Foreign Policy

Explaining Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Escaping India

This book deals with the two underlying principles of Pakistan’s foreign and security policy, from 1947 till the present day. The first principle has been the desire to ‘escape India’ both in the sense of creating a national identity that was anti-India. Pakistan has preferred to be referred to as a Greater Middle Eastern country because being South Asian would mean accepting that Pakistan was part of the greater Indian civilization. The second principle underlying Pakistan’s foreign policy is the desire for parity with India. Parity is sought in every sphere but specifically with respect to military parity (both conventional and nuclear) and economic parity. Pakistan’s leaders have always seen India as the main threat (the so-called ‘existential threat’) and Pakistan’s ties with every country are seen from the prism of its India-centric policy. Pakistan has always sought a pro-Pakistan anti-Indian Afghan government, and has used Islamist organizations to help further its aims, whether the mujahideen in the 1970s-80s or the Taliban since the 1990s. The United States was seen as the superpower ally who would build Pakistan’s resources – economic and military – to stand up to India. When the US appeared reluctant to do so, China was – and still is seen by many Pakistanis – as that mythical ally who will sweep in, build Pakistan and help Pakistan be India’s equal. Pakistan’s leaders have always viewed the countries in the Muslim world, especially Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab countries, as ideological allies in the fight with India. This book provides an in-depth analysis of these issues.


Explaining Pakistan's Foreign Policy: Escaping India was published in 2011 by Routledge Contemporary South Asia

Aparna Pande is Research Fellow & Director of Hudson Institute's Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia as well as Fellow, Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World. Aparna wrote her PhD dissertation on Pakistan's foreign policy. Her major field of interest is South Asia

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