The World Affairs Council of Charleston hosts six speaking events each year, three in each the spring and fall.  During those seasons, come to this page to find information about each upcoming speaker, and the date and time of the event.

"India and Pakistan: The World's Most Dangerous Equation - Always Simmering. Periodically Exploding. Why Don't They Get Along?"

May 15, 2019 at 5:15 PM 
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The Citadel Alumni Center
69 Hagood Ave.
Charleston, SC 29403

Since 1947 when both countries achieved independence, India and Pakistan have fought three wars. One led to Pakistan's loss of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Near wars in the 1990's and early 2000's brought both nations to the brink of disaster.  Both possess, and are expanding, large nuclear arsenals and missile delivery systems that would have devastating consequences if used. The divided Kashmir region is a major source of tension, the scene of frequent terrorist attacks. Many have originated in Pakistan. Both countries have major troop formations and air assets deployed along a Line of Control that divides Kashmir, where domestic unrest is mounting, generating local terrorist incidents and a heavy security presence. 

On February 14, a terrorist attack in Kashmir killed 40 Indian soldiers. Sourcing the attack to Pakistan, India escalated its response to a new level. It  launched air strikes deep within Pakistan, leading to retaliation by the latter, the loss of aircraft, but above all to immediate fears that a war would ensue.  Tensions remain high. Preoccupied by Afghanistan, U.S. attention has waned.  Washington has long sought to promote dialogue but with limited results. The great fear is that another big terrorist incident may push the two neighbors over the brink to a major war.

For 70-plus years, brief gaps of cold peace have alternated with long periods of high tension. Trust between India and Pakistan has never existed.  Is there any way out?   

Our speaker will be Polly Nayak, Distinguished Fellow with the South Asia Program at the Stimson Institute in Washington.  She is one of the nation's leading experts on the fraught India - Pakistan relationship. In recent years, she has been a senior analyst and scholar at the Brookings Institution and Wilson Center and a consultant for government and private sector clients. She previously had a 20 year government career in intelligence and foreign policy.  Between 1995 and 2001, she was the intelligence community's most senior expert and manager on South Asia, helping to shape intelligence support and crisis support to the White House and Congress during periods of very high tension in the region, regularly briefing the President, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Adviser. She is the author and co-author of several books on South Asian crises.  

This meeting will be the 6th and final meeting of the WACC 2018-2019 year!