Foreign relations of Pakistan

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Pakistan


Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in terms of population (after Indonesia), and its status as a declared nuclear power, being the only Islamic nation to have that status, plays a part in its international role. Pakistan is also an important member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations. Historically, its foreign policy has encompassed difficult relations with the Republic of India; especially on the core-issue of Kashmir, over which it has fought two wars. However it has had long-standing close relations with its other neighbors Afghanistan, Iran and China, extensive security and economic interests in the Persian Gulf and wide-ranging bilateral relations with the United States and other Western countries.

Wary of Soviet expansion, Pakistan had strong relations with both the United States of America and the People's Republic of China during much of the Cold War. Today, the two countries remain Pakistan's closest allies.

It was a member of the CENTO and SEATO military alliances. Its alliance with the United States was especially close after the Soviets invaded the neighboring country of Afghanistan. In 1964, Pakistan signed the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) Pact with Turkey and Iran, when all three countries were closely allied with the U.S., and as neighbors of the Soviet Union, wary of perceived Soviet expansionism. To this day, Pakistan has a close relationship with Turkey. RCD became defunct after the Iranian Revolution, and a Pakistani-Turkish initiative led to the founding of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) in 1985. For several years prior to the staged November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Pakistan's relations with India had been gradually improving, which opened up Pakistan's foreign policy to issues beyond security. An increasingly important actor on the world scene, Pakistan formed the "Friend of Pakistan" group which includes important countries such as Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Nations and European Union.[1]

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