Poli­cies and Pit­falls

If there’s a pos­si­ble U.S. eco­nomic break­down, it could have a far-reach­ing im­pact on the global fi­nan­cial mar­kets and may also re­duce Amer­ica’s ca­pac­ity to play a vi­able role in South Asia.

Southasia - - Cover Story - By Dr. Moo­nis Ah­mar

South Asia, which was pe­riph­eral and mar­ginal for the United States till the end of the sec­ond world war, is now strate­gi­cally, po­lit­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally a re­gion of enor­mous in­ter­est for Wash­ing­ton. How Amer­ica views South Asia in the post 9/11 era and why there has been a strate­gic shift in the U.S. ap­proach vis-à-vis In­dia and Pak­istan, the two ma­jor coun­tries of the re­gion and to what ex­tent conflicts and in­sta­bil­ity in South Asia pose a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to Amer­i­can in­ter­ests in the re­gion are ques­tions which cause a lot of de­bate and se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion not only in Wash­ing­ton but in the cap­i­tals of ma­jor South Asian coun­tries.

South Asia, home to onethird of the global pop­u­la­tion and sub­se­quently home to world’s half poor, caught in a decade-old nu­clear arms race be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan and a hub of in­ter and in­trastate conflicts, is a ma­jor flash point in the world to­day. Amidst the col­lapse of the Soviet Union and the un­leash­ing of far-reach­ing geo-po­lit­i­cal changes fol­low­ing the emer­gence of the U.S. as a pre-em­i­nent player in the global or­der, sev­eral ad­just­ments also took place in South Asia in terms of pol­icy op­tions of the ma­jor coun­tries of the re­gion. In­dia, which had age-old strate­gic and po­lit­i­cal ties with the then Soviet Union, felt it­self in a deep quandary when its prin­ci­pal backer had ceased to ex­ist in De­cem­ber 1991. But, it took New Delhi lit­tle time to read­just its po­si­tion and cul­ti­vate strong re­la­tions with the United States.

Con­trary to In­dia, Pak­istan which since the 1950s had re­mained a strate­gic ally of Amer­ica felt that it was left in the lurch when Wash­ing­ton, judg­ing the re­al­i­ties of the post-Soviet world, de­cided to aban­don Afghanistan and also im­posed sanc­tions against Pak­istan in Oc­to­ber 1990. When the then U.S. Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Bush re­fused to grant a yearly cer­tifi­cate that Islamabad was not in­volved in man­u­fac­tur­ing nu­clear weapons, an­other wall of mis­trust and sus­pi­cion in Pak-U.S. re­la­tions was erected. The ups and downs in Pak-U.S. re­la­tions par­tic­u­larly in the post-cold war era man­i­fested a deep sense of be­trayal in the Pak­istani mind­set about the Amer­i­can fail­ure to un­der­stand gen­uine se­cu­rity needs of Pak­istan and treat­ing its so­called ally in a some­what dis­re­spect­ful man­ner. Not­with­stand­ing the re­newed close­ness in Pak-U.S. re­la­tions fol­low­ing the events of Sep-

Does Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy in South Asia re­volve around

Pak­istan and In­dia only?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.