U.S cuts Pakistan from military training programmes, officials say ‘could affect bilateral relations’

The U.S administration under President Donald Trump has started cutting Pakistani officers from training and educational programmes, U.S officals revealed to Reuters news agency. The programmes had been an important facet of bilateral military relations for over a decade.

The move is said to have emanated from Trump’s decision for suspension of U.S. security assistance to Pakistan, in a bid for the latter to track down Islamic terrorists.

Both Pentagon and the Pakistani military did not place any direct comments. Officials from both sides privately denounced the move.

On condition of anonymity, U.S officials expressed worries over the decision hacking key trust building measures while Pakistani officials gave a warning that it could push the military to look for leadership training in China or Russia.

Former U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Dan Feldmen termed the move as ‘short-sighted and myopic’.

“This will have lasting negative impacts limiting the bilateral relationship well into the future,” he stated.

A State Department spokesman said that the effective suspension of Pakistan from the U.S. government’s International Military Education and Training programme (IMET) will close off places that had been set aside for 66 Pakistani officers this year. Those places with either remain unfilled or given to other foreign officials.

The spokesman stated that the IMET cancellations were valued at $2.41 million so far and that at least two other programmes have also been affected.

In addition to the training programmes, Pakistan has also been removed from  U.S. Naval War College, Naval Staff College programmes and other courses which include cyber security studies.

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