South Asia: A Cold War “Quadrilateral” Redux?

Sandy Gordon, in Future Directions International, AsSociate Paper, 15 August 2011


* The emerging “quadrilateral” arrangement in South Asia involving China and Pakistan on the one hand, and the United States and India on the other, is unlikely to give rise to the kind of “locked in” pattern that pertained during significant periods of the Cold War. All parties will want more manoeuvrability and flexibility in relations than was possible under the rigidities of the Cold War.

* Pakistan will be constrained in unreservedly backing the Afghan Taliban, lest that alienate a China concerned about Islamic revolt in its west.

* China will want to see a stable, moderate Af-Pak region, one conducive to its own wider strategic purposes vis-à-vis energy, India, the US and the Indian Ocean.

* The US will want a negotiated arrangement that will allow it to remove the major portion of its forces from Afghanistan with dignity, while preserving the basic stability of the region.

* Although not happy with what it would see as a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2012, India will not be able to ‘go it alone’ in Afghanistan.


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