How did the events of September 11, 2001 change the situation in South Asia? How did the attitudes of the government of India and Pakistan Change? What opportunities and constraints did they see?
When President George W. Bush declared “war on terror” in response to the 9/11 attacks by members of the “axis of evil” and that our “coalition partner[s] must perform” to prove they are “with us” or else they would be counted as “against us, “ and “be held accountable” for their “inactivity,” India was eager to be counted as “with us.” It had long been fighting its own “war on terror” against Pakistan’s proxies in Kashmir and was eager to form a coalition with the US. But Bush did not consider Pakistan part of the “axis of evil.” In fact, he lauded Pakistan’s President Musharraf for “cracking down on terror” and gave India the cold shoulder. But did Musharraf deserve Bush’s praise and India his disparagement? In order to answer these questions, we must first examine the opportunities and constraints India and Pakistan saw after 9/11. This will elucidate the reason the US allied itself with Pakistan, rather than with India, and the disastrous consequences of this alliance for India, Pakistan, and the US.