India: Policy Implications for the United States.

Author:Dorschner, Jon P.
Position:Commentary and Analysis

October 2017

Balancing Against China

India has long been obsessed with its rivalry with Pakistan, and for many years India viewed Pakistan as its principal security threat. Pakistan continues to support terrorist attacks directed against India and India-controlled Kashmir, and is continually increasing its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems for nuclear warheads. Despite this, Indians have come to feel more self-assured and no longer see Pakistan as the country's principal security threat.

China now occupies this position. India no longer views itself simply as the predominant regional power in South Asia, but as an aspiring world power and is gearing up for what many in India believe is an inevitable conflict with its neighbor the Peoples Republic of China. India has embarked on an outreach program to solidify friendly ties to other Asian nations that feel threatened by China, and is devoting a lot of attention to the ASEAN states (particularly Viet Nam), Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. There is increasing speculation that this relationship could develop into a formal alliance, especially if the United States becomes less active in Asia.

India's border with China in the high Himalayas is poorly demarcated and the two countries are involved in a protracted border dispute. This came to a head during the summer of 2017 when Indian and Chinese troops faced off in the disputed area of Doklam, which is claimed by both China and Bhutan. (India has a treaty obligation to defend Bhutan). Although the Doklam confrontation has ended and the troops have pulled back, both countries expect further confrontations in the future. China's close military and political ties to Pakistan are particularly worrisome to India.

India--Pakistan--and North Korea

The rapid development of nuclear weapons and delivery systems by the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK) presents the United States with a difficult and dangerous dilemma. India is also concerned about the DPRK because of its close military ties to Pakistan. The DPRK and Pakistan have worked closely on the development of missile and nuclear technology in the past. India, like the rest of the world, would like to see the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction programs brought under control. This is particularly true because the DPRK could provide assistance to Pakistan.

Indian Assistance to Afghanistan

India has long enjoyed close and friendly ties with Afghanistan. Afghans routinely travel to India for...

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