INDIA and the United States have concluded a roadmap for defence industry cooperation for the next few years, the two countries said on Monday, a move expected to bolster New Delhi’s defence manufacturing ambitions. The roadmap finalised at a meeting between visiting US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will “fast-track technology cooperation and co-production in areas such as air combat and land mobility systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, munition and the undersea domain. It also includes specific proposals that could provide India access to cutting-edge technologies.
In recent years, one has seen India and the United States enhancing their defence cooperation and the latest development signifies their deepening partnership in this realm. As a result, India stands to gain access to advanced military technologies, equipment which will significantly enhance its defence capabilities. This could potentially tilt the regional military balance in favour of India- something Pakistan cannot sit silent on. Though Pakistan cannot afford an arms race given its economic situation, yet it will be compelled to pursue the path of acquiring such advanced weaponry that counters Indian aggression. Pakistan has historically maintained a close relationship with the US including in the defence sector. However what is being offered to India has never been provided to Pakistan. We understand that all this is being done to counter China. But this would have serious implications given the aggressive and hostile posture of India towards its neighbours. Equipping India with the latest weaponry amounts to exacerbating tension and undermining stability. Stability in this part of the world is crucial for global security and any development that disrupts the existing equilibrium can have far reaching consequences. It is imperative for all the parties involved including the United States to ensure that their enhanced cooperation with India does not lead to an escalation of tension. The important capitals, especially Washington, rather come forward and use their influence on New Delhi for resolution of the long standing Kashmir dispute. The competition must be in the realm of economic development and India must realize that through resolution of the Kashmir dispute, it can divert most of its resources towards eradicating poverty, hunger and backwardness.