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In 1971, USA and Pakistan were known to be strong allies or were they?

Why did the USA just pretend to help Pakistan and actually do nothing in the Indo-Pak war of 1971? Why did the 7th fleet not advance? Why did the USA take so long to react? Why did they wait for the UNSC's approval?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Mark C. Wallace, Semaphore, Pieter Geerkens, Steven Drennon Mar 2 '15 at 6:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question is far too broad. Each of your points would be a worthy question by itself. – Joe Nov 3 '12 at 15:20
@Joe Agreed. BROY please narrow the scope of this question (or post as separate questions). Closed until cleaned up. – canadiancreed Nov 3 '12 at 15:48
Simple answer because it was not in their interest. Kissinger answers this exact question in his documentary (although very vaguely). I can't recall the exact text so refraining from replying --but if anyone has that documentary they can post what he said here. – Apoorv Khurasia Dec 5 '12 at 15:52
Also --and this is a personal hypothesis --US wouldn't have wanted a direct armed conflict with a nuclear USSR (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…). The latter sent a nuclear sub into the Indian Ocean soon after the former deployed their warships there. – Apoorv Khurasia Dec 5 '12 at 15:57
Is there evidence for the USA "just pretending" to help Pakistan? Furthermore: Was Pakistan even expecting to be helped by the USA? Was Pakistan in receipt of previous formal (or even informal guarantees) of some sort to such effect? – Felix Goldberg Jan 4 '13 at 12:01
up vote 3 down vote accepted

America was already embroiled in a long (and unpopular) war in Vietnam, which it was trying to extricate itself from. The last thing that the American public wanted at the time was another major war in Asia, with India being much more powerful and populous than North Vietnam.

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US did help Pakistan in all possible ways. It blocked UN action against Pakistan for the genocide it committed, sent military supplies and encouraged countries like Iran and Jordan (which were US allies at that time) to do the same, shielded war criminals from prosecution, sent battle groups to threaten India and so on. In short, it did everything just shy of sending it's soldiers to fight along with Pakistan (which it could not do due to Vietnam War). Final help it did was to reach candid agreement with USSR and India that West Pakistan to be spared. USA is the reason today Pakistan is still on the world map. What more you wanted it to do?

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This answer would be improved by more references and research. – Mark C. Wallace Feb 28 '15 at 22:21
@MarkC.Wallace, he would not be able to do that. – user806 May 7 '15 at 13:33
@BROY Why not? Are there no records of these actions? – Mark C. Wallace May 7 '15 at 13:35
@MarkC.Wallace, most of the things, he described, are his personal assessments. "Final help it did was to reach candid agreement with USSR and India that West Pakistan to be spared." - what does this mean? – user806 May 7 '15 at 23:20

Apart from what bluesman has said, the US is very sensitive to public opinion in matters of foreign policy. Although President Nixon wanted to support Pakistan, he met with a lot of opposition led by Senator Edward Kennedy, who felt that the Government of Pakistan had to be held responsible for the thousands of refugees that entered West Bengal.

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Then, Pakistan was not an ally of USA. The USA just pretended to be an ally. Alliance doesn't exist on the basis of such conditions. The alliance between Soviet Union and India was not like that and was a true alliance. Pakistan should have understood this fact and should have left the US block. – user806 Nov 10 '12 at 16:02
@BROY There is a very significant difference between personal friendships and alliances between governments. While many remain loyal to their personal friends throughout their lives, this is not true for alliances between governments. This is because the merits or demerits of an alliance between governments may not be appreciated by everyone. Moreover, many Americans felt that humanitarian considerations and risk of involvement outweighed considerations of loyalty towards Pakistan. As an Indian, I can say that the USSR too was of not much help to India in its war against China in 1962. – Arani Nov 10 '12 at 16:18