India and US signed a defence pact in Washington on August 30, 2016, during the second visit in eight months of Indian defence minister. India and US are engaged in cooperating with each other, such as Indo-US nuclear deals, Indo-US strategic partnership and even the visit of President Obama as the chief guest on Indian Republic day.
Both countries are co-operating and collaborating with each other for their own national interests, as the US wants a significant role in Asia Pacific and to contain China, whereas India wants to fulfill her dream of becoming a great power in the region, membership of United Nation Security Council and the support for the bid of Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), a nuclear elite club of 48 states. It was rejected due to concerns of the China and other countries.
Nevertheless, to secure their own national interest, they are co-operating with each other blindly and without noticing the international norms. India is the non-signatory of Non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and the US is trading nuclear material to India. India and US agreed to co-operate in three major field i.e Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial cooperation (BECA). LEMOA allows the US to operate out from the Indian bases and India can operate from the US bases. This Pact raises lot of questions, not the least being does the India-US pact disturb the stability of South Asia?
While answering this question, many dimensions and realities have to be taken in account. Pakistan and India are the major actors of the South Asian politics. They are the historic rival states and have fought major wars.
Secondly, the balance of power does not exist between them because of India’s large population, land and resources, etc. Whereas Pakistan is comparatively small a balance of terror (nuclear) exists between Pakistan and India. Thirdly, more importantly South Asian strategic environment is conducive, unpredictable and a battle ground for the super powers from the beginning.
Pakistan and India both are enhancing their capabilities by the alliance with the super powers to maintain the balance. Pakistan and China mutually signed the CPEC agreement worth $46 billion and is enhancing the economic capabilities through different channels. Pakistan also gained permanent membership of SCO. Pakistan is also co-operating with Russia in trade. It should be noted that Pakistan is mostly making economic alliances, and there has been no major military buildup in recent years. On the other hand, India the other actor of the region is continuously engaged in strengthening its military buildup. India is not only engaged in a conventional military buildup, but also in Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW).
This creates a security dilemma for the region is general and Pakistan in particular, due to the nature of rivalry. Now according to the Logistic Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement (LEMOA) the US will be able to operate out of Indian basses.
This agreement further destabilizes the strategic environment of South Asia. It will create a Security/ Insecurity paradox. India and Pakistan already have a balance of terror, but with the rise of the Indian military buildup, it only enhances the arms race in the region. Pakistan may be forced to build new military alliances to counter this Indian aggression. This arms race disturbs the stability of this region very effectively. It is a fact that DE stability of South Asian region will definitely have spill over effect and will disturb the stability of the other regions.
Mphil. Scholar and M.T.O. at Haier Pakistan