suspended more than a decade-long military training program of Pakistani personnel at US institutions, the Dawn newspaper reported yesterday, quoting official sources.

The move comes days after Pakistan and Russia signed an agreement to allow Pakistani troops to receive training at Russian defense centers.

Earlier this year, Pakistan and Russia agreed to set up a commission to boost military cooperation.

In context

US suspends military training with Pakistan: Report

Trump had accused Islamabad of providing safe haven to terrorists

The relations between Pakistan and the US nosedived this January after President Donald Trump had accused Islamabad of giving nothing to Washington but "lies and deceit" and providing a "safe haven" to terrorists.

US also suspended funding for Pakistan's military training program

Funding for training

US also suspended funding for Pakistan's military training program

The US Congress also passed a bill to slash Pakistan's defense aid to $150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than $1 billion per year.

The US military institutions are struggling to fill the 66 slots they had kept aside for officers from Pakistan for next academic year, as the Trump administration refused to provide funds for their training, the report said.

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Reserved seats

Training institutes asked to fill Pakistani officers' reserved seats from other nations

The suspension of the training first became apparent when US National Defence University (NDU), which has had reserved seats for Pakistani officers for over a decade, told the outgoing Pakistani officers that the varsity has been asked to fill the positions for the next year with officers from other nations.

The NDU is one of several US military institutions that train officers from Pakistan.

Pakistani officers have been receiving training since early 1960s

Pakistani officers have been receiving military training and education in the US since the early 1960s, which were suspended in the 1990s but restored after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Pakistan's response

Pakistan yet to respond to the US's latest move

"This move could squander what little goodwill and trust remain in the military-to-military relationship, and it reduces the likelihood that Pakistan will act in the ways that Washington would like it to act," Michael Kugelman, an expert of Pakistan affairs at Washington think tank "The Wilson Center" said.

So far there is no response from Pakistani official to this move by the US.


Pakistan and Russia's defense ties

Pakistan's defense ties with Russia moved past the bitter Cold War hostilities in recent years and the chill in the relations between Pakistan and the US has further pushed the country towards Russia and China.

Russia has, over the past three years, provided four Mi-35M combat and cargo helicopters to Pakistan and the militaries of the two countries also held joint drills codenamed "Friendship".

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