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The author examines U.S. strategic relations with India and Pakistan both historically and in the current context of the global war on terrorism and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Pakistan's unwillingness to halt its active role in supporting militant operations in Indian-held Kashmir and elsewhere challenges U.S. interests in reducing terrorism. India, for its part, could lessen Pakistan's threat perceptions. An inescapable conclusion of the report is that the intractable dispute over the disposition of Kashmir remains a critical flashpoint between the two states and a continual security challenge for the United States and the larger international community. The report offers five policy options on how the United States might proceed: Maintain the status quo; take an active role in resolving the dispute; distance itself from the dispute; side with India; or side with Pakistan's position on Kashmir. Each position, with benefits and disadvantages, is discussed in detail.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    U.S. Security Cooperation in South Asia

  • Chapter Three

    Regional Sources of Conflict

  • Chapter Four

    Extraregional Sources of Trouble

  • Chapter Five

    Illustrative Pathways to Conflict

  • Chapter Six

    Impact on U.S. Goals and Objectives

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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