Modi’s diplo­macy in US

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Col M Hanif (Retd) Email:han­i­f­sar­dar@hot­mail.com

IN­DIA’S Prime Min­is­ter, Na­nen­dra Modi vis­ited the US on June 8, 2016 in the fourth leg of his five­na­tion tour, namely, Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzer­land, the US and Mex­ico. Dur­ing the visit Modi tried to fur­ther strengthen In­dia-US strate­gic part­ner­ship, gain US sup­port for In­dia’s en­try to the Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group (NSG) as its mem­ber and to un­der­mine Pak­istan’s im­age in the eyes of the US lead­ers. This ar­ti­cle aims to dis­cuss im­por­tant gains of Modi’s visit to the US, and their im­pli­ca­tions for Pak­istan.

The first ma­jor gain from the visit is that both, Obama and Modi have out­lined in their joint state­ment the plan to start a ma­jor US nu­clear project in In­dia, for which prepara­tory work on the site for six AP 1000 re­ac­tors, to be built by West­ing­house, will start im­me­di­ately. Af­ter com­ple­tion of the in­stal­la­tion work, the project would be among the largest of its kind, for pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity. The sec­ond ma­jor achieve­ment is that, in the joint state­ment In­dia has been de­clared as a Ma­jor De­fence Part­ner of the US. This means that the United States will fa­cil­i­tate tech­nol­ogy shar­ing with In­dia to a level com­men­su­rate with that of its clos­est al­lies and part­ners. Hence, In­dia would re­ceive li­cense-free ac­cess to a wide range of dual-use tech­nolo­gies in sup­port of its Make In In­dia ini­tia­tive. The joint state­ment also ac­knowl­edges the on­go­ing US-In­dia joint work­ing group dis­cus­sions on shar­ing air­craft car­rier tech­nolo­gies.

The third gain is that both coun­tries are likely to sign a Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Mem­o­ran­dum of Agree­ment (LE­MOA) very soon. This agree­ment is one of three so-called “foun­da­tional” agree­ments of US-In­dia mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity in prac­tice. Two other agree­ments, on com­mu­ni­ca­tions and in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity (CISMOA) and on tar­get­ing and nav­i­ga­tional data shar­ing (BECA), are be­ing worked out for sign­ing. The fourth In­dian suc­cess out of the visit is that, while ex­press­ing their so called com­mon stance against ter­ror­ism, on In­dia’s in­sis­tence the US agreed and in­cluded in the joint state­ment a call “for Pak­istan to bring the per­pe­tra­tors of the 2008 Mumbai and Pathankot at­tacks, to jus­tice. Also, Lashkar-iTayyaba and Jaish-I-Muham­mad have been marked as ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions

The fifth gain of Modi’s visit is that he has been able to get full sup­port of the US Pres­i­dent Obama for In­dia’s en­try into NSG, al­though this time In­dia is not likely to suc­ceed due to the op­po­si­tion of some mem­ber coun­tries of the NSG, par­tic­u­larly Italy and China. The above dis­cussed gains from the visit def­i­nitely have neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tions for Pak­istan, as it is said that the gains of your en­emy are your losses. Firstly, in­stal­la­tion of six AP-1000 nu­clear re­ac­tors in In­dia will not only en­able In­dia to pro­duce elec­tric­ity, but it will also en­able it to im­port more ura­nium on pre­text of pro­duc­ing fuel for nu­clear plants, that could also be used for pro­duc­ing fis­sile ma­te­rial for mak­ing nu­clear weapons.

Se­condly, dec­la­ra­tion of In­dia as a Ma­jor De­fence Part­ner of the US, would en­able it to re­ceive li­cense-free ac­cess to weapons plat­forms and a wide range of dual-use tech­nolo­gies, in sup­port of its ‘Make In In­dia ini­tia­tive’. Shar­ing of the US weapons and tech­nolo­gies to In­dia will erode the ex­ist­ing strate­gic bal­ance in a ma­jor way, and to counter that, Pak­istan will need to seek al­ter­na­tive sources of ac­quir­ing mod­ern weapons and tech­nolo­gies. Thirdly, the sign­ing of Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Mem­o­ran­dum of Agree­ment (LE­MOA), and agree­ments on com­mu­ni­ca­tions and in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity (CISMOA) and on tar­get­ing and nav­i­ga­tional data shar­ing (BECA) with the US would help In­dia in en­hanc­ing its con­ven­tional of­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties dis­pro­por­tion­ately, us­ing the US de­fence fa­cil­i­ties in the re­gion, thus low­er­ing Pak­istan’s nu­clear thresh­old.

Fourthly, call­ing upon Pak­istan in the joint state­ment that it should bring to jus­tice the so called per­pe­tra­tors of Mumbai and Pathankot at­tacks and mark­ing of Lashkar-iTayyaba and Jaish-I-Muham­mad as ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions in­di­cates that the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion is buy­ing In­dian view of Pak­istan’s role in the war on ter­ror in the re­gion and that Modi is out to tar­nish Pak­istan’s im­age on this ac­count. Fifthly, Modi’s suc­cess in gain­ing Obama’s sup­port for its en­try into NSG means that to stop In­dia from be­com­ing a mem­ber of NSG, Pak­istan will have to rely on China’s veto, which may not hap­pen for too long. — The writer works for Is­lam­abad Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute, a think tank based in Is­lam­abad.

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