- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 1, 2000

India the key to stability in South Asia

I commend your paper's comprehensive look at the dismal state of South Asian stability ("Peace eludes much of South Asia," World Briefing, Dec. 18).
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Among the five nations mentioned, only India meets the criteria of a responsible democracy, fit for a cooperative partnership with the United States and able to serve as a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism to its west and political anarchy and repression to its east. For this reason, U.S. policy in the region rightly should engage India, which practices the ideals the United States long has championed.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Afghanistan already has proved itself a failed state; Pakistan is well on its way to similar pariah status. A brand of constructive engagement with either will remain nearly impossible while both continue to harbor and support Islamic terrorists across the globe. Despite U.S. attempts to convince, press and cajole, no progress has been made toward establishing the first semblance of good governance in either country. However, greater U.S. attention to the region's sole success story only seems to drive the two fundamentalist states into a tighter and more insidious alliance.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;U.S. policy in the region must walk the fine line of praising and encouraging success without alienating the loose cannons. For this reason, President Clinton's visit to the region next year must come at the right time and strike the proper tone. With the threat of nuclear conflagration and greater terrorist activity a constant factor, the United States should help those countries launch a regional peace process as a means of providing structure for a dialogue that does not yet exist in a region short on common ground.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;CAMERON HUDSON

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