The India-Pakistan Conundrum: Shooting for a Century
The rivalry between India and Pakistan has proven to be one of the world’s most intractable international conflicts. In his new book,
Shooting for a Century
(Brookings Press, 2013), Brookings Senior Fellow Stephen P. Cohen explores the origins and costs of India-Pakistan hostility, various explanations of why the dispute endures, past and current efforts to normalize the relationship, as well as the consequences of nuclearization. He argues that the prospects for normalization are poor, but because of the stakes and urgency, it is a process deserving of bilateral effort and greater world attention. Cohen also outlines suggestions as to how the rivalry might end, as well as the approach he believes the United States should take vis-à-vis the rivalry.
On June 14, the India Project at Brookings hosted the launch of Shooting for a Century with a discussion on present and past ties between India and Pakistan, prospects for normalization, as well as what role, if any, the U.S. should play. Brookings Distinguished Fellow Thomas Pickering and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Senior Associate Ashley J. Tellis joined Cohen for the discussion. Strobe Talbott, president of Brookings, introduced the session. Tanvi Madan, director of the India Project, moderated the discussion.
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The military partnership with Pakistan is important to Saudi Arabia... [Given the close ties, Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi's initial remarks were] very out of character for Pakistan... [The threat to convene a meeting bypassing the OIC] would directly undermine Saudi Arabia's posture, and position, of leadership in the Muslim world... I think that [FO] statement, more than anything, suggests that Pakistan will not take the actions [the foreign minister] hinted at in his remarks and it suggests that the Saudi reaction - including on the [Pakistani army chief's] trip - has led Pakistan to delicately walk back Qureshi's comments. [The walk-back indicated Pakistan] does not have the option of [turning away from Saudi Arabia] in any significant way... Pakistan's expectations from the OIC and Saudi Arabia on Kashmir have now been tempered, and realism has set in on that front for Islamabad. This ties Pakistan's hands a bit on the issue of Kashmir's autonomy. As long as Pakistan doesn't push Saudi Arabia where it doesn't want to be pushed [on Kashmir], the two countries can get past the spat.