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South Asian Seesaw: A New U.S. Policy on the Subcontinent

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Publication Date: May 2005

Publisher(s): Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Author(s): Ashley J. Tellis

Funder(s): Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Funder(s): Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Topic: Government (Foreign relations)

Type: Brief

Coverage: Pakistan India


The widely noted decision to resume F-16 sales to Pakistan and, even more, the largely ignored commitment to assist India's growth in power represent a new U.S. strategy toward South Asia. By expanding relations with both states in a differentiated way matched to their geostrategic weights, the Bush administration seeks to assist Pakistan in becoming a successful state while it enables India to secure a troublefree ascent to great-power status. These objectives will be pursued through a large economic and military assistance package to Islamabad and through three separate dialogues with New Delhi that will review various challenging issues such as civil nuclear cooperation, space, defense coproduction, regional and global security, and bilateral trade. This innovative approach to India and Pakistan is welcome--and long overdue in a strategic sense--but it is not without risks to the United States, its various regional relationships, and different international regimes.