Pakistan apprehensive of US-India defence deal

Published: August 31, 2016
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Independent observers also believe that the agreement would irk China and Pakistan, who are currently working on $46 billion CPEC project that apparently upsets both Washington and New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP

Independent observers also believe that the agreement would irk China and Pakistan, who are currently working on $46 billion CPEC project that apparently upsets both Washington and New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is assessing the possible ramifications of an agreement signed between the United States and India that would allow the two countries to use each other’s land, air and naval bases even though Washington assured Islamabad that the military logistics pact would not jeopardise the country’s strategic interests.

The agreement signed by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parikar on Monday is seen as part of efforts by the two countries to counter the growing maritime assertiveness of China, especially in the South China Sea.

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Although there was no official reaction yet from Pakistan, officials privately admitted that the Indo-US agreement could alter the strategic balance in the already volatile region.

Officials said the concerned authorities were looking into the details of the agreement and its possible negative  fall interests as well as national security.’

The development comes at a time when relations between Pakistan and India are strained by the ongoing violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

It also coincides with a period in which Islamabad is increasingly concerned over a series of recent decisions by Washington to block military assistance as well as funds to purchase of F-16 fighter jets.

Last week senior US officials travelled to Islamabad to address Pakistan’s concerns over the defence pact, according to diplomatic sources.

Sources added that Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for South Asia Dr Peter Lavoy and US Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Olson assured Pakistani authorities that Indo-US agreement would not hurt Islamabad’s interests.

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However, background discussions with officials in Islamabad suggested that Pakistan was left unconvinced and considers the pact with great ‘concerns and suspicion.’

Independent observers also believe that the agreement would irk China and Pakistan, who are currently working on $46 billion CPEC project that apparently upsets both Washington and New Delhi.

Officially, China on Tuesday offered a guarded reaction to the agreement.

“We have noted the relevant report. Hope that this cooperation between India and the US would work to promote stability and development of the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in response to a question about the Indo-US Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

“For such normal cooperation between the two sides we are glad to see it happen,” she added.

However, an editorial in the Chinese state-run Global Times titled “Is India heading toward alliance with US?” urged India not to give up its neutrality.

“Due to its non-alignment policy, India has been given attention from all the major powers such as the US, Japan, China and Russia in recent years. Now is arguably a time when India has the most room for strategic manoeuvring.”

Uncle Sam’s tight India embrace

But the daily warned that a hasty alliance with the US could undermine Indian security instead of bolstering it.

“If India hastily joins the US alliance system, it may irritate China, Pakistan or even Russia. It may not make India feel safer, but will bring strategic troubles to itself and make itself a centre of geopolitical rivalries in Asia.”

No US bases in India

The agreement signed between US and India on Monday will only govern the use of each other’s land, air and naval bases for repair and resupply but does not foresee exclusive bases.

The agreement, a relatively mundane one concerning day-to-day military logistics, is considered a milestone in the US-India defense relationship because of the outsized political importance it had taken on in India. But both Carter and Parrikar clarified that the agreement did not allow for basing US troops in India.

“It’s not a basing agreement of any kind,” Carter said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the setting up of base. It’s basically logistics support to each other’s fleet, like supply of fuel, supply of many other things which are required for joint operations, humanitarian assistance and many other relief operations,” Parrikar added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2016.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Observer
    Aug 31, 2016 - 8:49AM

    The US-India defense cooperation is not directed against Pakistan, as it is China specific. However, when Chinese security threats are addressed, Pakistani threats will automatically be covered, which is implicit in the agreement. Therefore Pakistan has legitimate reasons to be concerned about this US-India partnership, although it might have no choice to deal with it, other than putting all its eggs in the China basket and hope for the best.Recommend

  • abreez
    Aug 31, 2016 - 8:57AM

    As soon as Pakistan will decide that it’ll not help USA in ‘three trillion-dollar trade’, America will leave no other option other than ‘healthy relations with Pakistan’. But in Pakistan every high ranking government employee and influential politician is planning to spend his/her retirement either in Europe or in USA.Recommend

  • point
    Aug 31, 2016 - 9:10AM

    The whole problem in Pakistan is that our military and govt has different agenda compared to general public. When public has faced only terror and negativity all public especially us people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa clearly wants to have a very friendly tie with India and Afghanistan based on friendship and mutual understanding and we wish there was an economic agreement. On the other the side the whole Pakistan is run by few and by Punjab being hub, This has led to downfall of this country when all our leaders want is to live on dollar and make useless comments.

    I urgue the kashmiris of IOK to at least look at the condition of Pakistan and think for a while and so for Pakistan to stop interfering. I am pretty sure Indian govt. is willing to provide jobs, facilities etc. which Pakistan govt can never provide to Kashmir unless it was Lahore!!

    The whole spending of Pakistan will only be used on Lahore and surroundings!!
    I also want to clarify here that we pushtons have totally no hatred towards india. We simply wish that there was love and friendly relationships without interfarance. We strongly hate hafiz saeed who is extremely hated by Pushtons in KP for his evilness.Recommend

  • Black Hawk
    Aug 31, 2016 - 9:20AM

    Pakistan’s & Chinese apprehension at the US-India defense alliance is hypocritical, given the fact that they have an agreement as per which an entire Pakistani port (Gwadar) is to be handed out to the Chinese. China started this geo-political game by meddling in India’s neighborhood & allying with a country hostile to India but now India will play this game better because while India has hostility with just one country but China has hostility with many. India will now challenge China in its own backyard by allying with US, Japan, Australia, Phillipines, Vietnam, Taiwan & others. Let the games begin.Recommend

  • BasicFact
    Aug 31, 2016 - 9:22AM

    I see pakistanis are still begging for F-16s even though US has offered to shift the entire manufacturing base of the jet to India Recommend

  • Wellwisher
    Aug 31, 2016 - 9:53AM

    Pakistan too can demand such an agreement with USA. Nobody will object. Because the agreement is only for logistics.Recommend

  • Unknown
    Aug 31, 2016 - 10:03AM

    @Black Hawk:

    Lolllllllll…. Wake up kid. Its not India who is playing games, its US who is playing game and India is just going to be another US colony Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Aug 31, 2016 - 10:28AM

    After Japan,and Philippines now Americans looking for Indian taste and hospitality.Any how Indian govt is ready to surrender its soil at any cost without considering after shocks effects.India took CPEC negatively and without depending on own arms surrender its soil to long awaiting Americans.Only dreaming of crushing and destabilize Pakistan.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqui
    Aug 31, 2016 - 10:36AM

    Pakistan has little to offer to any ally. Why should they lookout for Pakistan’s interest? The “Kashkol” mentality since independence has been the downfall of Pakistan. Recommend

  • illpopo
    Aug 31, 2016 - 10:54AM

    India and US are getting closer due to mutual benefits, and this is natural. We need to sort out our priorities carefully and should focus on self dependency. We always frame India as the only enemy of Pakistan; we need to widen and upgrade this frame as per realistic and latest regional scenario! As per ongoing developments it seems that US are planning to handover AFG control to India to initiate the planned pullout, for which India will try to extract maximum before going with this deal. First we have to deal with internal threats like MQM, TTP, Lashkars and rogue political elements preferably!Recommend

  • Buzzkill
    Aug 31, 2016 - 11:08AM

    @Unknown: Go look up the meaning of colony & then see what’s going on between China & Pakistan and you’ll realize which country is being colonized. India is not handing over any part of its territory to the US like Pakistan is handing over ports & land with mineral resources to China and nor has India taken any loans from US like Pakistan has from its master China. Your country is being sold in bits & peices. Son, you better learn to speak Chinese quickly. I know it hurts bafly right now but I assure you it will get worse.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 31, 2016 - 11:10AM

    Not sure, as the full details of agreements signed between USA and India is not known.

    Probably, it allows India to station its nuclear armed submarines in US naval bases in S. Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc. This would enable India to encircle China.

    Even it it does not allow as per the now concluded agreements, it is possible to add these clauses later.

    Another important news is that USA, Afghanistan and India will be holding trilateral meeting on the sidelines of UNSC to discuss peace in Afghanistan. Both Pakistan and China have been excluded.Recommend

  • Black Hawk
    Aug 31, 2016 - 11:20AM

    @Unknown: You obviously lack the intellect to understand the US-India defense deal. Yes US will get access to Indian bases which are mostly in India but India will gain access to all US bases located in 38 countries including one right next to you on the west. Also India will gain access to tremendous US technology in defence & commercial sectors which will help India advance rapidly. Many countries have successfully used US defense partnership (Japan, South Korea, Germany, Israel etc to name a few) and India will certainly do the same.Recommend

  • Mohammed Wani
    Aug 31, 2016 - 11:26AM

    Pakistan should threaten that it will not receive aid from US.Recommend

  • Bharat
    Aug 31, 2016 - 11:35AM

    @Rehmat Ali:

    CPEC is being made on disputed land of Balochistan. We will fully support our Baloch brothers Recommend

  • vinsin
    Aug 31, 2016 - 12:03PM

    This is bound to happen in the long term. To checkmate China, India need USA and to checkmate India Pakistan will eventually need China. All the major issues in Asia are creation of India/Nehru – north Korea to Kashmir to boundary disputed between India and China. Recommend

  • Sohaib Hanif
    Aug 31, 2016 - 12:11PM

    Americans should realise that it took single minded self destructive Pakistani and Afghani nation to make them the unworthy superpower. Indian civilization is one of the oldest going around; they know how to deal with a nation that uses nations ruthlessly for its objectives and then throw them in dustbin of history afterwardsRecommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 31, 2016 - 12:36PM

    This agreement is not about having new bases of each others but about using existing base of each others for logistics and other uses.Recommend

  • sam
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:01PM

    Pakistan has already this type of agreement with USA by supporting it for war in Afghanistan so whats the big dealRecommend

  • Sheikh Sa'adi
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:38PM

    @Rehmat Ali:

    Pakistanis need to come out of their Delusions of Grandeur.

    India does not need the US to nullify any threat from Pakistan.

    In fact in 1971 India demonstrated its ability to take on the Pakistan+US+China troika, single handed.

    They can rest assured on this count.Recommend

  • Menon
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:39PM

    @Rehmat Ali:

    India is not surrendering anything. Agreements such as these are routine and normal between civilized democratic countries.Recommend

  • Menon
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:42PM

    @Raj – USA:

    Why would India ever need to base its nuclear weapon in any US base or port? US has the largest naval fleet in the world.

    There is an age-old saying, “whoever rules the seven seas, controls the world” and the US made sure it did.Recommend

  • Muhammad Shoaib
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:53PM

    Govt of Pakistan must approach the tiny Arab Gulf States to clear their positions on this US-Indo Pact as there are numerous US bases in their tiny states which can be used by Indians during actual hostilities against Pakistan. Oman & UAE Air Forces have already conducted exercises with Indian Air Force while the Indians working in these tiny states are more in number than the local Arab population. The Sheikhs of these tiny Gulf States will go to any extent in cooperating with USA in order to save their dictatorial regimes. In case These Gulf States allow the US bases inside their territories to Indians; then our coastal installations will face the real danger in case of a war.Recommend

  • Muhammad Shoaib
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:53PM

    Govt of Pakistan must approach the tiny Arab Gulf States to clear their positions on this US-Indo Pact as there are numerous US bases in their tiny states which can be used by Indians during actual hostilities against Pakistan. Oman & UAE Air Forces have already conducted exercises with Indian Air Force while the Indians working in these tiny states are more in number than the local Arab population. The Sheikhs of these tiny Gulf States will go to any extent in cooperating with USA in order to save their dictatorial regimes. In case These Gulf States allow the US bases inside their territories to Indians; then our coastal installations will face the real danger in case of a war.Recommend

  • Amir
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:55PM

    With absence of a strong Foreign minister, lack of understanding by te government concerning international relations, our establishment still operating in the 70s way of thinking, we will loose a lot. We will see our trade routes to Afghanistan-Central Asia taken over by Iran. We are banking on CPEC too much and should look in all direction, not just China.Recommend

  • Prem
    Aug 31, 2016 - 1:58PM

    Not sure why Pakistan should be concerned. After all, for years it was in the US camp, was a member of CEATO, CENTO and received weapons, aid, etc. Alliances are part of shifting geopolitical games. Nation states do not have long-term friends, only interests. Historically, India made wrong choices and the demise of USSR it has a chance to recalibrate its alliances. The closeness of China and Pakistan inevitably pushed India to collaborate with the US. So these countries need to look at their own policies. Recommend

  • kilo
    Aug 31, 2016 - 2:29PM

    So we have come full circle…once India was apprehensive of US-Pakistan defense dealsRecommend

  • Malik
    Aug 31, 2016 - 3:19PM

    Obviously not only America but every country wants to Invest in India the worlds largest free market and fastest growing economy.China has problems with it because its economy is going down as it has no imports and entire trade is full of exports.Pakistan’s debt is rising without US aid their economy will tumble and given the infrastructure of CPEC(China has 90%:10% profit share in it). Pakistan has every right to worry about the growing India-US ties.Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Aug 31, 2016 - 6:11PM

    @Bharat: @ menon @all indians,
    First India must end occoupation of occoupied Kashmir then give lesson of civilized or uncivilized.Local Bolochs still not raised voice about any disputed lands etc. They are very happy after CPEC developments going take place after deaades.India cna not see deveploment work in Pakistan. India having expertise in back door diplomacy. Now it will not work.Do not mis guided by state run channels and dollars which Americans offering. First focus on own people and their well beings. Still millions of Indians not having access to basic sanitation facilaties such as toilets. Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 31, 2016 - 7:17PM

    @Rehmat Ali:

    No one was raising any flag other than the country’s flag in Iraq or Libya too before they were split up into many pieces and that too within months. Such arguments that only in Indian Kashmir they are raising Pakistan’s flag and are not doing so in Baluchistan has no value, nor do those making these arguments have any understanding.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 31, 2016 - 8:39PM

    One more thing which is going to be far, far more important is that US and India’s technical collaboration in cyber warfare, hacking, mapping communication networks, etc. China has been doing this on India for many years and China has been doing this on USA too. Now India may get technology from USA and both can collaborate for mutual advantage.

    You may have all sophisticated missiles and nukes. But, if your codes are compromised or taken control of, those missiles and nukes are just duds and you are dead.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav
    Aug 31, 2016 - 9:21PM

    @Rehmat Ali:
    The only part of Kashmir that is occupied is PoK and as per UN resolution, Pakistan has to vacate it. All Kashmir problem is because of Pakistan and the blood of Kashmiris is on Pakistan’s hand. Punjab of Pakistan spilled the blood of Kashmiris to secure it’s water which shows the blood of Kashmiris is thinner than water for Pakistan. As for toilets in India, well we lost our toilet in 1947 so it would take us some time to recover. Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Sep 1, 2016 - 11:24AM

    We thanks parted from India. Not got labelled- “India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world with 2.1 million …All countries must restrict Indians entering without clearing AIDS. We Will not allow to spread this disease in Balochistan as Balochistan is integral part of Pakistan. Kashmiris already understood it and resisting this move thats why very few AIDS cases there.India can not defeat Pakistan so its using other tactics.Recommend

  • genesis
    Sep 1, 2016 - 9:20PM

    @Mohammed Wani:
    Big joke and more so you are dependent on aid.Will China replace US in terms of aid.No,it will demand collateral’s like raw materiel’s or more transit facilities.Recommend

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