It could almost have slipped by unnoticed, but in mid-January on the sidelines of a summit of the Americas, President George Bush made one of the most signiﬁcant pronouncements on the future of US-Indian relations in years. Packaged as a proposal of ‘reciprocal measures’ the new strategy offered a pact: help with India’s civilian space programme in exchange for implementing restrictions aimed at curbing nuclear proliferation. According to Bush the move heralded a new US-India strategic partnership, but in a climate of increasing military aid and spending, how substantial the actual steps will be is highly questionable.
The post-September 11 2001 environment has seen Washington pressing for normal relations between India and Pakistan. At the same time its wider regional policies have exacerbated missile proliferation, which in turn has the potential to create greater instability.