07 December 2008

The American Interest: India and Pakistan

The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai have been particularly worrisome to the United States, for the Indian response is likely to affect U.S. operations in Afghanistan. With this consideration, the State department dispatched Condoleeza Rica to the region in the days following the November 26th attacks, to push for diplomacy between the two nations. As the situation plays out and political and diplomatic wrangling continues between and within India and Pakistan, there are few events which we, as Americans with strategic interests in the Middle East, should look out for.

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Massing of Indian troops on the India-Pakistan border
Currently, the Pakistani Armed Forces are busy with operations in the northwest of the country. If India chooses to position troops on the eastern border of Pakistan, Islamabad will be then compelled to shift some of their troops away from operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which will in turn damage U.S. led War on Terror efforts.

Undermining of Prime Minister Zadari's civilian government
Currently, the civilian government in Pakistan has limited control over the military. Therefore, events or actions which reduce the government's mandate to lead will weaken Zadari's control of the military and thus his ability to cooperate with the U.S. in apprehending terrorists. Specific events which might do this include unreasonable demands by India (from a Pakistani viewpoint) which Islamabad accommodates.

Evidence connecting Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence to the Mumbai attacks
If information comes to light demonstrating that Islmabad was either directly involved in or condoned the attacks, then India will be compelled to confront Pakistan. Such actions would shift Pakistani military priorities and threaten Zadari's regime.

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