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Why US-India ‘BECA’ Pact Can Douse Border Fire With China But Engulf Pakistan In Flames?

OPED: Haider Abbas
Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) will enable the US to share advanced satellite and topographical data for long-range navigation and missile-targeting with India, will come after India inked the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 and the Communications, Compatibility and Security Arrangement (COMCASA) in 2018.

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India has played the masterstroke with the US to aptly respond to the ‘joint-threat’ of China and Pakistan, which had found a renewed-aggression after India’s PM Narendra Modi ended Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.

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The abrogation of contentious Article 370 made both China and Pakistan straddle together against India, especially after June 15, 2020, when India lost 20 of its soldiers to China, there has only been a ‘bittering-of-ties’ between China and India, with Pakistan playing a second fiddle in the conflict.

Ironically, while India looked-up to the US for rescue, President Donald Trump, offered only mediation!

This, he did twice, informed OutlookIndia.Com on May 27, 2020, and on September 5, 2020, and all the while when India looked for more help, Trump again ridiculed India with his third-time mediation offer.

China is said to have illegally occupied 38,000 sq km of Indian land in Ladakh, as acknowledged by India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh in parliament on September 17, 2020, and has also started to put up its designs on Arunachal Pradesh which China calls as its South Tibet as well as in Himachal Pradesh.

The US did not act and let India slide into misery. The US always wanted India to counter China in the first place, but India considered Pakistan as its primary-foe, and New Delhi in all over these years, from much before August 5, 2019, despite its disastrous 1962 war with China, did not entertain the US for an all-out show against China.

It wasn’t that long enough when PM Modi announced, much to the displeasure of US, his rejection to American proposal to join Indo-Pacific front against China:

“India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country,” said Modi.

These statement by Indian PM disappointed both the US and Japan despite Modi enjoying a personal rapport with both Trump and Abe. But now India is in-togetherness with Japan, US and Australia as a part of QUAD against China, to challenge Beijing in the South China Sea.

The last straw which hinged for the US support to India was also lost on September 30, 2020, while US President Trump and Biden debated in the run-up to November 2020 polls. Trump lumped India with its nemesis Russia and China!

Trump made India stand in line with Russia and China to have hidden the figures of the number of deaths in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic! It was here when India let loose and supposedly succumbed to the ultimate US manoeuvring and was forced to become the US frontline ally against China.

The backend forces which were at work will take for some investigative writer, a La Bob Woodward, to unravel, but finally US-made India to comply to become a lullaby customer to its weapon industry.

The US, on October 2, 2020, reveals LiveMint, came out officially in support of India to declare Arunachal Pradesh as part of India.

‘Arunachal Pradesh is Indian territory and the United States strongly opposes unilateral attempts (by China) to advance territorial claims by incursions, be it military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a US State Department official said.

Giving an update on the India-US bilateral relations, the senior official said, “At a time when India is facing substantial security challenges, the growth in our defence partnership is exceptionally important.

This partnership includes defence sales, particularly our offers of advanced US weapon systems, as a demonstration of our commitment to India’s security and sovereignty.’ The US job was done. It got India sufficiently bashed-up to finally force India to become its face to China’s opposition.

Howdy, Modi! | President Donald J. Trump holds hands with Pr… | Flickr

The US initiative with India after its official stand on Arunachal Pradesh was riveted with a follow-up plan soon, as on October 5, 2020  HindustanTimes informed that US and India were to tie-a knot in Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial cooperation.

‘BECA is an important precursor to India acquiring armed drones such as the MQ-9B from the US as the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) uses spatial data for pinpointed strikes on enemy targets’.

This enemy is the duo China and Pakistan. So much so, US had been ‘hit in the eye ’ by its shameless withdrawal from Afghanistan after 19 years of fighting Afghan-Taliban, where it was forced to sit across the table with the same people, that it has decided to ‘teach a lesson’.

Trump is so foregone with his conclusive victory that barely a week before his November 3, 2020 elections Trump wants BECA to be sealed!  US deputy secretary of state Stephen Beigun is already in India (October 15, 2020)  to chalk out nuances, and finally, US defence secretary Mark Esper and India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh will ink the pact on October 26-27, 2020.

The immediate fallout of this BECA will find Pakistan in very hard waters, as the US, for all the last many decades had been with Pakistan and knows all the loopholes, which would enable India to chose a target to bring Pakistan to its senses.

India, with the help of US reconnaissance devices, will know everything from inside Pakistan, in its real-time through US satellites;  Pakistan’s troop deployment, its nuclear sites and it’s air-force/naval, army or drone movements.

China is too big to be tapped, but for sure, Pakistan, will be made to have a ‘taste of its pudding’ as US ignominy in Afghanistan has happened due to Pakistan. US, China and to an extent India are giants and Pakistan is what seems to have been sandwiched between the three!

The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics. 

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