Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Malou Innocent and Christopher Preble, "Questionable deals in a volatile region," Cato Institute, October 27, 2008.

  India will not play the role assigned to it, meekly bowing to US pressure and balancing a rapidly rising China.

Pakistan secured China's help to build two new nuclear power reactors in mid-October, though China declined to commit to helping bolster Pakistan's dwindling foreign exchange reserves. It seems no coincidence that this nuclear deal comes just a few weeks after the ratification of the long-stalled US-India nuclear agreement.

One of the more dangerous contingencies that the US-India nuclear deal was supposed to avert was an upwardly spiralling arms race between India and Pakistan. Does the China-Pakistan nuclear deal imply the emergence of two contending great power blocs in Asia - the US and India on one hand, China and Pakistan on the other? Western policymakers should not hyperventilate - at least not yet. Pakistan and China have always enjoyed warm relations. It is also true that Pakistan and China have typically drawn closer whenever the US and India do the same. It is no accident, therefore, that the Pakistan-China summit occurred shortly after the US and India extended their strategic partnership into the nuclear arena.

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