Pakistan Navy has distanced itself from the counterpiracy Combined Task Force (CTF) amid the worsening relations with the US.
The country decided to leave the US-led task force, operating in the western Indian Ocean, after it refused to honor the agreement and pay for the fuel required for patrolling warships, Al-Jazeera reported via its sources in the military.
The report says that the task force will feel Pakistan’s absence because of its Navy’s anti-piracy expertise and access to waters where US-flag carriers are hesitant to go.
Pakistan Navy Seeks Other Options
The Combined Maritime Force (CMF), the parent organization of CTF, has confirmed that Pakistan is no longer part of CTF, the report says.
Pakistan provides experienced naval personnel, very knowledgeable in areas such as operating in the Indian Ocean. However, the current constituents of CTF151 do not include Pakistan.
Pakistani military officials have also confirmed the news stating that the country has to guard its own interests in the western India Ocean.
Pakistan Navy is now seeking to carry out independent Regional Maritime Security Patrol (RMSP), claims report. It will now patrol the international waters from the Gulf of Aden to the Gulf of Oman, and from the Strait of Hormuz to the Maldivian waters, a Pakistani military official told Al-Jazeera.
Experts believe that Pakistan’s decision to quit CTF does not mean that it is severing its ties with the CMF. Pakistan is still part of the Combined Maritime Force and could anytime resume its operations with the CTF151.
The Seesaw of Pak-US Relations
Pakistan and the US relations have been at a critical juncture ever since President Donald Trump took control. The first crack in the relations of the two former allies appeared when Trump, in August 2017, announced its new South Asia policy and blamed Pakistan for US failure in Afghanistan.
He accused Pakistan of harboring terrorism, a claim Pakistan vehemently denies. In his New Year tweet, US President took another a jibe at Pakistan and said the country has double-crossed the US in the war against terrorism.
In August this year, the Trump administration stopped funding for a training programme for Pakistani military officers.
The military ties between the two countries have borne the final blow when the US military, in September, cut $300m in aid to Pakistan. The move fueled to Pakistan’s anger which believes that the US owed this money to Pakistan.