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India-US deal: Pakistan warns against ‘serious repercussions’ for peace in South Asia

From left: Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from the US, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar from India. — AFP/Files

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday warned the world that acquisition of dangerous weapons by India will have “serious repercussions” for peace in South Asia.

Islamabad was reacting to the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) inked between the United States and India today.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that Pakistan had time and again highlighted how provision of advanced military hardware, technologies and knowledge to India will have serious repercussions for peace in South Asia.

According to the deal, India and the US have agreed to share military information and strengthen their defence partnership.

Pakistan highlighted how the recent “unprecedented rate of missile tests” that were conducted by India were a manifestation of the dangerous Indian conventional and nuclear military build-ups.

“It again corroborates concerns expressed by several international experts on the military spin-offs of conducting high technology trade with India, which has not only eroded the international norms but has also resulted in negatively affecting the strategic stability in South Asia,” said Chaudhri in a statement.

He added that these developments clearly negate the argument that India’s mainstreaming in the international export control regimes will further the non-proliferation objectives of these regimes.

What is the BECA deal all about?

According to Indian media reports, the BECA deal will enable India to get its hands on extremely accurate geo-spatial data. This, in turn, will improve the performance of Indian missiles.

The deal has been inked at a time when New Delhi is engaged in a border dispute with China that culminated into an armed conflict a few months ago, resulting in the deaths of over 20 Indian soldiers at the Ladakh border.

Some important points to consider about the BECA deal

  • The pact facilitates interoperability of forces and ensures exchange of sensitive, classified information
  • This geospatial information, which will be supplemented by US satellites, will help in navigation and targeting of military assets
  • The information obtained can be in the form of maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, commercial and other unclassified imagery, geodetic, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data
  • Both countries claim safeguards will be put in place so that it cannot be used by any 3rd party
  • The pact between the two sides was under discussion for over a decade
  • Indian media states that the deal will enable India access to military-grade data “that can help draw up target coordinates”
  • These coordinates can help direct missiles of air-launched bombs

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