Detente and South Asia
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
Over the years, the record of the United States in South Asia has been a mixed one at best. Our experience brought home to us the limitations on our ability, particularly regarding military assistance, to influence the actions of the major regional states, India and Pakistan. The Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971 pushed us toward a posture of gradual disengagement. Is this posture still valid today Do the actions of the other two major external powers interested in South Asia, the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China, support or threaten a policy of disengagement Will the current detente relationships between the United States and the Soviet Union and between the United States and China contribute to a moderation of great power rivalries in the Asian subcontinent Or will regional crises pull the external powers back again into the vortex of South Asia A current assessment of the strategic importance of South Asia reveals a continued absence of US vital interests, but a delicate balance between the regional powers and the three external powers. Both our checkered experience in South Asia and our changed perception of the strategic importance of the area argue for a continued policy of disengagement which, by its very lack of commitment, favors greater flexibility and could encourage continued restraint on the part of the Soviet Union and China.
- Government and Political Science