Press Release

Office of the Historian
Foreign Service Institute
United States Department of State
August 8, 2019

This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important foreign policy issues of the Jimmy Carter administration.

This volume documents the Carter administration’s approach to the South Asia region in response to the shifting political landscape at the end of the 1970s. During the first three years of Carter’s presidency, U.S. relations with South Asia were shaped by three contextual factors: tensions over nuclear proliferation, the rivalry between India and Pakistan, and the Carter administration’s preference for developing closer ties with democratically-elected governments. Under this preference, U.S. relations with India improved while relations with Pakistan withered. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late December 1979 led Carter to seek closer relations with Pakistan in order to thwart what his administration feared to be a new era of Soviet expansion. Carter’s efforts to enlist support against the Soviet Union regarding Afghanistan eclipsed the administration’s fear of nuclear proliferation, and U.S. sponsorship of India-Pakistan rapprochement suffered from the U.S. attempt to send Pakistan large scale military aid and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s refusal to condemn the Soviet invasion

The volume also includes documentation on the Carter administration’s policy towards Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. While issues such as the attempted coup d’état in Bangladesh in 1977 and Bangladesh’s membership in the United Nations Security Council during the Iranian hostage crisis brought Bangladesh in conflict with the Carter administration, relations toward these countries were largely subject to policy objectives relating to India and Pakistan. The promotion of democratic governance and human rights, along with food aid, represented the significant policy initiatives towards these countries.

This volume was compiled and edited by Seth A. Rotramel. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Publishing Office online at (GPO S/N 044-000-02699-6; ISBN 978-0-16-095156-5), or by calling toll-free 1-866-512-1800 (D.C. area 202-512-1800). For further information, contact