Dangerous strategic landscape in South Asia

REPORTS of American media and foreign policy experts that the United States has decided to lean completely towards India have gained further credibility with the signing of the latest defence agreement by the two countries about which US magazine Forbes had warned in an article “China and Pakistan beware – India and US sign major war pact”. The nature of the accord has evoked similar apprehensions and comments by other commentators in the US media.
This should serve as an alarm bell both for China and Pakistan despite the fact that the US media has described it as a key part of the Obama administration’s strategy to contain China, which has been spreading its influence across Asia. However, there is marked difference between Indo-US collusion – to contain China is prime concern of Washington while imperilling security of Pakistan has long been the design of New Delhi. While China is building linkages and forging economic collaboration with the continent and beyond purely to promote peace, security and amity, the Indo-US move bodes ill as it is designed both against China and Pakistan and therefore, one can see heightened tension in the region in months and years to come. This is evident from provisions of the logistics agreement, which provides for each country to use the other for supplies, spare parts, services and refuelling. Effectively, US armed forces can operate out of Indian bases, and India can use US bases across the globe. The magnitude of the threat can also be gauged by the fact that, according to reports, the US Navy planned to deploy 60 per cent of its surface ships in the Indo-Pacific in the near future. India is also having negotiations with the United States for acquisition of carry jet engine technology and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This is surely part of well-thought-out strategic re-alignment in the region as India is ready to risk Russian displeasure for its new-found alliance with the United States. Seen in the backdrop of unprecedented nuclear collaboration between the two countries and willingness of many other states to sharpen India’s nuclear teeth, there are reasons both for China and Pakistan to worry about and take necessary measures to safeguard their interests. Apart from economic cooperation under the framework of CPEC, they should also review their defence ties and re-orient them to meet the emerging challenge.

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