Pakistan's foreign policy has been marked by a complex balancing process--the result of its history, religious heritage, and geographic position. The primary objective of that policy has been to preserve Pakistan's territorial integrity and security, which have been in jeopardy since the state's inception.
A new era began with the partition of British India in 1947 and the formation of two independent, sovereign states--India and Pakistan. Both nations searched for their place in the world order and aspired to leadership roles beyond the subcontinent.
India and Pakistan became adversaries at independence and have so remained. The two countries fought each other shortly after partition, in 1965, and in 1971, causing the dismemberment of Pakistan and the creation of still another new sovereign entity--Bangladesh. India-Pakistan rivalry intensified rather than diminished after the Cold War, and the Kashmir territorial dispute remains dangerous and recurrent.
Pakistan sought security through outside alliances. The new nation painstakingly worked on building a relationship with the United States, in which the obligations of both sides were clearly defined. The Western-oriented, anticommunist treaties and alliances Pakistan joined became an important part of its foreign policy. Pakistan also saw itself as a vanguard of independent Muslim states.
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