US DoD 1999 Forecast: "Pakistan Disappears By 2015"

Asia 2025, a US Defense Department Study produced in summer of 1999, forecast that Pakistan would "disappear" as an independent state by 2015. It further forecast that Pakistan would become part of a "South Asian Superstate" controlled by India as a "regional hegemon".  Two Indian-American "South Asia experts" contributed to this study.  Much of the forecast in its "New South Asian Order" section appears to be wishful thinking of its Indian contributors.

New South Asian Order:

Here are the Key Points of Pentagon's Asia 2025 Report on South Asia region:

1. Pakistan is "near collapse" in 2010 while India is making "broad progress".

2.  Iranian "moderation" in 2010 while Afghanistan remains "anarchic hotbed".

3. Pakistan is "paralyzed" after an "Indo-Pak war 2012".

4. US launches conventional strike on "remaining Pakistan nukes" after the "Indo-Pak war 2012.

5. China "blinks at US-India Collusion".

6. Pakistan "disappears".

Indian-American Contributors: 

The list of people who contributed to this study included two Indian-Americans:  Ashley Tellis and Rajan Memon. Both of these gentlemen are considered "leading South Asia experts" in the United States.  Much of the forecast in "New South Asia Order" appears to be wishful thinking of these two Indian-American contributors.

Ashley J. Tellis is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues.  He was with the US government think tank  RAND Corp at the time the Asia 2025 report was written.

Rajan Menon is currently professor of political science at the City University of New York. He was teaching at Lehigh University back in 1999.

Earlier Forecasts of Pakistan's "Collapse":

Western and Indian forecasts of Pakistan's collapse are not new.  Lord Mountbatten, the British Viceroy of India who oversaw the partition agreed with the assessment of Pakistan made by India's leaders when he described Pakistan as a "Nissen hut" or a "temporary tent" in a conversation with Jawarhar Lal Nehru.

Here's the exact quote from Mountbatten: "administratively it [wa]s the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned we are putting up a tent. We can do no more." The Brits and the Hindu leadership of India both fully expected Pakistan to fold soon after partition.

Dire Post-911 Forecasts of Pakistan's Demise: 

Many western analysts have forecast Pakistan's demise as Pakistan struggles to deal with terrorism at home. Among them is former President George W. Bush's adviser David Kilcullen.

"We're now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state, also because of the global financial crisis, which just exacerbates all these problems. . . . The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover -- that would dwarf everything we've seen in the war on terror today", said Bush Iraq adviser, David Kilcullen, on the eve of Pakistan Day in 2009 commemorating Pakistan Resolution of 1940 that started the Pakistan Movement leading to the creation of the nation on August 14, 1947. Kilcullen is not alone in the belief that Pakistani state is in danger of collapse.

Others, such as Shahan Mufti of the Global Post, argued in 2009 that Pakistan is dying a slow death with each act of terrorism on its soil.

Resilient Pakistan:

Pakistan has defied many dire forecasts of doom and gloom since its birth. Some Indian and western writers and journalists present caricatures of Pakistan that bear no resemblance to reality.  They portray Pakistan as a artificial and deeply divided failed state. What they fail to see is  Pakistan is not one or two dimensional; it's much more complex as explained by Christophe Jaffrelot in his book "The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience".

Political, military, religious, ethnic, sectarian, secular,  conservative and liberal forces are constantly pushing and pulling to destabilize it but Pakistan remains resilient with its strong nationalism that has evolved after 1971. Pakistan is neither a delusion nor owned by mullahs or military as claimed by some of Pakistan's detractors.

In a 2015 Op Ed for NDTV titled "What Modi Has Not Recognized About Pakistan", Indian politician Mani Shankar Aiyar recognized Pakistani nationalism as follows:

"..unlike numerous other emerging nations, particularly in Africa, the Idea of Pakistan has repeatedly trumped fissiparous tendencies, especially since Pakistan assumed its present form in 1971. And its institutions have withstood repeated buffeting that almost anywhere elsewhere would have resulted in the State crumbling. Despite numerous dire forecasts of imminently proving to be a "failed state", Pakistan has survived, bouncing back every now and then as a recognizable democracy with a popularly elected civilian government, the military in the wings but politics very much centre-stage, linguistic and regional groups pulling and pushing, sectarian factions murdering each other, but the Government of Pakistan remaining in charge, and the military stepping in to rescue the nation from chaos every time Pakistan appeared on the knife's edge. The disintegration of Pakistan has been predicted often enough, most passionately now that internally-generated terrorism and externally sponsored religious extremism are consistently taking on the state to the point that the army is so engaged in full-time and full-scale operations in the north-west of the country bordering Afghanistan that some 40,000 lives have been lost in the battle against fanaticism and insurgency".


A 1999 US Defense Department study titled "Asia 2025" forecast Pakistan's collapse by 2015.  It further said that Pakistan would become part of a "South Asian Superstate" controlled by India as a "regional hegemon". Two of the study's contributors were "South Asia experts" of Indian origin. Much of the South Asia section of this study appears to be wishful thinking rather than serious analysis.  Resilient Pakistan has defied this and many other similar forecasts of its demise since its birth. 


Riaz Haq said…
The India Dividend
New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia
By Robert D. Blackwill And Ashley J. Tellis September/October 2019


U.S.-Indian relations underwent a dramatic change soon after Bush assumed the presidency, in 2001. After decades of alienation, Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, had already made some headway with a successful visit to New Delhi in March 2000. But a major point of friction remained: the insistence that relations could not improve unless India gave up its nuclear weapons, first developed in the 1970s, in the face of opposition from Washington.

Bush sought to accelerate cooperation with India in ways that would overcome existing disagreements and help both sides navigate the new century. Although the war on terrorism provided a first opportunity for cooperation (since both countries faced a threat from jihadist organzations), a larger mutual challenge lay over the horizon: China’s rise. Considering its long-standing border disputes with China, Chinese support for its archrival Pakistan, and China’s growing weight in South Asia and beyond, India had major concerns about China. In particular, leaders in New Delhi feared that a too-powerful China could abridge the freedom and security of weaker neighbors. The United States, for its part, was beginning to view China’s rise as a threat to allies such as Taiwan and Japan. Washington also worried about Beijing’s ambitions to have China gradually replace the United States as the key security provider in Asia and its increasingly vocal opposition to a global system underpinned by U.S. primacy. Where China was concerned, U.S. and Indian national interests intersected. Washington sought to maintain stability in Asia through an order based not on Chinese supremacy but on security and autonomy for all states in the region. India, driven by its own fears of Chinese domination, supported Washington’s vision over Beijing’s.

For India, neutralizing the hazards posed by a growing China required revitalizing its own power—in other words, becoming a great power itself. But Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his successors recognized that, in the short term, they could not reach this goal on their own. India’s fractious democracy, institutional weaknesses, and passive strategic culture would impede the rapid accumulation of national power. Concerted support from external powers could mitigate these weaknesses—and no foreign partner mattered as much as the United States. American assistance could make the difference between effective balancing and a losing bet.

The Bush administration appreciated India’s predicament. After many hard-fought bureaucratic battles, it came to accept the central argument we had been articulating from the U.S. embassy in New Delhi: that the United States should set aside its standing nonproliferation policy in regard to India as a means of building the latter’s power to balance China. Washington thus began to convey its support for New Delhi in ways that would have seemed unimaginable a few years earlier. The United States started to work with India in four arenas in which India’s possession of nuclear weapons had previously made meaningful cooperation all but impossible: civilian nuclear safety, civilian space programs, high-tech trade, and missile defense. That step laid the foundation for the achievement of Bush’s second term, the civilian nuclear agreement, which inaugurated resumed cooperation with New Delhi on civilian nuclear energy without requiring it to give up its nuclear weapons.
Riaz Haq said…
The India Dividend
New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia
By Robert D. Blackwill And Ashley J. Tellis

U.S. President Donald Trump has complicated this relationship. His administration has shifted from strategic altruism to a narrower and more self-centered conception of U.S. national interests. Its “America first” vision has upturned the post–World War II compact that the United States would accept asymmetric burdens for its friends with the knowledge that the collective success of democratic states would serve Washington’s interests in its struggle against greater authoritarian threats. India, of course, had been a beneficiary of this bargain since at least 2001.

In some ways, U.S.-Indian relations have changed less in the Trump era than one might expect. There are several reasons for this continuity. For one, New Delhi saw foreign policy opportunities in Trump’s victory—such as the possibility of improved U.S. relations with Russia, a longtime Indian ally, and more restraint in the use of force abroad, giving India more sway to advance its vision of a multipolar global order. It was also believed that Trump might put less pressure on India regarding its climate policies and its relations with Pakistan. 

Above all, India’s fundamental security calculus hasn’t changed. Leaders in New Delhi are still convinced that China is bent on replacing the United States as the primary power in Asia, that this outcome would be exceedingly bad for India, and that only a strong partnership with the United States can prevent it. As one senior Indian policymaker told us, China’s rise “is so momentous that it should make every other government reexamine the basic principles of its foreign policy.” 

New Delhi particularly worries that China is encircling India with a “string of pearls”—a collection of naval bases and dual-use facilities in the Indian Ocean that will threaten its security. A Chinese-funded shipping hub in Sri Lanka and a Chinese-controlled deep-water port in Pakistan have attracted particular concern. China has also invested $46 billion in a segment of its Belt and Road Initiative that crosses through Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan. China’s economic, political, and military support for Pakistan, India’s enemy of seven decades and adversary in three major wars, suggest that China is working to establish a local counterweight to India.
Riaz Haq said…
Late Prime Minister #Nehru of #India on #Pakistan in a speech at #AligarhMuslimUniversity in 1948. " Pakistan has come into being, rather unnaturally I think. Nevertheless, it represents the urges of a large number of persons. "

Pakistan has come into being, rather unnaturally I think. Nevertheless, it represents the urges of a large number of persons. I believe that this development has been a throwback but we accepted it in good faith. I want you to understand clearly what our present view is. We have been charged with desiring to strangle and crush Pakistan and to force it into a reunion with India. That charge, as many others, is based on fear and a complete misunderstanding of our attitude. I believe that, for a variety of reasons, it is inevitable that India and Pakistan should draw closer to each other, or else they will come into conflict. There is no middle way, for we have known each other too long to be indifferent neighbours. I believe indeed that in the present context of the world India must develop a closer union with many other neighbouring countries. But all this does not mean any desire to strangle or compel Pakistan. Compulsion there can never be, and an attempt to disrupt Pakistan would recoil to India's disadvantage. If we had wanted to break Pakistan, why did we agree to the partition? It was easier to prevent it then than to try to do so now after all that has happened. There is no going back in history. As a matter of fact it is to India's advantage that Pakistan should be a secure and prosperous State with which we can develop close and friendly relations. If today by any chance I were offered the reunion of India and Pakistan, I would decline it for obvious reasons. I do not want to carry the burden of Pakistan's great problems. I have enough of my own. Any closer association must come out of a normal process and in a friendly way which does not end Pakistan as a State, but makes it an equal part of a larger union in which several countries might be associated.
Riaz Haq said…
Excerpt from "Has China Won?" by Kishore Mahbubabi:

In Chinese political culture, the biggest fear is of chaos. The Chinese have a word for it: lu├án (). Given these many long periods of suffering from chaos—including one as recent as the century of humiliation from the Opium War of 1842 to the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949—when the Chinese people are given a choice between strong central control and the chaos of political competition, they have a reflexive tendency to choose strong central control. This long history and political culture may well explain Xi Jinping’s decision to remove term limits. The conventional Western view is that he did so to reap personal rewards by becoming dictator for life. Yet, his decision may have been motivated by the view that China faced a real danger of slipping back into chaos. Two major challenges emerged that could have undermined the strong central control of the CCP. The first was the emergence of factions in the CCP led by Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, two powerful members of the CCP. The second was the explosion of corruption. The rampant capitalism unleashed by Deng Xiaoping after the Four Modernizations policy in 1978 had led to massive economic growth as well as the accumulation of large personal fortunes. The temptation to use these huge fortunes to influence public policies was perfectly natural. If these twin threats of factionalism and corruption had not been effectively killed, the CCP could well have lost its legitimacy and political control. Against the backdrop of these major political challenges and the longer sweep of Chinese history, it was perfectly natural for Xi to reassert strong central control to keep China together.

Mahbubani, Kishore. Has China Won? (pp. 136-137). PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.
Riaz Haq said…
Indian-American analyst Ashley Tellis talking with Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel:

US-India nuclear deal is one-in-a-lifetime achieving

Chinese policymakers do not believe India's goal of "strategic independence" will prevent a real alliance with US against China

India has huge advantage over China in air and on the sea

In terms of ground forces where India spends its biggest chunk of defense budget, the best India can achieve vis-a-vis China or Pakistan is a stand-off (38 minutes)
Riaz Haq said…
Non-Allied Forever: India’s Grand Strategy According to Subrahmanyam Jaishankar - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Ashley Tellis review of Jaishankar’s book

The conviction that “India has little choice but to pursue a mix of multiple approaches, some orthodox and others more imaginative” (6)—all involving diverse partnerships, where “leveraging them all may not be easy but [is] still no less necessary for that” (7)—is colored significantly by the Trump presidency during which Jaishankar’s book was published. This era shaped several of his key assessments: that there is a growing diffusion of power internationally, with the United States no longer the fountainhead of order; that a consequential fracturing of globalization exemplified by protectionism and reshoring has occurred; and that the postwar international system has irretrievably eroded thanks to both Trump’s refusal to uphold Washington’s external obligations and the recrudescence of nationalism, parochialism, and identity politics within the United States and abroad. All together, these judgments lead Jaishankar inevitably to the conclusion that New Delhi faces not so much “the end of history” but rather an unmistakable “return to history” (111) characterized by renewed self-regarding behaviors, international contestation, and above all, “the natural state of the world,” which is “multipolarity” (12).

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