Since testing nuclear weapons in 1998, Pakistan has lost while India has gained international standing. Competing successfully with India’s nuclear weapons programmes was supposed to advance Pakistan’s stature and security, but it has not. Pakistan’s ability to gain standing and avoid growing isolation depends on its ability to understand why its talking points have lost traction. Blaming this loss on the size of India’s market is far too convenient an explanation. Profits matter greatly, but economics do not explain why Pakistan has lost the benefit of the doubt abroad. Washington’s dominant narrative is that Pakistan’s misfortunes lie in its policies toward its neighbours and the means employed to pursue them. Pakistan’s talking points will not become persuasive unless it changes this narrative.
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