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The United States Relations With Pakistan And India Politics Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2406 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Realism has made the United States building its policies toward South Asia. Since the end of Cold War, the United States and India actively improving relations with each other, meanwhile the importance of Pakistan and the United States declined. Since the Kashmir incidence between India and Pakistan, both countries remain in tension and conflict. When the United States administrations decided to focus its partnership toward India, it resulted on the growing distance relationship between the United States with Pakistan, but the September 11 attacks suddenly restored Pakistan strategic importance to Washington. With the new strategies, the United States has to balance its policies toward India and Pakistan.

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Realism has been the dominant theory of foreign affairs since the concept of international relations theory. [1] The universal goals of realism are security and power, with the key concept of power and interest. Realism assumes that its key concept of interest defined as power is an objective category which is universally valid, but it does not endow that concept with a meaning that is fixed once and for all. The idea of interest is indeed of the essence of politics and is unaffected by the circumstances of time and place. [2] 

The United States realists would focus on strengthening security ties in Asia and work to establish clearer threshold with the growing power – China’s leadership. The United States administration has moved in this direction, as represented by the “strategic partnership” with India and the recent “pivot” to Asia. [3] Realists stated that there is no eternal friend or eternal enemy, only eternal national interest. The U.S. eternal interest is to preclude a hostile power from dominating Europe or Asia. In order to maintain that interest the United States built a global alliance system to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War era, and wanted India, the dominant state in South Asia to join it. [4] 


In a security alliance since 2004 and “strategic partners” since 2006, the United States and Pakistan for decades experienced major shifts in the nature and tone of their relations. In the post-9/11 period, assisting in the creation of a more stable, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan actively combating religious militancy has been among the most important U.S. foreign policy efforts. Vital U.S. interests are seen to be at stake in its engagement with Pakistan related to regional and global terrorism; efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan; nuclear weapons proliferation; links between Pakistan and indigenous American terrorism; Pakistan-India tensions and conflict; democratization and human rights protection; and economic development. As a haven for numerous terrorist groups, and as the world’s most rapid proliferator of nuclear weapons, Pakistan presents a combination that places it at the top of many governments’ international security agendas. [5] 

India, the region’s dominant actor with more than one billion citizens, is often characterized as a major power and partner of the United States and counterbalance for China’s growing power. Washington and New Delhi have since 2004 been pursuing a “strategic partnership” based on shared values such as democracy, pluralism, and rule of law. Numerous economic, security, and global initiatives, including plans for full civilian nuclear energy cooperation is underway. This latter initiative, launched by President Bush in July 2005 and provisionally endorsed by the 109th Congress in 2006 (P.L. 109-401, the “Hyde Act”), would reverse three decades of U.S. nonproliferation policy. It requires, among other steps, a Joint Resolution of Approval by Congress. Also in 2005, the United States and India signed a ten-year defense framework agreement that calls for expanding bilateral security cooperation. Since 2002, the two countries have engaged in numerous combined military exercises. Major U.S. arms sales to India are planned. [6] 

Further U.S. interest in South Asia focuses on ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan rooted in unfinished business from the 1947 Partition, competing claims to the Kashmir region, and, in more recent years, “cross-border terrorism” in both Kashmir and major Indian cities. In the interests of regional stability, the United States strongly encourages an ongoing India-Pakistan peace initiative and remains concerned about the potential for conflict over Kashmir sovereignty to cause open hostilities between these two nuclear-armed countries. Both India and Pakistan have resisted external pressure to sign the major nonproliferation nuclear weapon treaties. In 1998, the two countries conducted nuclear tests that evoked international condemnation. Proliferation-related restrictions on U.S. aid were triggered, and then later lifted through congressional-executive cooperation from 1998 to 2000. Remaining sanctions on India and Pakistan were removed in late 2001. [7] 


Most of the United States policies in Pakistan emphasize a security-oriented approach that could risk derailing trends by eliciting even stronger anti-American nationalism among the Pakistani people. [8] The policies are as follows:

Pressure counterterrorism on Pakistan.

In May 2012, The Security of State Clinton requested more Pakistan efforts to clear its territory of terrorist sanctuaries. U.S. officials remained acutely concerned about the apparent impunity with which Pakistan-based extremist and militant groups are able to act. [9] 

Weaken U.S. – Pakistan relationship to strengthen U.S. – India relationship. This issue made Pakistan more reliant on its partnership with China, also in response to this issue, Pakistan actively improved its nuclear weapons.

“Leahy amendment” provisions by withholding train and equip funding for several Pakistani army units. [10] 

According to the U.S. Department of State, the overall human rights situation in Pakistan remains poor, and that lack of government accountability remains a pervasive problem; abuses often go unpunished, fostering a culture of impunity. [11] 

Foreign assistance and coalition support reimbursement. [12] 

Pakistan is among the leading recipients of U.S. aid in the post-9/11 period, having been appropriated about $24 billion in assistance and military reimbursements since 2001. By the end of 2011, the U.S. Congress had appropriated more than $8.3 billion in development and humanitarian aid, and nearly $7 billion for security-related programs over ten years. [13] 


The United States experienced challenges in maintaining its relations with India to manage disagreements on five potentially divisive strategic issues: Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, China policy, arms control, climate change, and high-technology cooperation. The Obama’s administration policies adopted to solve the issues listed as follows:

Deploy 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan should reassure those Indians who view the fight there as a test of U.S. staying power in South Asia. [14] 

Devote increasing time and energy to cultivate the U.S.-Chinese relationship.

Indians are asking whether Washington envisions a role for India in maintaining a balance of power in Asia, or whether the Obama administration views India as tangential to U.S. priorities there. [15] 

Renew U.S. efforts to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). If China wants to do so, too, India will be pressured to follow suit, even it is unlikely. [16] 

India is the world’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Both Washington and New Delhi support investment in green technologies, but internationally mandated and monitored emissions reductions are political problem in India, where they are often seen as a drag on growth and an affront to Indian sovereignty. [17] 

The United States’ emphasis on national security export controls and intellectual property protection has excessively restricted licenses and transfers. [18] 

India remained on the U.S. Special 301 “Priority Watch List” in 2011 for failing to provide an adequate level of IPR protection or enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection. [19] Moreover, since 1998, a number of Indian entities have been subjected to case-by-case licensing requirements and appear on the U.S. export control “Entity List” of foreign end users involved in weapons proliferation activities. [20] 

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The U.S. military aid has done little to stem Islamist militancy in Pakistan and may even hinder that country’s economic and political development. For that reason, Indonesia should voice its disagreement to this policy. The United States policy should have been targeting effective nonmilitary aid, perhaps especially that which would strengthen Pakistan’s civil society such as nonproliferation, governance, economic growth, and also support Pakistan initiatives that could promote its regional stability.

The United States and India share important interests: both seek to restore global growth, protect the global commons, enhance global energy security, and ensure a balance of power in Asia. Indonesia administration could recommend enhancing the level of transparency in their relationship. Closer cooperation such as on counterterrorism would mean closer coordination on developments regarding Pakistan as well. They must therefore increase the scope, quality, and intensity of their cooperation at every level.

Some of other United States’ policies in the South Asia are based on Washington strategic interest, but if Obama’s policies able to ease the tension between India and Pakistan; Indonesia administration might support them, having acknowledge that the war can lead to nuclear war.


History shows that the relations between The United States with India and Pakistan have been based strictly on military and economic support. [21] Strategic interest has been the most important factor for U.S. policy toward South Asia. The policy has been a part of a U.S strategy to prevent external power from dominating Asia. From the U.S. perspective, the Soviet Union was that power in the Cold War era, and China emerges as the most likely candidate for the power in the post-Cold War era.

The United States failed to change India and Pakistan nuclear policy and decided to lift part of the sanctions. President George Bush administration at first treated India as a focus of relations in South Asia, but the September 11th attacks restored Pakistan’s importance to the United States. In order to win the support of India and Pakistan for anti-terrorism, the United States lifted all the sanctions against them, provided Pakistan with loans and strengthened military cooperation with Pakistan. Due to terrorist actions in India, tensions between India and Pakistan repeatedly flared up. The United States had to step in, to evade the escalations that might become war, or even more nuclear war. But the United States is unable to help solve the Kashmir dispute.

As long as the United States still see China as the threat to its global power, they will treat India as its partner in South Asia. As long as the anti-terrorist campaign continues and the Afghanistan’s conditions established, the United States will need Pakistan’s cooperation; hence the United States will try to maintain its current policies toward India and Pakistan.


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