THREE-day visit of the US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter to India, the second in one year, is significant in that it comes in the backdrop of ever-growing multi-dimensional relationship between the two countries with far-reaching repercussions and consequences for the region. There are reports that the two sides would announce something substantial including ‘exciting new projects’ at the conclusion of their bilateral discussions.
There can be no objection to cooperation between any two independent and sovereign countries as long as their relationship doesn’t threaten interests of others. This is especially so in the case of military ties as India has a track record of aggression against its small neighbours and bullying them on different occasions on various pretexts. Seen in this background, the bullish diplomacy of the United States to sharpen military teeth of India is certainly a matter of concern to all countries of the region especially Pakistan, which has borne the brunt of Indian aggression and hostile posture during the last 68 years. The United States has strange and contradictory policies for the region as it has different yardsticks for different countries. It claims to be champion of non-proliferation but has entered into a long-term nuclear accord with India, which has opened floodgates of nuclear technology for a country whose peaceful credentials are disputable. It is not ready to accord the same treatment to Pakistan and instead, very often, makes suggestions for rollback of the programme or wants to put restrictions on its growth and development. Media reports say India was looking for a technologically new set of fighter aircraft both from the United States and Russia and it also seeks transfer of technology. This is in sharp contrast to Indian opposition to and propaganda campaign against sale of a few F-16s and helicopters to Pakistan. Though Americans claim to be boosting military capabilities of India to prepare it to assume the role of counter-weight to China but Pakistan has genuine reasons to feel insecure and go for moves to safeguard its interest. Unprovoked Indian firing at LoC ahead of Ash Carter’s visit is a testimony to genuineness of Pakistani fears, which must be addressed by the United States.