The Limits of Influence

The Limits of Influence: America's Role in Kashmir

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Limits of Influence
    Book Description:

    This is the first systematic history of U.S. efforts to help forge a settlement between India and Pakistan on the "Kashmir question."

    Former ambassador Howard B. Schaffer draws on interviews with senior American officials, historical research, and his decades of experience in South Asia to explain and evaluate three generations of U.S. activities and policies toward the volatile region.

    The Limits of Influencechronicles America's views on -and involvement in -the long-standing struggle waged between India and Pakistan over Kashmir since their independence in 1947. He brings the discussion up to the current day, concluding with recommendations on the role Washington might usefully play in resolving the long-simmering dispute, thus reducing the dangerous tensions between two nuclear-armed archrivals in a region of great importance. His book is a fascinating piece of diplomatic history as well as an instructive look at the present and future of the Kashmir dilemma and its impact on vital U.S. concerns.

    "Indian and Pakistani positions on the terms of a settlement have grown closer over the past few years. A quiet shove by Washington may be more likely than before to help push the two governments over the elusive finish line they have never been able to cross on their own. And the critical part Pakistan plays in the war on terrorism has added to the importance of a Kashmir settlement to major American interests in South Asia and beyond...." -From the Introduction

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0370-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    The dispute over Kashmir is the most central and intractable of the problems that have bedeviled India-Pakistan relations since the two countries won independence in 1947. For Indians and Pakistanis, Kashmir symbolizes the clash between their rival concepts of national identity. Pakistanis perceive Kashmir as the one Muslim-majority area of Britain’s Indian empire that did not become part of Pakistan, conceived by its founders as the homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Its possession by India makes Kashmir “the unfinished business of partition.” For Indians, Kashmir’s Muslim majority makes it a symbol of the country’s secular identity. This sentiment...

  5. 1 Impasse at the United Nations
    (pp. 9-35)

    Before the 1947 partition of India, few Americans knew or cared about the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Tucked away in the high western Himalayas, Kashmir, as it was commonly called, was an amalgam of territories widely varied in language, culture, religion, ethnicity, and economic development. Its disparate regions had been cobbled together by the dynastic ambitions of the state’s rulers abetted by British imperial design. In the first half of the nineteenth century, these maharajas, Hindus of the Dogra ethnic group based in the Jammu area of the state, had with British backing created one of the largest...

  6. 2 Impact of the Alliance with Pakistan
    (pp. 36-51)

    Like Truman’s, the major foreign policy objective of the Eisenhower administration was to contain the threat of Communist aggression, especially in Europe and the Far East. John Foster Dulles, who had finally achieved his longtime ambition to become secretary of state, was a determined cold warrior who had scant sympathy either for India or for the nonaligned policies that Prime Minister Nehru favored. He would later famously label them immoral. The new administration ranked South Asia low on its list of concerns. Nonetheless, it recognized the potential danger the Kashmir dispute posed to American interests. Although the record of the...

  7. 3 Eisenhower Tries His Hand
    (pp. 52-64)

    Prime Minister Nehru’s visit to Washington in December 1956, a month after Dwight Eisenhower’s landslide reelection victory, initiated a new and more positive phase in U.S.-Indian relations. The president had by then become more receptive to the nonaligned policies the prime minister had long advocated. A well-justified concern over the inroads the post-Stalin Soviet Union was making in India and in other important third world countries strengthened his interest in better ties with New Delhi.

    For his own reasons, Nehru shared Eisenhower’s desire for stronger relations. He recognized that it was not in nonaligned India’s interest to drift too close...

  8. 4 Kennedy Strikes Out
    (pp. 65-96)

    President John F. Kennedy, who entered the White House in January 1961, was even more determined to reorder U.S. ties with the South Asian countries than Eisenhower had been in his second term. He gave special importance to India, which he had strongly backed and praised as a senator and presidential candidate. The new administration quickly raised economic assistance to New Delhi to a level well above the generous amounts reached during the Eisenhower years. Although it castigated India for its seizure of Portuguese Goa in December 1961, it fully accepted Indian nonalignment. It believed that, if handled skillfully, the...

  9. 5 “A Plague on Both Their Houses”
    (pp. 97-118)

    After the failure of the Kennedy administration’s sustained high-level effort to promote a Kashmir settlement, Washington lost its appetite for intervention. Like Kennedy’s, the Johnson administration that came to power in November 1963 regarded the Kashmir issue as a serious danger to peace and stability in the subcontinent and a major complication in U.S. relations with India and Pakistan. But most American policymakers had concluded that there was little the United States could do either on its own or at the United Nations to help resolve the problem, which by 1964 was in its seventeenth year.

    Washington was also beginning...

  10. 6 Off the Radar Screen—And Back Again
    (pp. 119-151)

    The postwar quiet in India-Pakistan relations and in Kashmir itself reduced even further the attention U.S. policymakers gave to the state during the rest of the 1960s. As the Tashkent agreement stipulated, the two countries withdrew their forces from areas they had seized during the fighting and cut back their military presence along the cease-fire line. Although wholesale rigging again accompanied the elections held in Indian Kashmir in early 1967, they passed peacefully. By December 1967 the Indian government felt secure enough about the situation on the ground in Kashmir to release Sheikh Abdullah from detention, though he was later...

  11. 7 “The Most Dangerous Place in the World”
    (pp. 153-167)

    Two major events in the last years of the 1990s further heightened Washington’s apprehensions about the danger the Kashmir dispute posed for American interests in South Asia and beyond. These were the Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons tests in May 1998 and the armed conflict that followed Pakistan’s seizure of territory on the Indian side of the Line of Control in the remote Kargil area of Kashmir a year later. Many U.S. policymakers and commentators became more convinced than ever that Kashmir was a flash point that could ignite a nuclear war. Some observers called South Asia the most dangerous...

  12. 8 Focus on Crisis Management
    (pp. 169-192)

    In its first months in office, the George W. Bush administration followed Clinton’s pattern in developing better relations with India. This seemed to be one area of Bush foreign policy that demonstrated continuity in contrast to the more typical tendency of the new Republican White House to disparage any strategy that was associated with its predecessor. The administration actively sought new ways to build on the progress that Clinton had made in his visit to India. New Delhi welcomed this heightened U.S. interest, and over the course of the Bush presidency the two countries found many promising new areas for...

  13. 9 A Role for the United States
    (pp. 193-202)

    This account of the American experience in dealing with Kashmir underscores both the difficulty of resolving the problem and the risks to U.S. interests that stem from the parties’ failure to reach a settlement. Kashmir remains one of the “frozen” disputes much written about in conflict resolution literature. These disputes hold back the contenders’ potential for economic development and national security. They inhibit the growth of stable political institutions and robust civil societies in the contested areas. But as the record of the last sixty-one years demonstrates, neither the Indian nor the Pakistan government has perceived that the short-term damage...

  14. Chronology of America’s Role in Kashmir
    (pp. 203-214)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 215-258)
  16. Index
    (pp. 259-272)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 273-273)