The US-India logistic agreement signed by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on his recent US visit is not just important in itself, but because it signals the breaking of a logjam, and is merely another in the series that will culminate in US-India joint arms production, another sign of the growing ties between the two countries which are meant to contain China.

Though it has implications for future joint production, the signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) has immediate implications. On the face of it, it is an agreement for the countries to set up naval logistics bases on each other’s soil, and to receive logistic support at each other’s bases at home and abroad. While the Indian Navy does not have much need of bases on either Pacific or American seaboards, the USA may well need logistic support at bases on the Indian mainland for vessels operating in the Indian Ocean, and which may well be deployed in the South China Sea, where the USA is providing the muscle for all those powers who oppose Chinese claims to various islands there.

The LEMOA may also be seen as an Indian attempt to contain the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean, which is expected to grow because of the New Silk Road, and because of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with its terminus at Gwadar. It is because of this that India wishes to develop the Iranian port of Chahbahar. It should not be forgotten that India is a much older rival of China than the USA, and would be very unhappy at China’s flanking movement through Pakistan, which would carry it across the Indus for the very first time.

India’s cosying up to the USA has not only directly disturbed Pakistan, whose foreign policy establishment has followed a policy of defiance of India combined with obedience of the USA, but has also drawn attention to the closeness of Sino-Pakistan relations, and to the CPEC. The Indian focus on Balochistan is explained not just by the presence of the terminus and a significant portion of the CPEC within it, but also by its proximity to Chahbahar.

The two countries have already signed a General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). The next step in the relationship is the signing of a Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA); Basic Exchange and a Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geospatial Intelligence. Parrikar has indicated that there will be no hurry in signing them.

However, India had been hanging fire on all four agreements, which have been described by opponents as compromising Indian security. However, they are essential to something that the USA has never before done with any country, but has indicated it would do with India. For those in the Pakistani establishment, both civilian and military, who had regarded the US relationship as crucial, it should now be clear that there is virtually no way that the USA will press India on Kashmir.

It may be noted that the USA is witnessing an unprecedented pressure on Kashmir, because of the recent movement, particularly the bestiality with which the Indian occupation forces are suppressing it, especially the way young Kashmiris are being blinded by pellets. The Kashmiri campaign has not gained enough traction to influence public opinion in the USA for two reasons. First, the Indian Diaspora in the USA includes only a small Kashmiri component, and is by and large Hindu fundamentalist and thus toes the BJP government’s line. In addition, attention is more focused domestically, on the presidential election. This happened to be an excellent time for the BJP government to win the Obama Administration’s approval by signing one of the ‘foundation agreements’, as they are called.

It should also be noted that the BJP is just a little more pro-American than the Congress, and it is no coincidence that the Diaspora there not only funds the BJP in India, but also does volunteer work for it. The Congress no longer holds to the non-alignment its own leader, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, espoused, and the US-India nuclear accord was made by Manmohan Singh, a Congress PM.

It should be noted that though the USA is expanding the defence trade between the two countries of $10 billion a year, to the extent that it might overtake Russia and Israel as India’s biggest single arms supplier, there is yet not even coproduction between the two countries, let alone codevelopment. India is signing these foundation agreements so as to pave the way for both. There are four pathfinder projects, mobile electric hybrid power sources and next-generation protective body suits are being worked on, while two coproduction ventures, a roll-on roll-off kit for the C-130 aircraft and the mini-Raven Cheel UAV, are still in the pipeline. These are a counter to the Pakistani participation in a codevelopment with China of the J17 Thunder, which has reached the stage of coproduction and has been inducted in the PAF. Obviously, though the USA has been happy in the past to use Pakistan as a channel of communication to China, it cannot be happy to see Pakistan draw so close to it.

Pakistani policymakers thought they were on the winning side in the Cold War, and India on the losing. In the early days after Partition, Pakistan had chosen the US alliance, India the Soviet, and they had then stuck with their respective big-power friends since, until the collapse of the USSR had left India without a powerful friend. But then it had swiftly made friends with the USA. Pakistan had maintained the alliance, but had made overtures to Russia and firmed up its ties with China. However, it should remember that just as the USA and India came together, China and India might well do so as well, and then Pakistan would really be up the creek without a paddle. It should also be noted that the USA’s ‘Pivot East’ is because of the increased importance of China in its trade. This new impetus in China to trade is because it has adopted the Western capitalist system, as shown by its recent hosting of the G20 Summit. Even if Pakistan was to adopt that system, it would merely be a cog in the wheel, no matter whether the cog is Chinese or Indian.

Pakistan can only find a genuine solution by stopping this sterile hanging on to other’s coattails, and by opting for an out-of-the-box solution. The Muslim world as it stands does not seem able to solve its own problems on its own, and to be hopelessly divided, but that would be at least partially because of US intervention. A united Muslim world would provide the kind of counterweight needed to balance both China and India. It would also find itself in opposition to the USA because of this, but this is something that the establishment should be ready for. After all, the establishment would look different, even if most of the Pakistani establishment should find a place within it. While at some stage, there has to be a choice made between the interests of Pakistan and of the USA (or China), there will be none between those of Pakistan and a larger Muslim entity.