An influential group of American business leaders, academics and policy experts has recommended that if Pakistan does not rein in terror, the U.S. stop funding Islamabad’s defense equipment purchases and reimbursing coalition support funds. The task force included Ajay Banga, the Indian American MasterCard CEO and former chairman of the Indo-US Business Council; Ashley J. Tellis, a former U.S. government advisor on nuclear policy and now a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Charles R. Kaye, the co-CEO of the investment company Warburg Pincus; Robert D. Blackwill, the former U.S. ambassador to India and now a senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations; Stephen P. Cohen, senior fellow of the Brookings Institution; Marshall M. Bouton, senior fellow of the Asia Society Policy Instiute; and Nicholas Burns, a former special envoy for the U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act and a professor at Harvard University.
“The U.S. should demand that Pakistan meet its obligations as a state to tackle terrorism emanating from its territory, in both India and Afghanistan,” an Independent Task Force of the Council on Foreign Relations said in a statement Nov. 12. But “if Pakistan is not willing to rein in terror, Washington should be prepared, at minimum, to end U.S. taxpayer funding for defense equipment sales and reimbursement of coalition support funds,” the experts said.
“India is poised for power and prosperity if it can remain focused on its domestic transformation, and the risk of conflict with Pakistan threatens to drag India down,” the task force said in its report, “Working With a Rising India: A Joint Venture for the New Century.”
It added, “India should not have to, nor should it want to, endure further decades of having its strategic options limited by Pakistan.”
As for New Delhi, the report said, “The U.S. should encourage India to improve its relationship with Pakistan — as an investment in its own rise — particularly, at least to start, through greater trade connectivity.” Recognizing India’s concerns about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan which could impact the region, the experts said that the U.S. “should commit to a doctrine stating that future decisions regarding the size, scope, and timeline for deployment of U.S. forces will be determined by on-the-ground realities and not artificially imposed schedules, and without a declared date of departure.”
“Such a move would help assure India and others that U.S. actions will not undermine the goal of long-term regional stability,” they said, and recommended that Washington “extend its commitment to Afghanistan — even beyond President Barack Obama’s decision to slow the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and retain a force of some 5,000 troops in the country into 2017.”
On why New Delhi is important, the report said that India has the capacity to develop into a $10 trillion economy if it keeps the current growth trajectory and this, combined with its national security and global potential, offers the U.S. one of the most substantial opportunities to advance America’s national interests.
In view of this, the experts recommended that Washington give top priority to economic ties with India and collaborate “actively with India to envision a more ambitious economic goal.”
The dividend for the U.S. in this scenario, their report said, is that a wealthier India will be a stronger strategic partner, as it would be able to invest more in its own defense, and be an effective partner in homeland security matters.
The task force acknowledged that Washington’s relations with New Delhi will be unlike that with its conventional allies because of “India’s size, its class-of-its-own sense of self, and its fierce independence” and New Delhi not wanting a formal alliance, and said that it called for a new model of working together.
They said Washington should “emphasize a ‘joint-venture’ model for U.S.-India relations, focused on a slate of shared pursuits on which interests converge and with clear mechanisms for coordinating and managing the known and expected disagreements.”They identified the cyber arena, global health, climate change and clean energy, and democracy building as areas for joint ventures.