The US, India and Pakistan: After Mumbai?

World Affairs Discussions Luncheon

Presenter: Tom McDermott, Former Chief of Mission, UNICEF Pakistan and Former Deputy Director, UNICEF India

Location: Santa Fe Hilton, 100 Sandoval Street

Cost: $25/Members; $32/Non-members & Guests

Reservation Deadline:  Monday, February 23, 2009


McDermott’s presentation will set the stage for table discussions on US policy for South Asia in the wake of November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai. These attacks served as a startling reminder to US policy makers that the long-neglected dispute over Kashmir remains the central conflict between two nuclear-armed neighbors. Since 9/11 the US has viewed the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal regions as a battle with fundamentalist forces, but to what degree did these conflicts actually grow out of the same competition seen in Kashmir?. This leads to the question of what could develop out of the region’s other neglected conflicts and what – if anything – the US can do about it.

Some discussion questions:

  • Can the US play a positive role in achieving a settlement of Kashmir or other conflicts of the region? If so, what?
  • What role should we expect of other regional players – China, Russia, Iran, and the Gulf states?
  • What roles do we see India and Pakistan play in achieving “stability” in Afghanistan?
  • Pakistan faces serious internal problems – both between fundamentalist and modernist forces, and between its civilian and military leadership. What can the US do to help achieve a stable and successful outcome? What happens if such efforts fail?

About the Presenter:

Tom McDermott first went abroad in 1967 to work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India, returning to India in 1989 as Deputy Director of UNICEF’s operations in the country and later heading UNICEF’s mission in Pakistan. McDermott also served with American voluntary agencies in Indonesia and Bangladesh, and then for worked for the UN in many countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. During the war in Bosnia he served as Special Representative to the Six Countries of former Yugoslavia. His final post before retiring from the UN at the end of 2006 was in Jordan, where he served from 2001 to 2006 as Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Tom has an undergraduate degree from Fordham University and a graduate degree from Harvard University. He is on the CIR Board of Directors where he is responsible for External Relations and Community Liaison. He also serves on the Board of Directors of NMSU’s International Relations Institute at Las Cruces.

Reading suggestions:

  • Descent into Chaos: the United States and the Failure of Nation Building by Ahmed Rashid
  • Kashmir by Sumantra Bose
  • In Spite of the Gods: the Strange Rise of Modern India by Edward Luce[wpsf_product prodid=”46″]