A new strategic alliance

January 5, 2017

By Nazish Shehzadi

The two countries in South Asia i.e. Pakistan and India are hostile neighbors and since their independence both of them have indulged in many conflicts.  Their deep animosity still persists. Great powers specifically United States has always tried to use India and Pakistan for her own interests. At the time of cold war Pakistan served as the base for America to help her launch efforts to combat Soviet presence in Afghanistan. Pakistan was asked to train, arm and prepare Mujahideen against the Soviet troops. On the contrary, India refused to join America and was militarily supported by the Soviet. This act strengthened hatred between India and America but this hatred moved to its climax when Nixon administration of United States shifted her support towards Pakistan during the war of 1971. After the Indian nuclearization; United States imposed sanctions on India which hit her technological advancement.

During the cold war era, Indo-US relations have seen many ups and downs following the developmental phase of South Asian nuclearization. India and United States relations were not warm despite the fact that India was developing as an independent state. The reason behind this was that the interests of both states differ from each other as United States priority was cold war. By the end of cold war, the hostility between both states was wiped out and consequentially it tied both states in bilateral relationship which is the culmination of strategic alliance. Then United States announced that we assist India as an emerging power. Following their recent reunion both states took different steps for their strategic partnership including economic, trade, nuclear and missile technology and defense collaboration etc. The security of South Asia is categorized by traditional enmity between the main states of this region (India and Pakistan). The rise of one power would create disability in the continent. In this situation, the Indo U.S. rapprochement and their mutual defense collaboration will force Pakistan to search for high technology weaponry. These acts would destabilize the strategic balance of South Asia.

The landmark development of 21st century was that the United States helps out India in emerging as a great and influential power in the continent. United States wanted India to become a permanent member of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and nuclear supplier group (NSG) for civilian nuclear trade but also wanted waiver from non-proliferation regimes for India to allow her to carry out her nuclear activities because of the strategic partnership of India and US.

Pakistan is already vigilant about Indian supremacy in conventional warfare ability which will be more intensified through Indo American collaboration in high-technology defense equipments. Pakistan stated that because of special favors India would create security threats in South Asian region. There are reports that India is expanding her nuclear weapon capability that might threaten the stability of the South Asian region. The role of America is a matter of great concern as she is favoring nuclear non-proliferation in the world on one hand and assisting India to build her nuclear weapon capability on the other. The question arises why U.S. is supporting India in arms proliferation? The answer might be that Indo U.S. strategic alliance is a paradigm shift in United States and Indian foreign policy. Outwardly, Indo U.S. civil nuclear deal appears to be for civilian purpose but clandestinely there are various reasons behind this.

Firstly, one of the main objectives of the United States is to contain China to balance her power by refraining China to emerge as a super power and it can only be attained through Indo-U.S.  strategic alliance. Secondly, India is relatively developed, stable and large democratic country as United States due to which US is in favor of strategic partnership with her and supports her membership in NSG. Thirdly, India is pushing good quantity of money in America. Fourthly, US is one of the top trading companion of India. Fifthly, there are a large number of Indians living in America. Lastly, America is always keen to start various schemes with India. By contrast, Pakistan as a front line ally of United States in war against terror was not facilitated through these types of civil nuclear deals from US.

Some analysts view that the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear deal will put detrimental effects on South Asia especially on Pakistan. India’s dream to become a hegemonic power of the region can solely be fulfilled through this deal. It will provide impetus to arms race and nuclear rivalry which will lead to ignorance of some other important issues in already precarious region. It will create power imbalance between Pakistan and India and will exert its influence on nuclear deterrence of Pakistan. Pakistan ought to improve her nuclear deterrence and for this purpose she is looking towards China for the attainment of technology and strategic partnership. United States provide arms and military assistance to India against China and on the other hand she imposes strict sanctions on Pakistan’s acquisition of sophisticated and dual use technology from Washington and other sources. United States discriminatory attitude has compelled Pakistan to look towards China for the attainment of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. It is not very far that Pakistan will suffer from collateral damage due to United States discriminatory attitude with her but now China is helping out Pakistan in this difficult situation.