Addressing Pakistan's Paranoia

Addressing Pakistan's Paranoia

Harvard International Review, 22 January 2010

India-Pakistan relations are cantankerous. Pakistan is hostage to religious extremists desirous of shaping the state into a perfect Islamic entity. Conditions of social strife at home and confrontation with India have resulted. Moreover, certain developments since 1947, such as the growth of the Indian Muslim population and its assimilation into the Indian democratic polity, undermine the raison d'etre of Pakistan as the subcontinent's Muslim homeland. Such developments have deepened rifts within Pakistani society. Added to this mix are Pakistani perceptions of a hostile India and a friendly United States, among others, targeting its nuclear arsenal and dictating its options in Afghanistan. What has emerged is a full-blown paranoid state driven less by sensible strategy than by defiance. Hence, Pakistan lives on edge, cultivating jihadi insurgents and proliferating nuclear materials. India has responded with a generally reactive policy, as Shivshankar Menon details ("Hostile Relations," Fall 2009). Consequently, Pakistan uses the only leverage it has against India: terrorism.

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