Breakthrough development Reported for Pakistan Military from US State Department
WASHINGTON - The US State Department has sought $72 million in its 2021 budgetary request from the Congress for resumption of Pakistan’s participation in a coveted US military training programme and other initiatives.
In January, President Donald Trump had authorised the resumption of International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Pakistan. The decision to resume Islamabad’s participation in the IMET underscores warming relations that have followed meetings this year between President Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to the department’s request, the IMET, improves “defence capabilities through professional military education and training, including technical courses and specialised instruction conducted at US military schoolhouses or through mobile education and training teams abroad”.
The department maintained that a total of $104.9 million was needed to strengthen military alliances and international coalitions critical to the US.
For South and Central Asia, the department has earmarked a total of $12.7 million out of $104.9 million. Pakistan will receive $3.5 million for the resumption of the IMET facility if the request is authorised by Congress.
India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, also priority recipients of the funds alongside Pakistan, are pegged to receive $1.5 million, $800,000 and $1.8 million respectively.
“IMET programmes in South and Central Asia support the IndoPacific Strategy by focusing on professionalising the defence forces of regional partners, emphasising professional military education, respect for the rule of law, human rights, and civilian control of the military, including English language training to improve the ability of partner services to work with the United States,” reads the document. IMET is a small facet of US security aid programmes for Pakistan worth some $2 billion that Trump abruptly suspended in January 2018 to compel the nuclear-armed South Asian nation to crackdown on militants.
Other than the IMET, the US State Dept has also sought funds for Pakistan in the fields of economic development and anti-terrorism related.