US-India Global Review

17 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JANUARY-MARCH 2018 The US can have a role in crisis management, while also being a discreet conduit for information. US interests in getting involved in India-Pakistan started with “Senior” Bush and coincided with the winding down of Cold War, during which New Delhi was seen as close to Moscow. But his son, George W. Bush, was the one president who was more attuned to New Delhi's sen- sitivities and took a pragmatic approach refusing to get involved in India-Pakistan disputes. Condoleeza Rice as his National Security Adviser in 2002 rejected Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's pleas for mediation. “The USA is always prepared to help in any way but we don’t believe this is something that mediation or facilitation is going to help,” said Rice, who later became the secretary of state. Barack Obama, who succeded him had the grandest plan of all. In an interview during 2008 elec- tion campaign he told an inter- viewer that he had talked to Bill Clinton about becoming his medi- ator on Kashmir. But reality hit when he assumed office, as any great plans for a foray into India's touchy terrain of Kashmir. Published by special arrangement with the Society for Policy Studies, of which the author is a New York-based non-resident senior fellow. He can be reached at arullouis@spsindia.in . Sumit Ganguly, S. Paul Kapur Is India starting to flex its military muscles? T his summer, India deployed troops to pre- vent China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) from constructing a road on the Doklam plateau near the contested Bhutan-China-India border. Indian forces stood in the path of the construction crews, blocking their work and at times even tussling with Chinese troops. Despite increasingly harsh warn- ings from Beijing, including the threat of "all-out confrontation," the Indians held fast. After a near- ly two-month standoff, both sides disengaged and the PLA stopped its road-building activity, though China made clear that it would "continue fulfilling its sovereign rights" by stationing troops and patrolling in the area. It is tempting to dismiss Doklam as yet another inconsequential Sino-Indian spat in a long-disput- ed border region. But that would be a mistake. The standoff sug- gests that changes may be afoot in India - changes that could sig- nificantly alter India's strategic character. India, in its 70-year history, has rarely sought to employ force beyond its borders. When it has done so, it has generally faced rel- atively weak adversaries, such as the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka dur- ing the late 1980s, and potential coup-makers in the Maldives in 1988. In the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War, India confronted an able adversary, and it attacked well into enemy territory, nearly reaching the border city of Lahore. But India did not seek this conflict, which began when Pakistan attempted to seize Kashmir with irregular and conventional forces. India's most ambitious military operation occurred in 1971, when it launched a large-scale armored

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