The security environment in South Asia has remained relatively unsettled since the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests of May 1998. The author explores the impact of these tests on relations among India, Pakistan, and China and examines the future course of the policies of these nations toward each other. He finds that five major geopolitical contingencies should concern the United States during the next decade: (1) major subcontinental war; (2) stagnation and state failure in Pakistan; (3) "high entropy" proliferation of strategic technologies; (4) a high-intensity Indo-Pakistani arms race; and (5) a high-intensity Sino-Indian arms race. U.S. sanctions leveled on both India and Pakistan in the wake of their nuclear tests have constrained engagement on a military-to-miltary level. But the renewal of American relations with both India and Pakistan offers new, even if small, opportunities in the near term. The real value of continuing to engage India, however, will be manifested only over the longer term, when the growth of both Chinese and Indian power in Asia will create new opportunities for the U.S. Air Force.
Originally published in: The United States and Asia : Toward a New U.S. Strategy and Force structure, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, MR-1315-AF, Appendix D, pp. 203-240.
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