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Pakistan Table of Contents


Collapse of Pakistan's Security System

Pakistan's tie to the United States was a product of the post-World War II communist containment strategy and the fear of Soviet expansionism. By the end of the 1950s, a number of factors had changed--some to Pakistan's advantage, but others not. The positive factor was the emergence of China as an independent international actor at odds with both the Soviet Union and India, thereby creating new policy options for Pakistan. Less favorable was a decline in international tensions that reduced the United States preoccupation with containment and, hence, Pakistan's value. At the same time, the Eisenhower administration was seeking to reclaim some of the ground it had lost with India, and this trend was strengthened as tensions grew between New Delhi and Beijing, Washington's principal bÍte-noire of the time.

Pakistan was able to profit from Sino-Indian hostility by securing China as an additional source of support, but ties to Beijing were anathema to Washington and caused serious problems in United States-Pakistan relations during the 1960s. Rapprochement between New Delhi and Washington also caused deep concern. Pakistan was appalled when, at the time of the SinoIndian War in 1962, the United States rushed to rearm India without meeting Pakistan's demands that assistance be coupled with effective pressure to force India to settle the Kashmir dispute. The United States reassured Pakistan that India was not arming against Pakistan, but Pakistan realized that the external equalizer it had brought into the subcontinent to make up its security deficit would now be devalued as the United States, at best, played an even-handed role or, at worst, shifted its principal attention to India.

The security situation deteriorated still further as India, which had hitherto spent relatively little on defense, engaged in a major buildup of forces that were primarily aimed at China but could as readily be turned against Pakistan. In addition, after 1964 India took a series of steps to incorporate Kashmir more closely into the Indian union, rendering less likely any negotiations on the matter with Pakistan. Under the circumstances, Pakistan decided that its chances of gaining Kashmir would only deteriorate; hence, it opted for early action.

Data as of April 1994