Given that Pakistan lacks the revenue to finance an energy recovery, future opportunities abound for international donors, including the United States. Washington, in fact, already provides a considerable amount of energy assistance to Pakistan. The Obama administration identifies energy as a priority area in its civilian assistance program to the country, and Congress released nearly $300 million in new energy aid last summer alone. The . private sector also contributes to Pakistan’s energy sector, including in overtly political ways. Last summer, ConocoPhillips mediated talks between Pakistan and Qatar on a potential natural gas deal in an effort to discourage Islamabad from pursuing a pipeline project with Iran that is opposed by Washington.
The pressure in the region to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons has been intensified by India’s adoption of “ Cold Start ,” a military strategy that calls for lightning strikes with tank columns and artillery deep into Pakistani territory at the start of a conflict. The shift in strategy came after Indian forces based in the country’s interior were unable to quickly punish Pakistan after Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists overran the Indian parliament in late 2001. Subsequently, India moved quick-strike battle groups close to the border with Pakistan, where they remain on alert.