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.
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?