‘We have to tread warily’: East Pakistan, India and the pitfalls of foreign intervention in the Cold War

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Abstract

This article examines the East Pakistan crisis of 1971 as a watershed moment in Cold War humanitarian politics. It argues that the absence of an effective international framework of multilateral foreign intervention or peacekeeping forced the key external actors to resort to covert forms of intervention, while publicly pledging adherence to non-interference in the domestic affairs of Pakistan. The article demonstrates that covert intervention by India, the United States and the United Nations not only undermined the credibility of the Cold War international system, but also fuelled the drift to the Indo-Pakistani war that ultimately ended the crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalCold War History
Early online date28 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022, The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Funding: This work was supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation [AZ 16/F/18].

Keywords

  • East Pakistan
  • Foreign Intervention
  • Humanitarianism
  • Human Rights
  • Indo-Pakistani Conflict

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