Indo-US threatening defence relations

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi, without mincing words, has expressed serious concerns over growing Indo-US defence relations presenting threats to regional peace and security. As a seasoned diplomat, Fatemi must be in the know of every dimension of the emerging scenario and its implications for the region and especially for Pakistan and therefore, his statement deserves serious consideration.
Similar concerns have also been raised time and again by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz warning that growing US-India military nexus is disturbing strategic balance in South Asia. The fact remains that beginning from strategic nuclear accord in 2005 and defence framework agreement in 2008, military collaboration between the United States and India has been assuming new and serious dimensions with the passage of time and now Washington has declared New Delhi as ‘Major Defence Partner’. During last visit to Narendra Modi to the United States, an understanding was reached between the two sides to give licence-free access to India to a wide range of dual-range technologies. Apart from diplomatic offensive launched by the United States to clear the way for provision of all sorts of nuclear technologies and equipment for India, a US company Westinghouse Electric has signed an agreement with Nuclear Corporation of India for construction of six nuclear power plants, which would be largest project of its kind. The two countries have also agreed in principle to sign a Logistics Support Agreement that would allow the two militaries to use each other’s land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest. Geo-strategic experts point out that with its gradual disengagement from Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is now focusing on Asia-Pacific region redefining it as ‘Indo-Pacific’ region as part of the plan to counter rising China. However, in view of track record of its hostility towards Pakistan, India’s sharpening of military teeth with the active cooperation of the United States is more of a concern to Pakistan than China, which has gained enough muscles to take care of its defence and security. Therefore, our policy-makers including Tariq Fatemi should carry out deeper analysis of the emerging formidable threat, take the nation into confidence and let the Parliament hold a comprehensive debate on the issue to crystallize things and help formulate a realistic and effective response.

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