By Our Special Correspondent
On the first day of the 117th Congress, a bill was introduced at the U.S. House of Representatives to end the designation of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally.
Introduced by Republican Congressman Andy Biggs, the bill removes Pakistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally, a status that allows for a variety of benefits, such as access to excess US defence supplies and participation in cooperative defence research and development projects.
The bill also notes that the US President cannot issue a separate designation of Pakistan as a major NATO ally unless the President certifies that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that contribute significantly to the disruption of the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani network in Pakistan.
It also seeks presidential certification that Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistani territory as a safe haven, and that the Pak Government is actively coordinating with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants, such as the Haqqani Network, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The bill also asks the President to certify that Pakistan has shown progress in the arrest and prosecution of senior and mid-level Haqqani Network officials.
Pakistan was named a major non-NATO ally during the 2004 Bush administration. Currently, there are 17 major non-NATO allies. Brazil was the last country to be named President Donald Trump in 2019.
The designation gives countries access to cooperative research and development projects with the Department of Defense (DoD) on a cost-shared basis, participation in certain counter-terrorism initiatives, purchase of uranium-depleted anti-tank rounds, priority delivery of military surpluses.
It also gives them access to the War Reserve Stocks of DoD-owned equipment held outside American military bases, grants them loans of equipment and materials for cooperative research and development projects and assessments, and permits them to use American financing for the purchase or lease of certain defence equipment.
The designation, among other things, speeds up the export of space technology processing and permits the companies of the country to tender certain DoD contracts for the repair and maintenance of military equipment outside the United States.
However, President Trump suspended all financial and security assistance to Pakistan in January 2018.
The outgoing Trump Administration even considered terminating the designation of Pakistan as a Major non-NATO ally.
Under the Obama Administration, US designated India as a Major Defense Partner.