1. After the events of 11 September, there has been a major transformation of US thinking. Combating international terrorism has now become the single-point focus of her attention. Other short and long term US objectives in South and Central Asian region could be to control natural resources, to contain China, to uproot Islamic fundamentalism in the region and other than economic gains keep a watch on Pakistan’s strategic assets. 2. South Asia is one of the major markets for the US arms in the world due to the ongoing conflicts between major countries of the region. The geographical location of the region and existence of important sea lines of communication (SLOCs) also increase her military interests in the region. The US’ security concerns in South Asia are more pronounced after the advent of two rival nuclear powers in the region and Kashmir as potential flashpoint between them, discoveries of nuclear trafficking and the growth of terrorism[i]. 3. A superpower conducts its foreign policy within the global context; its policies aim at containment of its rival powers and the expansion of its own orbit of influence[ii]. In pursuit of her strategic interests, the United States adopted a wholesome approach encompassing military intervention and economic reconstruction of affected regions / sub regions. 4. In this article an effort has been made to analyse the US changing interests in South Asia with a view to study the implications for the region in general and Pakistan in particular. Aim
5. To bring under the sharp focus the United States’ interests in South Asia with a view to examine implications for regional security and Pakistan. Scope
6. The article will unfold as under: -
a. Part – ISignificance of South Asia.
b. Part – II United States’ interests in South Asia c. Part – IIIUS approach to attain her strategic interests. d. Part – IV Analysis of implications for regional security and Pakistan e. Part – V Recommendations
PART – I
SIGNIFICANCE OF SOUTH ASIA
“Asia is rich in people, rich in culture and rich in resources. It is also rich in trouble.” Hubert H. Humphrey[iii]
7. The South Asian region is one of the most densely populated regions around the globe. It lies on the junction between South East Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia. China, Central Asia and Russia are towards the north of South Asia. On its south western side it provides access to the Persian Gulf while on south eastern side it provides an access to the Malaccan Strait. Indian Ocean on its south has remained strategically important during the Cold War. Its importance has further increased after the establishment of US base at Diego Garcia[iv], just south of Maldives[v]. 8. Overt nuclearisation of the region and post 9/11 scenario has further enhanced its importance. India is aspiring to be the sole regional power, vying for a permanent seat in UNSC. Whereas, Pakistan has also been able to project herself as an important player in the region due to its status as a front line state in the war against terrorism and being the only Muslim country having nuclear capability. South Asian Economy
9. South Asia stands on the brink of becoming a major economic and military power. The region’s economy is rapidly growing and many multinational firms depend on it.[vi] South Asia also affords great economic opportunities for the United States. Within South Asia, the United States views India as the most promising partner which can check China’s growing economic strength. In bilateral terms, the United States – India nexus would yield more economic benefits for the United States as compared to India. The United States has the advantage of access to cheap labour, expansion of her defence industry and availability of broad based free...