Siddharth Varadarajan

Journalist | Writer | Analyst

U.S. wants India to de-escalate on border with Pakistan

Escalation on the border was entirely on the Pakistani side: India …

20 March 2009
The Hindu

U.S. wants India to de-escalate on border with Pakistan

Siddharth Varadarajan

New Delhi: South Block may have successfully fought off the initial drive to formally extend Richard Holbrooke’s ‘AfPak’ mandate to India but the Obama administration’s Special Representative for the region drew first blood last week, asking New Delhi to draw down its own troop presence on the Pakistan border so that Islamabad can beef up its presence on the Afghan front.

The request that India de-escalate its forces on the border was conveyed to Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon during the latter’s recent visit to Washington, well-placed sources said.

In response, India told the U.S. that any escalation which had taken place on the border in the wake of last November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai was entirely on the Pakistani side. Mr. Holbrooke was also told that India had not deployed additional forces that could now be withdrawn to other locations.

Indian officials believe the redeployment of Pakistani troops to the Indian border in December 2008 was prompted by the military establishment’s desire to talk up the prospect of war with India and thereby divert attention from the complicity of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai incidents. The Obama administration was thus told that Pakistan’s unwillingness to revert to the pre-Mumbai troop deployment pattern had nothing to do with any increased military threat from India.

Though there has been no major redeployment of Indian troops to the border, the Army did extend the duration of its winter exercises in December, in part as a contingency for any unexpected developments.

But the situation now, say officials, is completely normal on the Indian side.

A number of American officials and analysts have made a link between tension on the India-Pakistan border and the war in Afghanistan. Last year, Barnett Rubin and Ahmed Rashid wrote an article in Foreign Affairs proposing a grand bargain aimed at incentivising greater Pakistani contribution to the Afghan war by offering a more sustained international effort at resolving the Kashmir dispute with India in exchange. Both Mr. Rubin and Mr. Rashid have reportedly been hired as advisers by Mr. Holbrooke.

8 comments on “U.S. wants India to de-escalate on border with Pakistan

  1. Anonymous
    April 9, 2009

    No thanks,India will keep troops on the paki line, they are there for a reason to prevent paki terrorist infiltration, work around it if you can or too bad .Sorry India will not undermine its core security intrest . Know that there can “Never” be any solution between India and the pakis. Paki objective is to islamise the sub-continent starting with kashmir at any cost. India must keep “relative peace” by containment of pak , and a expensive thrashing when they cross over to India every time in perputity. Costs and resources have been factored in and will not be compromised at all , slow growth is better than islamist crap. US policy about pakis is foolish to say the least , definatly something not in Indias intrest. To suggest India Pak “peace talks” etc is plain deluded and makes US policy makers look stupid.

  2. Anonymous
    April 9, 2009

    Army commandos take on Taliban in J&K -Kargil 2? needs to target paki military elite and their families if they continue this.

  3. Upmanyu Trivedi
    March 27, 2009

    Considering the high possibility of Afgan style attack by U.S in western part of Pakistan it becomes imperative for India to gaurd its western borders. The attack will force the Taliban militans to spread away. If India does not take precautionary measures, porous Indian border will become an obvious option for Talibans. So the need is to tighten border security without even considering about any such “de-escalation”.

  4. Anonymous
    March 27, 2009

    Their own “experts” say pakis “are ” funding taliban.

  5. kuldeep singh chauhan
    March 23, 2009

    All states have legitimate interests and are free to pursue them as they feel appropriate including India… first it look as a mischievous media implant by psy ops specialists and even if true it would be the same classic old story of US proposes India disposes… seeing the independent streak of our diplomats and policymakers and trackrecord of tenaciously and quitely pursuing our national selfinterest.

  6. Anonymous
    March 22, 2009

    In Afghan & Pak, the Yankees are going to cut their losses and safeguard themselves. Even if that means cutting deals with the Taliban and arming the ISI to the region's detriment. Obama will aim to pull-out US troops in Afghanistan before the next US presidential elections.

  7. Aditya Singh
    March 21, 2009

    Such and unfortunate situation we have here. The foreign secretary who should be questioning US on its policy of putting India’s security at stake for its own self interest in Afghanistan is being told to reduce troops from India’s own border. That US is more worried about its action against Taliban rather than terrorism in general was clear from the way we have been repeatedly asked to give Pakistan a breather after Mumbai so that they don’t move troops from their western border. We cannot depend on any other country to solve our problems. It is time to question US role in militarizing Pakistan to India’s detriment.

  8. Anonymous
    March 21, 2009

    lol, we reduce troops on Indo-paki border so taliban types can infiltrate? Thanks but no thanks. If they insist F@#$ off will be the answer.

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2009 by in Indian Foreign Policy, U.S. Policy in South Asia.



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