Ukraine crisis: India exposed as untrustworthy strategic partner | By Col Muhammad Hanif (R)

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Ukraine crisis: India exposed as untrustworthy strategic partner

THE Ukraine crisis is not a mere war between Russia and Ukraine, it is turning out to be a cold/hot war between Russia and the US/NATO member states.

A few months earlier, Russia had declared that making Ukraine and Georgia the NATO members and stationing of the NATO forces there are red lines for its security.

These demands were handed over in written to the US and NATO officials by Russia and subsequently, negotiations were held on these Russian demands at the diplomatic level and between the Presidents of Russia and the US.

The US and NATO leaders did not agree to the Russian demands and Ukraine President also insisted that Ukraine should be made a NATO member.

As a consequence on 22 February 2022,the Russian President ordered special military action against Ukraine with the stated objectives that the operation was meant to dissuade Ukraine from becoming a NATO member and to demilitarize Ukraine.

This war has started, when the US had mainly made alliances as part of its Asia Pivot or Asia-Pacific policy, later named as Indo-Pacific strategy making India its lynchpin aimed at containing China’s peaceful rise as a superpower.

As part of this, in the post cold war scenario, the US had courted India by going out of the way to sign nuclear deal and an agreement of strategic partnership with it.

Subsequently, after signing few important defence related agreements with India like, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA),the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA),and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) with the provision of both countries sharing military logistics, mutual communications and real-time intelligence, allowing India to get sensitive satellite and sensor data with safeguards to hit enemy targets with pinpoint accuracy, the US had also declared India as its major defence parner.

The designation “is a status unique to India”, which facilitates defence trade and technology-sharing with India to a level at par with that of the United States’ closest allies, like the UK, Japan and Australia.”.

In reality, India had become a major defence partner of the US mainly to get the US sensitive defence technology and economic investment to become a major economic and military power and not really to act as a bulwark to contain China, whereas the US had thought that India would be its main partner in containing China’s rise as a superpower.

By becoming a major world power, whereas India wanted to negotiate its border dispute with China from a position of strength, it also aspired to become an undisputed regional power by suppressing Pakistan through its so called superior defence weapons and the weakening of Pakistan’s economy by damaging its relations with the US by misleading about Pakistan’s CPEC based strategic relations with China to stop Pakistan’s economic cooperation with the US, whereas factually the CPEC is purely an economic and trade related project.

However, while becoming the USA’s major defence partner, India had also signed an agreement of strategic partnership with Russia by calling Russia as its best strategic partner with a wide array of military and economic relations.

Recently, India has also purchased a S-4oo anti missile defence system from Russia despite the US warnings of sanctions under CASTA.

Hence, India becoming a close defence partner of the US and the best strategic partner of Russia at the same time indicated that it was aiming to draw economic and military benefits from the US as well as Russia and had no intention to become a US partner to contain China and Russia as expected by the US and it also indicated that it will not support Russia against the US.

As a response to Russia’s military action against Ukraine while the US and NATO/EU countries have clamped wide ranging economic sanctions against Russia, they are providing economic and military assistance to Ukraine and they are making efforts to diplomatically isolate Russia.

As part of their efforts to isolate Russia diplomatically, the US and EU countries initially presented a resolution in the UNSC for passage to term, Russia’s military action as an aggression and condemn Russia on that account.

Before voting on that resolution, while the US asked India as its major defence partner to vote in favour of the resolution, Russia asked India as its best strategic partner to side with it by voting against the resolution.

During the voting, although the resolution was passed, India abstained to vote and disappointed both the US/NATO countries as well as Russia.

Then a similar resolution was brought by the US/NATO countries in the UN General Assembly to condemn Russia’s military action against Ukraine as an aggression, which although was passed, but India again abstained from voting again disappointing both sides, the US/NATO countries and Russia.

Hence, as has been indicated above, India proved that it is not a trustworthy friend neither as a major defence partner of the US nor as the best strategic partner of Russia and instead it is only interested to get modern civil/military technology/weapons and economic investment from both sides.

Mainly, India has clearly indicated to the US that it isnot going to be part of its strategy of containing Russia and not even China.

Therefore, for the US and Russia it would be prudent to recognize that as compared with India, Pakistan’s foreign policy declaration that it will not join any military block and instead, it will always support peace in the world and will not become a part of any war is more transparent, as it will not deceive any major power just to get benefits as India is doing.

Instead, Pakistan’s policy is to develop friendship with all countries on a bilateral basis with enmity with none.

In this context, whereas Pakistan wants to develop good bilateral relations with all major powers and other countries, even with India, Pakistan would like to have friendly relations if India resolves the Kashmir and other disputes with Pakistan based on the UN resolutions and bilateral agreements and that future bilateral relations are conducted based on equality and mutual respect.

In view of above stated India’s uncertain and deceptive foreign policy and Pakistan’s clear foreign policy objectives, it is hoped that while conducting their foreign relations with India, the US/NATO countries and Russia will also develop good economic and military relations with Pakistan.

This is more logical because, if India, after getting so much economic and military assistance from the US and Russia is not sincere to either, then why to constrain the development of their relations with Pakistan just because India does not want that and why they be misled by India about Pakistan’s CPEC related strategic relations with China.

—The writer is also a former Research Fellow of IPRI and Senior Research Fellow of SVI Islamabad.

 

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