The Trump Administration has approved the resumption of its military training programme for Pakistani security personnel at the American institutions, US officials said on Friday (Dec 20, 2019).
The decade long International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme for Pakistani security personnel had been suspended in August 2018, days after Moscow and Islamabad signed an agreement to allow Pakistani troops to receive training at the Russian defence centres.
The U.S. military traditionally has sought to shield such educational programs from political tensions, arguing that the ties built by bringing foreign military officers to the United States pay long-term dividends.
IMET affords spaces to foreign military officers at U.S. military education institutions, like U.S. Naval War College and the U.S. Army War College. Pakistan’s suspension from the program in August 2018 prompted the cancellation of 66 slots set aside that year for Pakistani military officers in one of the first known impacts of Trump’s decision to halt security assistance.
The administration has allowed the recommencement of the IMET programme for Pakistan as an exception, pending Congressional approval, as quoted by a State Department spokesperson. He further added that the President’s security assistance suspension announced in January 2018 permitted narrow exceptions for programmes that aid vital US national security interests.
The security assistance to Pakistan (around 2 billion USD) was suspended for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens. Following an attack by a Pakistan-based extremist group that killed around 40 Indian paramilitary troops, U.S. officials called on Islamabad to take “sustained and irreversible action” against militants operating from its territory.
Trump’s 2018 decision to suspend the security aid legalizes “narrow exceptions for programs that support vital U.S. national security interests,” a State Department spokeswoman said in an email, according to Reuters.
The spokesperson added, “The recommencement of IMET provides an opportunity to enhance bi-lateral cooperation between our countries on our shared priorities. IMET serves as an effective means to strengthen long term military-to-military relationships critical to US National Security Goals. We want to continue to build this foundation through concrete actions that advance regional security and stability. ”
Author: Swetalana Rout