Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Osamah Khalil


1970s, Bhutto, Indian Ocean, Pakistan, Persian Gulf

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


“From the Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf” assesses Pakistan’s connections to two of the Persian Gulf’s principal actors, Iran and Saudi Arabia from 1971 to 1977. In the aftermath of the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Islamabad began orienting its foreign policy toward the Gulf politically, economically, militarily, and religiously. These relationships in the 1970s established the foundation for Pakistan’s relations with the Gulf in the 1980s and subsequent decades. Utilizing Pakistani news media, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s speeches and statements, memoirs from Pakistani diplomats, and American archival material, I argue that understanding the ways in which Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia interacted with each other in this period helps to explain the cooperation seen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Furthermore, this project sheds light on the importance of regional constructions to foreign policy interests. Islamabad, Tehran, and Riyadh all consciously placed themselves in one interconnected region, aligning the interests of the Persian Gulf with that of the Indian Ocean. The United States was also heavily involved in promoting this regional construction to suit its own foreign policy interests. While the U.S. angle is examined in some detail, this project is largely concerned with the ways in which states in the global south interacted with each other and the implications of these relations.


Open Access



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