Pakistan expresses apprehension over the growing India-U.S. ties in general and booming defense and security ties in particular. It has criticized India for trying to disrupt U.S.-Pakistan ties, thereby strengthening its preeminent position in South Asia. Pakistan does not want the growing India-U.S. multifaceted strategic relationship to take place because it believes that the growing relationship would undermine its ambition of strengthening defense cooperation with United States that holds the key to deterring India. Without the support of U.S, it perceives that the existing conventional weapons imbalance would be widened thereby resulting in India achieving its regional hegemony. Also, Pakistan fears losing the United States support that has always come out on its side on the Kashmir issue.[1] If Pakistan has developed relations with the U.S., then it is for none other than to pressure India to give up its claims and pursue its legitimate interests of defeating India.

Pakistan has even criticized Washington for being close to India while showing disinterest to Pakistan.[2] In recent years, India and the U.S. have reached a significant number of agreements that would no doubt put the relationship onto a stronger footing. These include Next Step in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) of 2004, Defense Framework agreement of 2005, and the July 18 Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative. These developments were the results of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s commitment to intensifying collaboration with India across the wide range of regional and global issues that is consistent with the rise of India as a world power. This has led many Pakistani analysts to claim that the U.S. has recognized India’s ‘sphere of influence’ in Asia while other Pakistani analysts claim that these agreements represent a threat to Pakistan’s economy and security. They presume that they would strengthen India’s armaments on the ground and the U.S. would provide the latest technology and equipment needs to India.

The recent Pakistan response to the landmark civilian nuclear cooperation between India and the U.S. clearly shows that it would not allow India-U.S. ties to move closer. Pakistan has raised a series of questions over the paradigm shift in U.S. non-proliferation policy that had opened the door for India to exchange nuclear fuel and reactors with the international community. On 12 April 2006, former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf convened a meeting to discuss on the implications of the civil nuclear agreement. Later, the Pakistani National Command Authority then stated that, “In view of the fact that the agreement would enable India to produce significant quantities of fissile material and nuclear weapons from unsafeguarded nuclear reactors, the NCA expressed firm resolve that our credible minimum deterrence requirements will be met.”[3]

Pakistan perceives that the growing India-U.S. ties would entails the following security threats to its security:

a. It would bring down the level of the relationship that Pakistan enjoys with its long time strategic patron, the U.S., which is the key to the supply of modern technology to Pakistan.

b. It would result in loss of Pakistan’s image in the eyes of the United States, and thereby the former expectation from the U.S. to pressure India into concessions on the Kashmir dispute would become obsolete. With this, Washington would play a very less crucial role in resolving the dispute.

c. It would give way to United States pressuring Pakistan in meeting the challenges posed by terrorism based in the Pakistan-Afghan border. This would be a welcome development for India and a huge setback for Pakistan.

d. It would create instability in the South Asian region because of the imbalance that would be created due to the U.S. tilt toward India in the conventional and nuclear facilities. This would compel Pakistan to look for better and lasting alternatives to meet the security challenges that would be posed by the growing India’s military and nuclear capabilities.

e. The increasing number of multifaceted exercises between the armed forces of India and the U.S. would improve the operational ability and capability of the Indian forces.

f. The transforming India-U.S. strategic ties are the key to Indo-Israel defense and security cooperation, thereby destabilizing the security situation in South Asia. India is moving closer to engaging with Israel for the defense needs. With this, India would be receiving advanced technology from Israel; for instance, the release of Phalcon radar systems and other equipment to India by Israel through the consent of the U.S.[4]

g. It perceives that the relationship would strengthen India’s hegemonic ambitions in South Asia and dash away Pakistan’s effort to prevent India from becoming a hegemonic power in South Asia.

h. It would ensure India play a bigger role in South Asian matters. Pakistan is never in favor of India playing a bigger role in South Asian issues and problems.[5] For instance, Pakistan fears that India is likely to play bigger role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. In this regard, India has pledged to provide $565 million in reconstruction aid and $50 million for the new national assembly building. This is due to the fact that Pakistan wants strategic depth in Afghanistan for its security purposes.


[1] Subhash Shukla, Foreign Policy of India (New Delhi: Anamika Publishers, 2007), p. 49.

[2] Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, “Enhanced Defence Cooperation between the United States and Pakistan”, Strategic Insights (Monterey, CA), vol. VI(4), June 2007, available at <>.

[3] Stephen Blank, “Geostrategic Implications of the Indo-American Partnership”, India Review,        vol. 6(1), January-March 2007, pp. 2-3.

[4] Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, “The Indo-US Strategic Relationship and Pakistan’s Security”, South Asian Strategic Studies Institute Research Report 9, December 2007, pp. 31-33, available at <’s%20Security%20.pdf>.

[5] Mavara Inayat, “US-Indian Strategic Partnership: Implications for Asia and Beyond”, Regional Studies (Islamabad), vol. XXIV(2), Spring 2006, pp. 27-28.