The new administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be seeking to keep Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the US on a firm footing, particularly in the lead up to 2014 and beyond. Sharif will make it a priority to improve relations with India, as this could potentially unlock billions of dollars worth of trade and reduce the need for the high level of military spending. Improving the economic and fiscal management of the country, including upgrading its run-down infrastructure, would help attract foreign investment and open up business opportunities for foreign companies, including from Australia.
- Pakistan’s key present foreign policy objectives are: to ensure relations with the US remain on track, particularly in the lead up to ISAF’s departure from Afghanistan in 2014; to further deepen relations with China; and to continue to improve bilateral relations with India.
- A stable and secure relationship with Afghanistan will be a key security and foreign policy objective for Pakistan post-2014, as this will have a direct impact on the military’s ability to deal with the Pakistani Taliban challenge.
- Pakistan’s crucial economic objectives today, and into the future, will be to upgrade the country’s dilapidated infrastructure, find solutions to the massive shortfall in its energy needs and to invest significantly more into the country’s health and education sectors.
- The Australian mining sector would have much to gain from an improvement in the security situation in the India-Pakistan-Afghanistan region.