Hedging Bets: Washington’s Pivot to India
In November 2010, President Obama visited India for three days. In addition to meeting with top Indian business leaders and announcing deals between the two countries worth more than $10 billion, the president declared on several occasions that the US and India’s would be the “defining partnership of the twenty-first century.” Afterward, Obama flew straight to Jakarta without any plans to visit Pakistan, officially the US’s major non-NATO ally in the region.
No president, except Jimmy Carter, had done such a thing before. The US has traditionally seen its India and Pakistan policies as being deeply linked, and except for Richard Nixon’s brief “tilt” in 1971, the US has been cautious of elevating one neighbor over the other. Despite India’s non-aligned status and pro-Soviet posture during the Cold War, Washington has tried to ensure that its relationship with Pakistan would not disadvantage India.
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Shehzad H. Qazi is a research associate at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
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