Report Assails U.S. Policy toward India, Pakistan: Criticizes Efforts for Complete Ban on Nuclear Weapons

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Efforts to roll back Indo-Pakistani nuclear capabilities are tying U.S. policy in knots and should be dropped in the interest of improving relations with both countries, a policy group urged in a report released yesterday.

Not only have U.S. efforts failed to produce a change of course in India and Pakistan, the panel said, but "they have constricted bilateral relations with both countries."

Instead of a total nuclear rollback, the panel said, the United States should seek more limited steps such as preventing the two countries from testing or deploying nuclear weapons or exporting missile-related materials.

The report, "A New U.S. Policy Toward India and Pakistan," was prepared by a task force chaired by Richard Haass of the Brookings Institution and directed by Gideon Rose, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In another departure from traditional U.S. policy, the panel called on the United States to seek "positive improvements in relations with both countries, as opposed to the either/or approach that marked past U.S. efforts to deal with the rivalry" between India and Pakistan.

The report found that U.S. relations with the two South Asian states have been "hamstrung" and that actions on matters involving U.S. interests "have been held hostage by the unrealistic focus of rolling back the Indian and Pakistani nuclear programs."

The United States should recognize India's growing importance as a major power and cooperate with it militarily while at the same time restoring close working relations with Pakistan, the report said. …