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SEATO

SEATO

After the Second World War the polarization of the planet emerged into capitalist bloc led by United States and communist bloc led by USSR. Both were the expansionist powers and found that following the collapse of nearly all great powers had left them with a unique opportunity to dominate the entire world unilaterally.

 

In this context the developments of indo-china and the Korean War convinced the United States that an organization consisting of democratic states was necessary in order to check the advance of communism in the region. So as a result eight western and Asian countries summoned a conference  in manila, consequently a collective defense treaty was signed on september,9 1954 by USA, France, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippine and Thailand . This treaty was named as SEATO.

 

Now this rivalry between US and USSR created certain amount of space for countries like Pakistan to acquire aid or assistance. US wanted to create friendly alliance with India but Indians were not willing to openly ally themselves with USA against Soviet Union. Now in this context Pakistan from purely geographical perspective was far more important to the attainment of this outcome. Pakistan after its independence had faced serious security and economic problems and was more worried about its military situation. Now Pakistan decided to co-operate with the US in her policy in order to achieve US military aid and assistance.  Pakistan signed its first defense agreement with USA on 9 may 1954. Now the next step to become the US most allied Asian ally of Pakistan were its entries into SEATO and CENTO.

 

The idea of SEATO was conceived by the USA in order to create deterrence to communism in general and Vietnam in particular. The idea to include the South Asian countries was not envisaged by Duells. It was Anthony Eden who thought that only the entry of Thailand and Philippines would make the treaty western undertaking. So he also invited these countries to join the conference and talk on the defense of the region but there was opposition from the neutral Asian countries because of which only Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan could be persuaded to join the SEATO.

 

Pakistan was invited to attend the conference and cabinet decided to participate in the conference and was represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Zafrullah Khan. Now Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra made it clear to Eden that our participation does not mean that he was going to accept any scheme that might emerge from the discussion.  Pakistanis were also worried about position of pakistan that whether it should make any military alliance in a fairly remote area or not. Military authorities and especially Ayub Khan was also not very much interested in an Asian organization, because Pakistani leaders and military wanted US assistance not only against communist aggression but also on other ground of aggression as well. According to Duell’s US capabilities are limited and it is not in a position to provide massive economic aid to Pakistan. It meant that Pakistan itself would have to bear the cost of maintaining its forces against India. It also meant that Pakistan would receive no protection from SEATO against an Indian attack which was her most immediate concern.

 

There was also no provision for any standing forces by any state in the pact.  The Treaty did not provide for any joint action in the event of aggression but only for consultation.  The other SEATO members also did not commit themselves to defend Pakistan in case of an Indian attack. The USA wrote a reservation into the treaty that her obligation would apply only in an event of communist aggression.

 

Now the foreign delegation did not consult the government and Zafarullah Khan signed the Manila Pact because of Duells. Now this step of Zafrullah Khan surprised Pakistani cabinet and some of its members were also critical to his action. He mainly argued in order to justify his action that a refusal to sign the pact would have been greatly misunderstood by the US and this would have endangered Pakistan prospect for increased military and economic aid.  Now Pakistan had no choice and it ratified the treaty in january1955 to avoid the displeasure of the US. Now after signing the treaty it became an ally of USA and a member of SEATO.

 

At the same time during this period Pakistan internal situation also changed very substantially. The military role throughout this period had acquired importance in Pakistan. So from 1953 onwards the Pakistani army was a political actor and was playing a role in the government affairs. The aid that was coming tended to strengthen the military for more than any sector of the society. The relationship between Pakistan and USA was not so much relationship between two countries as increasingly relationship between the American defense ministry and Pakistan military. SEATO did not support Pakistan in its effort against India in 1965, because of which its commitment to SEATO faded.  During Bhutto period relations between Pakistan and USA were not quite good and USA also became suspicious when Bhutto tried to create close relations with China. This formal alliance with USA also kept Pakistan out of Nonaligned Movement. When USA also did not help Pakistan in 1971 in its conflict with Indian government, Pakistan withdrew from the SEATO after the separation of East Pakistan in 1971.so we conclude that the p[act was short lived and failed to provide with favorable results.

About Ali Tariq

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