Is the USA a strategic ally of India or Pakistan -or both? by @ErnestWAdams
Answer by Ernest W. Adams:
After Partition, India turned its back on Britain and the capitalist West, seeing them as colonial oppressors. It embraced a mild form of Socialism, and became friendly with the USSR, although it remained non-aligned.
Islam is not at all compatible with Communism, however, and Pakistan—as India’s sometime enemy, was friendly to the West.
The USA at the time had a very foolish policy that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” So it treated Pakistan as a friend because Pakistan was the enemy of India and India was friendly with the USSR, which was America’s enemy.
That was sixty years ago. None of this makes a lot of sense today, however. Pakistan now has a lot of extremely conservative Islamists who are hostile to the West, and it is known that they have infiltrated the Pakistani intelligence community. They may have supported terrorism coming from Afghanistan.
In the meanwhile, India’s opening up and reforms have changed it from an impoverished Socialist state to a global powerhouse — not on the level of China yet, but still very important, and reasonably friendly to the United States. The old disdain for the “colonialists” is over. India has pretty good relations with Britain, too, in spite of old wounds.
Today neither one of them is a strategic ally in the geopolitical sense. The USA cannot count on Pakistan’s support in major matters, and it can’t entirely count on India’s either. But India is a functional democracy and there is no risk of it exporting terrorism. From a trade and a cultural perspective, it is more friendly to the US.