New Priorities in South Asia

U.S. Policy Toward India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

South Asia may be halfway around the globe from the United States, but what happens there—as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda tragically underscored—can affect all Americans. After the terrorist attacks and the massing of one million troops on the borders of nuclear-armed India and Pakistan in 2001, the critical importance of South Asia to global and U.S. national security is clear. Securing a moderate Muslim state in Pakistan, consolidating and deepening increasingly important U.S.-India ties, actively encouraging peaceful relations between India and Pakistan, and ensuring an Afghanistan in which terrorists can never again find shelter must be foreign policy priorities for the United States.

Mahnaz Ispahani

Former Senior Fellow for South and West Asia

Dennis Kux

Senior Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center, Senior Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center

This chairmen’s report of the independent Task Force on new priorities in South Asia assesses the strengths and weaknesses of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and recommends how U.S. policy can best take advantage of the opportunities while addressing the dangers that are present. The challenge to U.S. policy over the medium term is to design and implement a stable and sustained approach that will solidify bilateral ties with key countries in the region and give the United States an opportunity to influence major regional developments.

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Diplomacy and International Institutions

The report urges new initiatives to solidify the partnership with an economically and militarily stronger India; carefully calibrated support for Pakistan’s efforts to become a moderate Muslim state; a more active, facilitative U.S. role in the volatile Kashmir conflict; a new framework for—and a close watch on—proliferation issues in the region; and redoubled support for the Hamid Karzai government’s security initiatives in Afghanistan.

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Diplomacy and International Institutions

Task Force Members

Task Force Members:

DAVID D. ARNOLD, American University in Cairo

HARRY G. BARNES JR., Asia Society

RAENU BAROD, Barger and Wolen LLP

BRUCE G. BLAIR, Center for Defense Information


MAYA CHADDA, William Paterson University


LINCOLN CHEN, Harvard University

JOSEPH CIRINICIONE, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

MICHAEL T. CLARK, U.S.-India Business Council

STEPHEN PHILIP COHEN, The Brookings Institution

W. BOWMAN CUTTER, Warburg Pincus

FLORENCEA DAVIS, The Starr Foundation

ROHIT M. DESAI, Desai Capital Management Inc.

BENEDICT F. FITZGERALD, Independent Consultant

FRANCINE R. FRANKEL, University of Pennsylvania

BARRY D. GABERMAN, The Ford Foundation

SUMIT GANGULY, Indiana University, Bloomington

LARRY P. GOODSON, U.S. Army War College

ROBERT M. HATHAWAY, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

KARL F. INDERFURTH, George Washington University

RODNEY W. JONES, Policy Architects International

FAROOQ KATHWARI, Kashmir Study Group

CHARLES R. KAYE, Warburg Pincus

MICHAEL KREPON, The Henry L. Stimson Center

DAVID T. MCLAUGHLIN, The Aspen Institute

SREEDHAR MENON, Viteos Technologies Limited

JOHN MEROW, Sullivan and Cromwell LLP

POLLY NAYAK, independent consultant and Abraxas Corporation

ARVIND PANAGARIYA, University of Maryland at College Park

GEORGE PERKOVICH, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

DANIEL PONEMAN, Forum for International Policy


IMRAN RIFFAT, JP Morgan Investment Bank

PATRICIA L. ROSENFIELD, Carnegie Corporation of New York

BARNETT R. RUBIN, New York University

GEORGE RUPP, The International Rescue Committee

NAFIS SADIK, United Nations


HENRY SCHACHT, Lucent Technologies

HOWARD SCHAFFER, Georgetown University

TERESITA C. SCHAFFER, Center for Strategic and International Studies

LAWRENCE SCHEINMAN, Monterey Institute of International Studies

JED SNYDER, CNA Corporation

KATHY SREEDHAR, UU Holdeen India Fund

S. FREDERICK STARR, Central Asia and Caucasus Institute, SAIS

AJOY VACHHER, The Astor Group

ASHUTOSH VARSHNEY, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

DAVID F.WOLF, Fremont Group

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