The Afghan Taliban suicide bombers brazenly struck in the heart of Kabul while American Defense Secretary Robert Gates was still en route to New Delhi to further expand the already growing US-India military ties. Was this loud message by the Afghan insurgents to the Pentagon chief timed to remind the world of the precarious nature of the US-NATO military mission in Afghanistan? Will this terrorist reminder affect what Gates does in Delhi?
Regardless of what the Taliban intended, it is how the Kabul attack is viewed by the Pentagon chief and his boss that will shape the US policy in the region. In response to a query by the New York Times reporter Elizabeth Bumiller traveling with the entourage, Mr. Gates had little to say about the Taliban suicide bombings near Mr. Karzai’s palace in the center of Kabul. “These highly visible attacks are a tactic in this conflict, and it’s very hard to stop all of them,” he said as he tried to play it down when he spoke to the New York Times.
"There are also a lot of...defense acquisitions that are on the table," AP quoted Lalit Mansingh, the former Indian ambassador to the United States, as saying on Tuesday, shortly before Gates' arrival.
India is expected to become a major customer for the US military-industrial complex over the next few years, according to PressTV.
American Defense officials, however, have said that US weapons sales to India would not be a focus of the trip. Regardless of such denials, the key reason for the Gates' visit can be found in the fact that India is planning to raise its military budget by 50% to almost $40 billion, making military expenditure 3% of the annual gross domestic product (GDP). In contrast to India's planned defense expenditures, Pakistan's entire 2009-10 budget amounts to little over $30 billion.
"Our current defense spending is lower than 2% [of GDP]...and it should be at least 3%," A. K. Antony said at a meeting with top military commanders last year, without specifying a time-frame. India raised its defense spending in February, 2008, by 10% to $26.5 billion for the fiscal year 2008-2009, but it still fell below 2% of GDP for the first time in at least a decade.
India's neighbors and long-term rivals, Pakistan and China, allocate around 3.5% and 4.3% of GDP to defense, respectively. The minister said top priority must be given to the modernization of the Indian Armed Forces and half of the defense budget should be allocated for the purchase of new military equipment.
Currently, more than half of India's budget is allocated for military, paramilitary, police, various security forces and debt servicing. That leaves less than half for everything else, including infrastructure development projects, education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and various human services. This new arms buildup by India will leave even less for what India needs most: to lift hundreds of millions of its citizens from abject poverty, hunger, illiteracy, squalor and disease.
The US and Russian support is emboldening India's military, and its leadership has already started saber rattling against Pakistan and China. Recently, Lt-General A S Lamba of Indian Army has been quoted by the Indian media as boating about a "massive thrust into Rawalpindi to quiet Pakistanis within 48 hours of the start of assault." Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor has said India is ready for a “the successful firming-up of the cold start strategy (to be able to go to war promptly) in the multiple fronts against multiple different militias at the same time.” General Kapoor has talked about taking on China and Pakistan at the same time.
Such an arms buildup by India is sure to threaten India's neighbors and fuel an arms race that South Asians can ill afford with widespread abject poverty, hunger, malnutrition and very low levels of human development. According to media reports from Islamabad, Pakistan has responded to India's aggressive intents by deciding to expand its missile program.
Pakistan has expressed serious concerns over a "massive" arms buildup by India, warning the buildup could destabilize the regional balance. Pakistan's National Command Authority, which oversees the country's nuclear assets, has taken note of developments "detrimental" to the objectives of strategic stability in the region, an official statement said last week.
"India continues to pursue an ambitious militarization program and offensive military doctrines," the command said, after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
"Massive inductions of advanced weapon systems, including installation of ABMs (anti-ballistic missiles), buildup of nuclear arsenal and delivery systems...tend to destabilize the regional balance," it said.
The human cost of this unfortunate escalation by India will mainly be born by its most vulnerable citizens who will probably lose the few crumbs of bread they are forced to live on now. It will continue the horrible sanitation situation that forces two-thirds of Indians to defecate in the open that spreads disease and kills millions of various diseases each year.
According to UNICEF, scientific evidence available today tells us that in India alone more than 1 million child lives could be saved from scaling up known and proven cost effective interventions. With over 240 million children under the age of five, India contributes 25 percent of the world’s child deaths. It is evident that a major turnaround in India will ensure a significant impact globally!
The Education For All-Global Monitoring Report, released recently, says that out of the total 759 million illiterate adults in the world, India still has the highest number. “Over half of the illiterate adults live in just four countries: Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan,” the report said, adding the progress has been “painfully slow” and threatens to obstruct the Millennium Development Goals.
India has failed to use a period of high economic growth to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty, falling far short of China’s record in protecting its population from the ravages of chronic hunger, United Nations officials said recently. Last year, British Development Minister Alexander contrasted the rapid growth in China with India's economic success - highlighting government figures that showed the number of poor people had dropped in the one-party communist state by 70% since 1990 but had risen in the world's biggest democracy by 5%.
The World Hunger Index of 88 countries published by IFPRI last year ranked India at 66 while Pakistan was slightly better at 61 and Bangladesh slightly worse at 70. There are very few place where people are poorer or hungrier than Haiti, which recently suffered a massive tragedy. However, Bangladesh and some states in India and Sub-Saharan Africa have much higher levels of hunger and malnutrition than Haiti. In addition to Bangladesh and the nations of sub Saharan Africa, the Indian states of Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh are worse off than Haiti, according to India's State Hunger Index (ISHI) survey report. Gujarat is often projected as a success story by the right-wing Indian media. The economy of Gujarat is sustaining an overall growth rate of eight percentage points, but the incidence of rural poverty declined at the annual rate of 0.23 per cent, which is the worst Human Development Index (HDI) improvement record among all Indian states. From 1996 to 2006, Gujarat slipped one rank each in education and health indices to eight and tenth positions, respectively, as compared to 20 other states. In improvement in Infant Mortality Rate, it ranked 13th. The state ranked 14th in Child Mortality Rate, 13th in TMR, 17th in stunted children and ninth in underweight children. What it says is that economic growth alone can not solve the problems of poverty and malnutrition in Gujarat, or India, or the rest of the world. Economic growth has to be accompanied with progressive policies to uplift the most vulnerable populations in society.
In the context of unprecedented economic growth (9-10 percent annually) and national food security, over 60 percent of Indian children are wasted, stunted, underweight or a combination of the above. As a result, India ranks number 62 along with Bangladesh at 67 in the PHI (Poverty Hunger Index)ranking out of a total of 81 countries. Both nations are included among the low performing countries in progress towards MDG1 (Millennium Development Goals) with countries such as Nepal (number 58), Ethiopia (number 60), or Zimbabwe (number 74).
Ranked at 45 on PHI index, Pakistan is well ahead of India at number 62, and it is included in the medium performing countries. PHI is a new composite indicator – the Poverty and Hunger Index (PHI) – developed to measure countries’ performance towards achieving MDG1 on halving poverty and hunger by 2015. The PHI combines all five official MDG1 indicators, including a) the proportion of population living on less than US$ 1/day, b) poverty gap ratio, c) share of the poorest quintile in national income or consumption, d) prevalence of underweight in children under five years of age, and d) the proportion of population undernourished.
In addition to large purchases of weapons from India's traditional suppliers Russia and Britain, the massive Indian military build up has been fueled by at least $5 billion in purchases from Israel during the last three years, according to UPI. The US has sold India $3 billion in American arms in 2008, the year that Mr. Gates was last in India, according to the New York Times.
One of the items on the agenda for Gates visit is India's demand for US defense technology. While Russia has been openly sharing its defense technology with India, Indian officials have long been frustrated by the quality, maintainability and effectiveness of Russian military hardware. The Indians are looking for alternatives to reduce their dependence on Russia, but the US reluctance to share technology has been an issue. The American refusal to share US technology has also restricted some of the India-Israel defense deals, such as the transfer of US-funded Arrow anti-ballistic missiles to India.
Gates has agreed that the Defense Department would do more to help Indian officials understand legal agreements the U.S. needs before certain technology could be shared to accomplish more joint exercises and operations, the U.S. official told the New York Times.
While the absence of technology agreements doesn’t hinder more joint efforts, it does limit their scope, Gates told reporters on his plane en route to New Delhi. The accords, including one for protecting technology, are standard for the U.S. when it works with military partners and may set out terms such as what information can and cannot be revealed.
As Mr. Gates responds to India's desire to increase US defense purchases with technology sharing, he needs to carefully calibrate the impact of US actions on the success of the US mission in Afghanistan. Gates must also recognize the link between lack of social spending and political instability in the region. Secretary Gates must not forget that the closer US defense cooperation with India will make it less likely that Pakistan will trust the US intentions in the region, particularly in Afghanistan. Mr. Gates needs to remember that US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal warned in his report last year that "increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter-measures in Afghanistan or India.”
After his India visit, Secretary Gates is expected to also visit Islamabad to meet Pakistan's civilian and military leadership, according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper. Mr Gates thus joins the list of of senior US officials to visit Islamabad since Obama began developing a new strategy for the Pakistan-Afghan region late last year. Senior administration officials who have come to Islamabad recently include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and others.
India's Massive Arms Buildup
Indian Arms Buildup and Problems with Russia
Haitian Tragedy Compounded by Poverty
China's Growing Role in Afghanistan
Pakistan's Concern Over Indian Arms Buildup
India's Missile Shield and Israel Envy Threaten Pakistan
India-Pakistan Military Balance
Poverty and Hunger Index--PHI
UNESCO Education For All Report
World Bank Report on Malnutrition in South Asia
India: Home to Largest Illiterate Population
I am sorry but if Pakistan can justify spending 4.5% on defence to defend against India.India is fully justified in spending 3% of GDP vis a vis China which despite having an economy 3X our size spends more as a % of GDP in defence.
And please we are growing at 7%+ in a global recession(so we clearly know how to manage defence spending vis a vis civilian spending you can't because the Pak army calls the shots and effectively writes its own paycheck and screams TRAITOR whenever sensible Pakistanis like Asma Jehangir question its finances) our birth rates are falling and standard of living are rising.So I suggest you face this rising indian defence spending as a fait accompli.
Besides we already have overwhelming conventional superiority over Pakistan so the situation won't fundamentally change.
And the important thing is trend lines the bottom line is in India per capita incomes are rising and in Pakistan they are falling as birth rate>gdp growth rate(albeit only this year),in dollar terms the decline is 20%+.
Anon: "India is fully justified in spending 3% of GDP vis a vis China which despite having an economy 3X our size spends more as a % of GDP in defence."
I think it's shameful for India to be engaging in massive arms buildup when 46% of its children are malnourished, and it ranks very low on hunger and poverty indexes, lower than its neighbors China and Pakistan.
I think it's shameful for India to be engaging in massive arms buildup when 46% of its children are malnourished, and it ranks very low on hunger and poverty indexes, lower than its neighbors China and Pakistan.
Noble thoughts and Pakistan is a paragon of fiscal prudence now isn't it.
It on average spends twice as much on defense as a % of GDP than India does and its not for self defense,nukes rule out full scale war.It basically is a case of army officers writing their own paychecks and wrapping themselves in the flag and questioning critics patriotism whenever spending ~50% of the budget on defense is questioned.
What is really shameful is a country that survives on handouts from US/China/S Arabia and has to choose between the army and politicians like Zardari actually has citizens like you who actually think that it can even hope to compete as an equal no less!!! with the Republic of India a trillion $+ G-20 economy with 300bn in FX reserves and the world's second fastest growth rate but wait a minute what do facts have to do with it!
THIS IS A PAKISTANI BLOG!!!!
'hum kissi se kam nahi!' is what you want to hear.
So do continue though I notice these days that Pakistanis in Pakistan are a lot more subdued and realistic than Pakistanis in the west.
anon: "with the Republic of India a trillion $+ G-20 economy with 300bn in FX reserves and the world's second fastest growth rate but wait a minute what do facts have to do with it!"
The problem is that, in spite of "trillion $+ G-20 economy with 300bn in FX reserves", it is home to the largest number of poor, malnourished and hungry people in the world.
Last year, Indian Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed acknowledged that India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement.
Speaking at a conference on "Malnutrition an emergency: what it costs the nation", she said even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during interactions with the Planning Commission has described malnourishment as the "blackest mark".
"I should not compare. But countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are better," she said. The conference was organized last year by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region.
According to India's Family Health Survey, almost 46 percent of children under the age of three are undernourished - an improvement of just one percent in the last seven years. This is only a shade better than Sub-Saharan Africa where about 35 percent of children are malnourished.
The UN Millennium Develop Goals listed below remain distant for the Indian people:
1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2 Achieve universal primary education
3 Promote gender equality and empower women
4 Reduce child mortality
5 Improve maternal health
6 Combat HIV/Aids, malaria, and other diseases
7 Ensure environmental sustainability
8 Develop a global partnership for development
About one-third of the world's extremely poor people live in India. More than 450 million Indians exist on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. It also has a higher proportion of its population living on less than $2 per day than even sub-Saharan Africa. India has about 42% of the population living below the new international poverty line of $1.25 per day. The number of Indian poor also constitute 33% of the global poor, which is pegged at 1.4 billion people, according to a Times of India news report. More than 6 million of those desperately poor Indians live in Mumbai alone, representing about half the residents of the nation's financial capital. They live in super-sized slums and improvised housing juxtaposed with the shining new skyscrapers that symbolize India's resurgence. According to the World Bank and the UN Development Program (UNDP), 22% of Pakistan's population is classified as poor.
There is widespread hunger and malnutrition in all parts of India. India ranks 66th on the 2008 Global Hunger Index of 88 countries while Pakistan is slightly better at 61 and Bangladesh slightly worse at 70. The first India State Hunger Index (Ishi) report in 2008 found that Madhya Pradesh had the most severe level of hunger in India, comparable to Chad and Ethiopia. Four states — Punjab, Kerala, Haryana and Assam — fell in the 'serious' category. "Affluent" Gujarat, 13th on the Indian list is below Haiti, ranked 69. The authors said India's poor performance was primarily due to its relatively high levels of child malnutrition and under-nourishment resulting from calorie deficient diets.
India might be an emerging economic power, but it is way behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in providing basic sanitation facilities, a key reason behind the death of 2.1 million children under five in the country.
Lizette Burgers, chief of water and environment sanitation of the Unicef, recently said India is making progress in providing sanitation but it lags behind most of the other countries in South Asia. A former Indian minister Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told the BBC that more than 65% of India's rural population defecated in the open, along roadsides, railway tracks and fields, generating huge amounts of excrement every day.
@Riaz: Shall we dismantle our army since it is such a waste. After all India has higher priority of looking after its poor first and once we have no army the world will not allow it to strike Pakistan.
Also it seems Pak cricketers are very angry to have left behind in the gold rush for cricketers in the IPL tournament. No problem. Pak has a strong economy and can have PPL. Afridit can earn at least 50,000 dollars in a season if not 500,000 dollars others are earning in IPL.
DC: "Shall we dismantle our army since it is such a waste. After all India has higher priority of looking after its poor first and once we have no army the world will not allow it to strike Pakistan."
I don't believe in unilateral disarmament. It'll only lead to more aggression.
DC: "Also it seems Pak cricketers are very angry to have left behind in the gold rush for cricketers in the IPL tournament."
This is business and entertainment in a "globalized market". Under normal rules of business, the T20 world champs would fetch very high prices.
But apparently, many Indians are still determined to show their true hostile colors. It's a serious setback for any serious rapprochement.
After all, the FICCI report recommended war with Pakistan, a highly unusual recommendation for a business group.
And the same week that Times of India and Jang Group did their admirable spiel of "Aman ki Asha", the Indian army chief torpedoed it by threatening to invade and finish Pakistan.
These are all very troubling signs for peace in South Asia. Lack of peace will hurt ALL south Asians, regardless of the side of the border they are on.
So what are you suggesting, India should stop protecting herself because it has hungry childrens?
Or are you suggesting India is not spending anything for welfare of the citizens?
These are two different challenges - security and poverty. Both challenges demands attention and treatment. 3% of GDP is a minimal of what is requires specially when you are surrounded by Pakistan and China.
Read this article from world bank -
Key points for India
Over the last 10 years, India witnessed a rapid and robust growth, which enabled millions of people to escape poverty. India, however, still remains one of the most undernourished countries in the world. India’s 2005 National Family Health Survey -3 (NFHS) found 46% of children below the age of 3 years were underweight and 38% were stunted. The survey findings highlight that neither economic growth nor food security is likely to be sufficient to lower the prevalence of malnutrition. Factors such as appropriate infant and young child feeding, hygiene and sanitation, prevention and treatment of illnesses and status of women are critical.
Pakistan suffers from high rates of child malnutrition and has made little progress in the past 20 years. While the problem has been recognized in Pakistan for several decades, infant and children under 5 mortality remains high. Pakistan fares well in comparison to some of South Asian countries, such as India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. However, it is still much higher than most Sub-Sahara African countries. Malnutrition is not confined to infants and young children, but it is also prevalent among women of reproductive age.
1. Both nations are travelling on same boat. However, India is atleast trying and things are improving (as mentioned in the article). The National Family Health survery of 2005 it self is a indication that we want to improve. When Did pakistan have the similar survey last time?
2. Pakistan has made no improvements in last 20 years!! Probably this is the time they should stop spending as much as they do on their militry.
3. Pakistan fares well in comparison to some of South Asian countries, such as India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. However, it is still much higher than most Sub-Sahara African countries
Riaz, as much contrastive it may sound, it is the fact that the defense spending also drives economy. Logically you may say that since there are so many poor people in India, they should significantly reduce defense spending and investments on space programs and anything and everything that sounds pompous; but it doesn't really work out that way. Its not that simple.
I feel the only answer to eradicating poverty is by having better systems and processes in place and no amount of money dolling can help there. Defense expenditure is also a part of that larger system, and as long as there is lesser corruption overall, India is gonna improve and it has been improving beyond doubt tremendously.
I may be the only one to feel this way, but I sense that corruption in India is a lot less than what used to be there when I was a kid. It is still a "big" problem, but instruments like "Right to Information" etc have been in the right direction.
I tried to locate one speech of Dr Manmohan Singh, but I couldn't find that. What he said was simple, if you consider the macro-economic perspective of India, it would grow, and grow quite fast for the next 20-30 years. The challenges would be to handle the micro-economic disparities and the huge disparity in wealth, education etc.
But that's a challenge, and varying defense budget from 2 to 3% is not something that is going to be of any significant help.
It will take one or more decades before u.s. figures out it is not going to get anything back and Indian hyper nationalist ego is too big to play a good deputy sheriff to u.s. Pakistan can benefit if other countries start to perceive Indian navy build up as a strategic threat.
anon: Gates is right about some of the terrorists groups trying to spark a war between India and Pakistan....such as Laskar and al Qaeda, but he left out Indian intelligence agencies heavily infiltrated by Hindutva outfits that are trying to do exactly the same thing. According to SM Mushrif, former Maharashtra police chief, by blaming all terror on Muslims and Pakistanis, the IB and RAW are covering up the terrorist acts of Hindu terrorists such as Abhinav Bharat, and their Sangh Parivar supporters, such as the frequent bombings. Mushrif specifically names Goa, Samjhota Express and Malegaon bombings.
Looks like Indians and Pakistanis still have a long way to go in tackling their own problems before they start pointing out each others faults.
The problem is that, in spite of "trillion $+ G-20 economy with 300bn in FX reserves", it is home to the largest number of poor, malnourished and hungry people in the world.
And you know who is second on that list? China.
it has 18% of its pop(250mn+) living under $1/day,In China price levels are on average 30% higher than in India.
Oh and try to google China and Hepatitis B(>10% of Chinese are infected)
The thing is countries with >1 billion will have more absolute numbers of poor people.big deal.
The thing is trend lines Indian poverty rates are FALLING not as fast as GDP growth but falling never the same birth rates are dropping fertility is now 2.7 vis a vis Pakistan's 3.8(big problem specially when mullahs deem family planning as unislamic) and literacy rates are improving.
So on the whole on HDI indicators we are where China was in 1995 and will be where China is today in the 2020-25 time frame this is based on a very reasonable growth forecast of 7-7.5% over this decade which we have already achieved in the back drop of a global recession so...
anon: "(India's) birth rates are dropping fertility is now 2.7 vis a vis Pakistan's 3.8(big problem specially when mullahs deem family planning as unislamic)"
The increasing urbanization has had the effect of defusing the "population bomb" in Pakistan, in spite of the mullahs. With increasing urbanization, Pakistan's population growth rate has declined from 2.17% in 2000 to 1.9% in 2008. Based on PAI Research Commentary by Karen Hardee and Elizabeth Leahy, the total fertility rate (TFR) in Pakistan is still the highest in South Asia at 4.1 children per woman. Women in urban areas have an average of 3.3 children compared to their rural counterparts, who have an average of 4.5 children. The overall fertility rate has been cut in half from about 8 children per woman in 1960s to about 4 this decade, according to a study published in 2009.
even today there are instrusion into india with the cover of attack by pak border forces. So what do u want india to do ? In fact that is the reason that no sponsor has purchased the pakistan player as they will get screwed by the market irrespective of whether it is a muslim or hindu. On an objective review, maximum muslim were killed in the shoot out at cst railway station mumbai.
anon: "even today there are instrusion into india with the cover of attack by pak border forces."
Why do such accusations surface whenever Indians talk about cutting troops in Indian occupied Kashmir?
I find Mehbooba Mufti's fears plausible that the Indian agencies are staging or making up these "intrusions" and "attacks" like the hotel attack in Srinagar.
Here is a BBC report about Taliban's brazen Kabul attacks and how the Taliban deliberately avoided civilian casualties, unlike the Pakistani Taliban:
The Taliban, we learned later, having failed to storm the government buildings they had at first targeted, sought shelter elsewhere.
At least four went into a crowded shopping centre.
If their intention had been to kill as many people as possible, it would have been achievable there.
But they didn't. They ordered everyone - shoppers and shopkeepers alike - out. Soon the building was on fire.
The Taliban fighters died amid the flames, most of them in a volley of gunfire, while the last man alive blew himself up.
The number of civilians who died was - given the scale of what was happening - surprisingly low.
From Pakistan, we learned, a Taliban spokesman had called a news agency, while the attack was still under way, to announce that 20 of its militants were involved.
The public relations management was as vital to the perpetrators as the co-ordination of the attack itself.
This care, this determination to avoid civilian deaths is now part of the conflict in Afghanistan.
It is something the Taliban shares with its Nato enemies.
In a presentation to Pakistani media, Gen Kayani reiterated his widely reported comments on the Pakistan Army’s view of the situation in Afghanistan and the way forward there.
History, unresolved issues, India’s military capability and its ‘Cold Start’ doctrine meant that Pakistan could not afford to let its guard down. Repeating a well-known formulation, Gen Kayani said: “We plan on adversaries’ capabilities, not intentions.”
The tough, matter-of-fact line on India was in stark contrast to that of Gen Kayani’s predecessor, Gen (retd) Musharraf, who tried hard to push for peace with India in his latter years in power.
The general was particularly keen to highlight the threat posed by India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine. Turing the traditional theory of war on its head, ‘Cold Start’ would permit the Indian Army to attack before mobilising, increasing the possibility of a “sudden spiral escalation”, according to Gen Kayani.
The Pakistan Army’s concerns about ‘Cold Start’ are well known, but Gen Kayani went as far as to put a timeline on its implementation: two years for India to achieve partial implementation and five years for full.
If true, the strategic impact could be of the highest order: defence analysts have speculated that ‘Cold Start’ may lead the Pakistan Army to lower its nuclear threshold as a way of deterring any punitive strikes or rapid capture of territory by the Indian armed forces.
Yet, Gen Kayani was also keen to point out that he did not have a one-dimensional view of security. Despite the fact that India’s defence budget is “seven times” that of Pakistan’s “there has to be a balance between development and military spending,” the general said.
He also pleaded that “peace and stability in South Asia should not be made hostage to a single terrorist act of a non-state actor”, a reference to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Refusing to talk to Pakistan would send a bad signal on two counts: one, the non-state actors would know that they have the power to nudge India and Pakistan towards war; and two, within India it would become clear that relations with Pakistan could be suspended indefinitely.
The comments on India, though, came only later in an extended Power Point Presentation that covered everything from the operations in Swat and South Waziristan to the “way forward” in Afghanistan. Gen Kayani seemed relatively pleased with the reaction his presentation received when first unveiled at a meeting of chiefs of defence staff of Nato and its allied countries in Brussels late last month.
Emphasising what he termed the “fundamentals”, he claimed that until the Afghan government improved its credibility and governance record and until the Afghan population began to change its perception that Isaf is not winning, the Afghan government would not be able to establish its writ and the local Taliban would not be “weaned off”.
But on Afghanistan, too, India featured in Gen Kayani’s comments. Rejecting India’s reported interest in training the Afghan National Army and the country’s police force, Gen Kayani argued that Pakistan had a more legitimate expectation to do so.
Taken together, Gen Kayani’s comments suggest that the possibility of a thaw in relations between India and Pakistan any time soon is low.
Both India and Pakistan appear to have firmly lapsed into the old pattern of highlighting the differences between them and the threats they face from each other, while nominally leaving the door open to an improvement in relations if one side addresses the other’s concerns.
Unlike the past, though, the stakes appear to be higher because of the uncertain future of Afghanistan and a ‘nuclear overhang’ that may be affected by ‘Cold Start’.
I am not really surprised to see another pakistani talking about stupid things so that to make himself belive that pakistan is superior. The whole world knows that india is ahead in verey field compared to pakistan, and i agree that we are a developing country. But atleast the indians are on the way to development. The problem with pakistan is lack of vision. Pakistanis really dont care about their nation. Its all Talk. The truth is that they have become selfish and left the country to idiotic politicians who have run it to the ground and beileve me in anoother 5-10 years will also stamp it as a Failed state. Wake up and grab your country from your politicians, dont just sit and wait for something to happen. One more thing, there ios nothing better for india to progress and see pakistan to progress. every indian wants this..peace, and prosperity on both sides. So stop comparing, living in fictious bubbles of comparisons and talk about ground reality or else time will pass by and it will be too late for a nation.
Here are excerpts from WSJ story on US arms deals with India and Pakistan:
The U.S. has made billions of dollars in weapons deals with India, which is in the midst of a five-year, $50 billion push to modernize its military.
At the same time, American military aid to Pakistan stands to nearly double next year, allowing Islamabad to acquire more U.S.-made helicopters, night-vision goggles and other military equipment. The aid has made it easier for Pakistan to ramp up its fight against militants on the Afghan border, as the U.S. tries to convince Islamabad that its biggest security threat is within the country, not in India.
During a late January trip to Islamabad, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. would for the first time give Pakistan a dozen surveillance drones, a longstanding Pakistani request.
Washington's relationships with the two nations are very different. India, which is wealthier and larger than its neighbor, pays for weapons purchases with its own funds. Pakistan, by contrast, uses American grants to fund most of its arms purchases. A new U.S. counterinsurgency assistance fund for Pakistan is slated to increase from $700 million in fiscal year 2010 to $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2011.
"We do straight commercial deals with India, while Pakistan effectively uses the money we give them to buy our equipment," said a U.S. official who works with the two countries. "But we think that's ultimately in our national interest because it makes the Pakistanis more capable of dealing with their homegrown terrorists."
India is one of the largest buyers of foreign-made munitions, with a long shopping list which includes warships, fighter jets, tanks and other weapons. Its defense budget is $30 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, a 70% increase from five years ago. The country is preparing its military to deal with multiple potential threats, including conflict with Pakistan. Tensions have recently flared between India and China over territorial claims along their border. China defeated India in a short war in 1962.
"For 2010 and 2011, India could well be the most important market in the world for defense contractors looking to make foreign military sales," said Tom Captain, the vice chairman of Deloitte LLP's aerospace and defense practice.
Russia has been India's main source of military hardware for decades, supplying about 70% of equipment now in use. Moscow is working to keep that position, with talks ongoing to sell India 29 MiG-29K carrier-borne jet fighters, according to an Indian Defense Ministry spokesman.
The Obama administration is trying to persuade New Delhi to buy American jet fighters instead, a shift White House officials say would lead to closer military and political relations between India and the U.S. It would also be a bonanza for U.S. defense contractors, and has dispatched senior officials such as Mr. Gates to New Delhi to deliver the message that Washington hopes India will choose American defense firms for major purchases in the years ahead.
Shortly after a late January visit by Mr. Gates—on the same tour that took him to Islamabad—In late January, the administration signed off on India's request to purchase 145 U.S.-made howitzers, a $647 million deal.Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Mr. Gates's visit didn't affect the substance or timing of the howitzer purchase.
That came days after India formally expressed its intent to purchase 10 cargo transport aircraft from Boeing Co. in a deal analysts say could be worth more than $2 billion. Last year, India spent $2.1 billion on eight Boeing long-range Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft for the Indian navy.
Here are some facts about India's "security think tanks" from an Indian blogger writing about "escape from India":
With the emergence of Hindutva fascist forces and their alliance with Neo cons and Zionists, India witnessed a sharp increase in the number of research institutes, media houses and lobbying groups. According to a study by Think Tanks & Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, India has 422 think tanks, second only to the US, which has over 2,000 such institutions.
Out of 422 recognized Indian think tanks, around 63 are engaged in security research and foreign policy matters, which are heavily funded by global weapon industry. India’s Retired spies, Police officers, Military personals, Diplomats and Journalists are hired by such national security & foreign policy research institutes which gets enormous fund from global weapon industry. These dreaded institutions are in fact has a hidden agenda. Behind the veil, they work as the public relations arm of weapon industry. They create fake terror stories with the help of media and intelligence wing, manipulate explosions through criminals in areas of tribals, dalits or minorities in order to get public acceptance for weapon contracts.
By creating conflicts in this poor country, Brahmin spin masters get huge commission from the sale of weapons to government forces. To this corrupt bureaucrats, India’s ‘National Interest‘ simply means ‘their self Interest’. Their lobbying power bring more wealth to their families as lucrative jobs, citizenship of rich countries and educational opportunities abroad.
Mentionable that India is one of the world’s largest weapons importers. Between 2000 and 2007 India ranked world’s second largest arms importer accounting for 7.5 % of all major weapons transfers. It stood fourth among the largest military spender in terms of purchasing power in 2007 followed by US, China and Russia.
Over 1,130 companies in 98 countries manufacture arms, ammunitions and components. 90 % of Conventional arms exports in the world are from the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council namely USA, UK, Russia, China & France. The countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East hold 51 per cent of the world’s heavy weapons.
The Defence Offset Facilitation Agency estimating the expenditure on the sector at USD 100 billion for next five years. At least 38 court cases relating to arms agreements are still pending against bureaucrats and military officers. Hindu fascist forces currently enjoy upper hand in media, civil service, judiciary, defence and educational streams of Indian society. Sooner or later, 25,000 strong democratic institutions in India will be collapsed and the country will be transformed to a limited democracy under the rule of security regime like Turkey or Israel. Hindutva’s security centric nationalism never was capable of bringing peace and protection to the life of our ordinary citizens.
According to Global Peace Index, India currently ranked on bottom, (122 with 2.422 score). Interestingly, our favourite arms supplier, Israel is among the worst performer when it comes to peace ranking. (141). It reminds a simple fact that the peace cannot be attained by sophisticated security apparatus.
Further more, India topped on Asian Risk Prospects -2009, with the highest political and social risk, scoring 6.87, mainly because of internal and external instability (PERC)
Here's an excerpt from a recently published article on Indian missile defense:
A ballistic missile flight from Sargodha, Pakistan, could reach New Delhi in about 5-7 minutes. As such, Indian missile defense proponents envision the system working as follows: A technically complex and vast constellation of early warning sensors would detect the missile immediately after it is launched. This part of the system is already more or less in place; the Green Pine radar, which India purchased from Israel around 2002 and is situated about 200 kilometers north of New Delhi, can detect a missile 90 seconds after it has been launched--at least on a preliminary basis. The next step is to determine whether the signal picked up by the radar is that of an incoming missile or a false alarm.
Complicating matters is that India and Pakistan share a border, making for shorter ballistic missile flights. For example, the estimated total missile flight times are 8-13 minutes for ranges of 600-2,000 kilometers. The flight times can be even less if the missile is flown in a depressed trajectory.
Such a short time period places stringent conditions on procedures for evaluating and verifying warnings. There would be no time to consult or deliberate after receiving this warning. In other words, any response would have to be predetermined, presenting a significant likelihood of accidental nuclear war from false alarms.
Oddly, despite such potentially catastrophic consequences, in India the debate about missile defense has become a debate about India's burgeoning ties with Washington as a part of New Delhi's "Next Steps in Security Partnership"--a 2002 diplomatic initiative between the United States and India to expand their cooperation in civilian nuclear activities and civilian space programs, along with broadening their dialogue on missile defense to promote nonproliferation and to ease the transfer of advanced technologies to India.
Here's another commentary on India's missile defense by a blogger on Nuclear Dreams:
Pakistan is a stone’s throw away from the Indian border, and as Gopalaswamy in this essay and Mian and others in a more detailed 2003 Science and Global Security article explain, flight time for a missile to reach New Delhi from Pakistan would be about 4-7 mins. What would the Indian authorities do in such a short time? Detecting any such signal and confirming it as a true one would consume all the time needed for authorities to determine it as a hostile missile launch from Pakistan. The detection would be done by the Arrow system that India acquired from Israel that’s located about 200 kms from Delhi. But because of this very short flight time, there would be no time for further deliberation and any response would have to be a predetermined one.
As Mian and his colleagues state in their article, there are two forms which predetermined response could take; civil defense and/or retaliation. Retaliation if at all possible in such a short time would have to be very quick. Retaliation against nuclear-tipped missiles would be very difficult in the boost phase (right after the missile lifts off, which gives the defense about 90 seconds to destroy the missile) and extremely dangerous in the terminal phase (the phase before the missile hits the target during which its destruction could nonetheless cause great damage to the home territory). As both articles state, with such predetermined responses the threat of false alarms and nuclear conflict increases, an assertion borne out by several close calls during the Cold War even when the response time was much longer.
Here's a recent news report on Asian nukes from Times of India:
Pakistan is estimated to have more nuclear warheads than India and the two Asian neighbours along with China are increasing their arsenals and deploying weapons at more sites, two eminent American atomic experts have claimed.
While Pakistan is estimated to possess 70-90 nuclear weapons, India is believed to have 60-80, claims Robert S Norris and Hans M Kristensen in their latest article 'Nuclear Notebook: Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2009'.
The article published in the latest issue of 'Bulletin of the Atomic Science' claimed that Beijing, Islamabad and New Delhi are quantitatively and qualitatively increasing their arsenals and deploying weapons at more sites, yet the locations are difficult to pinpoint.
For example, no reliable public information exists on where Pakistan or India produces its nuclear weapons, it said.
"Whereas many of the Chinese bases are known, this is not the case in Pakistan and India, where we have found no credible information that identifies permanent nuclear weapons storage locations," they said.
"Pakistan's nuclear weapons are not believed to be fully operational under normal circumstances, India is thought to store its nuclear warheads and bombs in central storage locations rather than on bases with operational forces. But, since all three countries are expanding their arsenals, new bases and storage sites probably are under construction," the two nuclear experts said.
Here is an Indian report which disregards any Pakistani indigenous contribution to its missile programs and gives China and North Korea the entire credit. This might be a good way for the Indians not to feel too sorry for themselves. But the fact is that Pakistan has made tremendous progress in its domestic scientific research capabilities and indigenous industrial manufacture. The Indians have more access to foreign help than Pakistan and yet their program lags behind Pakistan:
With active help from China and North Korea, Pakistan has surged well ahead of India in the missile arena. The only nuclear-capable ballistic missile in India's arsenal which can be said to be 100% operational as of now is the short-range Prithvi missile.
Though the 700-km Agni-I and 2,000-km-plus Agni-II ballistic missiles are being "inducted" into the armed forces, it will take "some time" for them to become "fully-operational in the numbers required".
Defence sources said the armed forces were still in the process of undertaking the "training trials" of Agni-I and Agni-II to give them the requisite capabilities to fire them on their own.
Of the two, the progress report of Agni-I, tested for the first time in January 2002 to plug the operational gap between Prithvi (150-350 km) and Agni-II missiles, is much better. The Army has already conducted two "user training trials", one in October 2007 and other in March 2008, of the Pakistan-specific Agni-I missile.
The fourth test of 3,500-km Agni-III, which will give India the strategic capability to hit targets deep inside China, is also on the anvil now. But Agni-III, tested successfully only twice in April 2007 and May 2008, will not be ready for induction before 2012.
Then, of course, design work on India's most ambitious strategic missile with near ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) capabilities, the 5,000-km range Agni-V, which incorporates a third composite stage in the two-stage Agni-III, is also in progress. "We should be ready to test Agni-V by 2010-2011," said an official.
So, in effect, the missile report card is rather dismal at present. "Unlike Pakistan, our programme is indigenous. But a strategic missile needs to be tested 10 to 15 times, over a variety of flight envelopes and targets, before it can be said to be fully-operational. A missile cannot be dubbed ready just after three to four tests," said an expert.
Keeping this benchmark in mind, only Prithvi can be dubbed to be fully ready. Defence PSUs like Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Bharat Earth Movers Ltd and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd, in fact, are stepping up production of the different Prithvi variants.
Army, for instance, has orders worth Rs 1,500 crore for 75 Prithvi-I and 62 Prithvi-II missiles, while IAF has gone in for 63 Prithvi-II missiles for over Rs 900 crore.
Navy, in turn, has ordered Dhanush missiles, the naval version of Prithvi, with a 350 km strike range, for its "dual-tasked" warships, INS Subhadra and INS Suvarna.
India wants to gatecrash into the very exclusive club of `Big-Five' countries like Russia, US and China, which have both ICBMs (missiles with strike ranges over 5,500-km) and SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), before 2015.
The SLBM quest is specifically crucial since it's the most effective and secure leg of the "nuclear weapon triad", with land-based missiles and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs constituting the first two components.
The initial range of K-15 SLBM being developed by DRDO will, however, be limited to 750-km, far less than the over 5,000-km range SLBMs brandished by the `Big-5' countries.
Here's a piece by Eric Margolis on US-India ties titled "Welcome to India, Obama Sahib":
While the western media fulminates against Taliban’s or Iran’s treatment of women, a leading British medical journal reports an estimated 40,000 Indian women are burned alive each year by their in-laws to grab their dowries. Infanticide of female children is endemic. But few in the west seem to care.
India is a giant with feet of clay. A senior western diplomat in unhealthy Delhi told me that at any given time, half his staff is ill with serious maladies. India is plagued by grave health and environmental problems.
India is really two nations: modern, dynamic, high-tech urban India of about 100 million, and antique, timeless rural Mother India of 1.1 billion souls.
To China’s annoyance, President Obama proclaimed in Delhi that India should have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. India is becoming a great power and deserves a seat among the world’s big boys. But so do Germany, Japan, Turkey and Brazil.
India and its people, long disparaged by British racist jokes, are delighted to be called equals by the great powers. In fact, nuclear-armed India sees itself very much as regional hegemon of the entire Indian Ocean extending from East Africa to Australia.
The Bush administration’s deal with Delhi to sanctify and facilitate India’s nuclear weapons programs was thought at the time a clever move. But it dismayed the rest of the world, made a mockery of non-proliferation, and outraged the entire Muslim world, which has been blasting the US for hypocrisy by threatening war against Iran, which is under UN nuclear inspection, while playing nuclear footsie with India, which rejected all UN inspection.
India’s leaders are no fools and will not be easily pushed or bribed into a stronger anti-China and anti-Iran stance by Washington – Delhi maintains cool but correct relations with Beijing, but behind the wintry, trans-Himalayan smiles lies growing rivalry over Chinese-occupied Tibet, Indian-ruled Ladakh and Kashmir, their long, poorly demarcated Himalayan border (another gift of the British Empire), strategic Burma, and their intensifying nuclear and naval rivalry.
India claims China is trying to surround it, using Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Burma. The two Asian superpowers have been locked in a strategic and conventional arms race for a decade. In 1999, this writer postulated that the two giants would one day clash over their contested borders.
India will follow its own strategic and diplomatic interests – which are not synonymous with those of the United States.
Delhi has a long record of clever diplomacy that has isolated Pakistan and kept the world and UN out of the burning Kashmir problem, where 40,000–80,000 Kashmiris have died in a long independence struggle against Indian rule.
But the United States is now slowly being drawn into the dangerous Kashmir dispute – which triggered the 2008 terror bombing in Mumbai. Just look for example at the embarrassing revelations that one of the men involved in the 2008 Mumbai massacre was working for the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
The more Washington backs and arms India, the more its relations with China will deteriorate. Japan is also quietly building up India against China, to Beijing’s mounting anger.
The US could even be drawn into an India-China regional conflict. So caution is advised to US diplomats as they charge into the murky, tangled, poorly understood geopolitics of South and East Asia.
We also wonder if President Obama was briefed on India’s growing strategic arsenal.Delhi already has enough medium-ranged Agni-series missiles to cover potential foe China. Why then is Delhi spending billions to develop a reported 12,000 km ICBM whose only targets could be North America, Europe or Australia? ..
Here's a Dawn news report on US bipartisan panel recommending Pakistan's membership of G20:
WASHINGTON: The United States should seek Pakistan’s membership or at least observer status in major international forums, such as the Group of Twenty, a US task force recommended on Friday.
The panel – led by Richard Armitage and Samuel Berger, top aides to former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – notes that Pakistan’s presence in such groups would enable it “to connect with new power structures and familiarise it with emerging norms and responsible international behaviour”.
In a report released on Friday, the task force, which enjoys support of the administration, endorses the Obama administration’s effort to cultivate cooperation with Pakistan as the best way to “secure vital US interests in the short, medium, and long run”.
It recommends that this approach should include significant investments in Pakistan’s own stability, particularly after this summer’s floods. But in order for US assistance to be effective over the long-term, Washington must make clear that it “expects Pakistan to make a sustained effort to undermine Pakistan-based terrorist organisations and their sympathisers.” The task force warns that “two realistic scenarios” could force a fundamental reassessment of US strategy and policy.
First, it is possible that Pakistan-based terrorists conduct a large-scale attack on the United States and that the Pakistani government – for any number of reasons – refuses to take adequate action against the perpetrators. In the aftermath of a traumatic terrorist attack, it would be impossible for US leaders to accept Pakistani inaction.
The United States most likely would launch a targeted strike on Pakistani territory led by Special Forces raids or aerial attacks on suspected terrorist compounds. Even limited US military action would provoke a strong backlash among Pakistanis. Public anger in both countries would open a rift between Washington and Islamabad.
In a second scenario, Washington could reach the conclusion that Pakistan is unwilling to improve its cooperation on US counter-terrorism priorities. The panel warns that frustration over Pakistan’s persistent relationships with groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Afghan Taliban at some point could cause the United States to shift its approach towards Pakistan.
In this case, Washington will have a number of points of leverage with Pakistan. It could curtail civilian and military assistance. It could also work bilaterally and through international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the UN, to sanction and isolate Pakistan.
US operations against Pakistan-based terrorist groups could be expanded and intensified.
In the region, the United States could pursue closer ties with India at Pakistan’s expense.
“Sticks would be directed against Pakistan-based terrorists, but also against the Pakistani state, in an effort to alter its policies. The US-Pakistan relationship would become openly adversarial.”
But the panel warns that “Americans and Pakistanis must understand that these options carry heavy risks and costs. Both sides have a great deal to lose”.
Here's a Times of India story from another leaked document about India's pursuit of UN Security Council permanent seat:
New Delhi . The latest wave of WikiLeaks threatens to affect Indo-US ties, with the startling disclosure that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called India a ‘self appointed’ UNSC front-runner and ordered spying of the country’s bid to become a permanent member of the body.
The US had forewarned India about the latest rash of leaks, observing that they may harm American interests and create tension in its ties with its ‘friends.’ And now that the leaks are out, there are fears in the foreign policy establishment here that the disclosures, which cover 2006-2010, may have damaging information on the Indo-US nuclear deal too.
In a cable dealing with UNSC expansion, the US State Department reportedly asked its diplomats to collect details about the bids of ‘self-appointed front-runners’ for the permanent seat of UNSC. The cables have not yet been officially released and pre-date President Barack Obama’s announcement of US support to India’s UNSC bid during his address to parliament on November 8.
Wikileaks has in its possession more than 3,000 cables coming out of the US Embassy in New Delhi. The government is now bracing for more devastating revelations.
Ms Clinton had sent a cable to American embassies and missions around the world in 2009, ostensibly directing the diplomats to be part of the intelligence, according to classified documents made public by the whistle-blower website.
The 8,358-word National Humint Collection Directive (Humint being Human Intelligence) ``reflects the results of a recent Washington review of reporting and collection needs focused on the United Nations ,’’ the documents say.
The information Ms Clinton directed the diplomats to ascertain ranged from basic biographical data such as diplomats' names and addresses to their frequent flier and credit card numbers, to even ``biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats.’’ Typical biometric information includes fingerprints, signatures and iris recognition.
The cable, simply signed ‘Clinton’, is classified S/NF - or ‘Secret/No Foreign’ - and was sent to 33 US embassies and the UN mission offices in New York, Vienna and Rome.
It asked officers overseas to gather information about “office and organisational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes,’’ as well as “internet and intranet handles, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information,’’ revealed the leaked documents.
In a Twitter posting, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, in the meanwhile, denied that American diplomats were doing double duty as intelligence gatherers.
“Contrary to some WikiLeaks' reporting, our diplomats are diplomats. They are not intelligence assets,’’ the tweet attributed to him said. He downplayed the cable's significance by writing in a separate tweet: ``Diplomats collect information that shapes our policies and actions. Diplomats for all nations do the same thing.’’
The White House said cables are candid reports by diplomats and can give an incomplete picture of the relationship between the United States and foreign governments. The cables are not expressions of policy, nor do they always shape final policy decisions, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
India is joining US in stifling Iran trade, according to a WSJ report today:
The Reserve Bank of India instructed the country's lenders Monday to stop processing current-account transactions with Iran using the ACU. Last Friday, the central bank said Indian firms can't use the ACU mechanism when making payments for the import of oil or gas. While the earlier order didn't explicitly mention Iran, the Islamic republic is the only major crude exporter in the ACU.
Iran has ramped up its use of the clearinghouse by more than 50% this year compared to last year, after it advertised the clearinghouse to Iranian and Indian firms in early 2009 as a way to avoid having to use dollars for their transactions and thus "sidestep the U.S. banking system altogether."
The U.S. Treasury has regularly raised the issue with India for more than a year, according to officials briefed on the exchanges. Those conversations accelerated after President Barack Obama's visit to India in early November, when he endorsed India's bid to become a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council and join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the informal body that controls the trade in nuclear technologies.
The U.S. has been pushing allies to tighten the squeeze on Iran, whose nuclear program has aroused international fears. The U.N., the U.S. and the European Union began enacting new sanctions on Tehran in June. U.S. and European officials have said in recent weeks that they believe sanctions are exacting a growing toll on Iran. The Iranian currency dropped nearly 10% in October, as Iranian traders scrambled to obtain dollars. Iran's largest shipping company defaulted on over $500 million in debt in recent months as international insurers have refused to underwrite their cargoes.
Still, the long-term impact of the latest step by India and other recent sanctions remains unclear.
Here's an excerpt from a WSJ piece by Amol Sharma justifying India's arms buildup:
At Mazagon Dock near the southern tip of Mumbai, hidden behind high concrete walls, hundreds of Indian workers are putting the finishing touches on the hulls of two 217-foot Scorpène-class attack submarines, the first of six slated to be built over the next few years.
Nearby, workers are adding to India's fleet of stealth frigates and guided-missile destroyers.At Mazagon Dock near the southern tip of Mumbai, hidden behind high concrete walls, hundreds of Indian workers are putting the finishing touches on the hulls of two 217-foot Scorpène-class attack submarines, the first of six slated to be built over the next few years.
Nearby, workers are adding to India's fleet of stealth frigates and guided-missile destroyers.
One big reason India is beefing up its arsenal: China.
"It goes without saying that India must be seriously concerned with the rise of China's strategic power, including its military and economic power," says Ashwani Kumar, member of parliament from India's ruling Congress party. "India has consistently opposed an arms race—but India will not be found wanting in taking all measures necessary for the effective safeguarding of its territorial integrity and national interests."
From the Arabian Sea to the Pacific Ocean, countries fearful of China's growing economic and military might—and worried that the U.S. will be less likely to intervene in the region—are hurtling into a new arms race.
In December, Japan overhauled its defense guidelines, laying plans to purchase five submarines, three destroyers, 12 fighters jets, 10 patrol planes and 39 helicopters. South Korea and Vietnam are adding subs. Arms imports are on the rise in Malaysia. The tiny city-state of Singapore, which plans to add two subs, is now among the world's top 10 arms importers. Australia plans to spend as much as $279 billion over the next 20 years on new subs, destroyers and fighter planes.
Together, these efforts amount to a simultaneous buildup of advanced weaponry in the Asia-Pacific region on a scale and at a speed not seen since the Cold War arms race between America and the Soviet Union.
The buildup is unfolding as the world's military balance appears to be shifting in tandem with its economic balance. China is beginning to build a military to match its powerful economy. This is happening as the U.S. and its staunchest allies, including Britain, are looking at flat or falling military spending—and as Russia is struggling to revive its armed forces in the post-Soviet era.
China is still far from challenging the U.S. for global military supremacy. But its recent actions have countries in the region planning for a much different future.
In Australia, a report published Monday by an influential defense think tank concludes that the China threat has sparked an "urgent need to refocus" military development "to offset and deter the rapidly expanding People's Liberation Army." The report by the Kokoda Foundation, prepared with input from senior defense officials, says Australia "cannot overlook the way that the scale, pattern and speed of the PLA's development is altering security in the Western Pacific."..
Here's BBC on US Treasury chief Geithner seeking to broaden and deepen ties with India:
The US wants India to become one of its top 10 trading partners, treasury secretary Timothy Geithner said as the two countries agreed on improving access to each other's markets.
He made the remarks after meeting India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the second India-US Economic and Financial Partnership.
India is currently the US' twelfth largest trading partner, with bilateral trade of almost $50bn (£31bn).
US is the world's biggest economy.
"In the United States, we aren't just watching India's rise as an economic power, we support it. We encourage it. And we want to help advance it," Mr Geithner said.
"India's growth is good for us, just as our growth is good for India," he added.
Barriers to growth
However, Mr Geithner said that if trade between the two countries was to rise to the next level, then India needed to open up more sectors of its economy.
US companies have been lobbying to tap into India's lucrative financial and retail sector, but have not been successful so far.
"American companies still face barriers in India in sectors such as banking, insurance, manufacturing, multi-brand retail and infrastructure," Mr Geithner said.
Mr Geithner added that not only were these barriers limiting growth, they were also a hindrance to job creation in both the countries.
However, Mr Mukherjee said that given the political situation in India it was not easy to introduce reforms in key sectors.
"We do not have a simple, single-party majority in legislature and in parliament," he said.
"We shall have to carry other people with us and we are exactly trying to do that," Mr Mukherjee added.
Despite the limitations expressed by the Indian finance minister, Mr Geithner said he was happy with the overall outcome of the bilateral meeting.
"The single most important take away is the commitment of both governments to work hard to expand deepen this relationship," he said.
Here's an MSNBC report about US contingency plans to "secure" Pakistani nuclear weapons:
It’s no secret that the United States has a plan to try to grab Pakistan’s nuclear weapons -- if and when the president believes they are a threat to either the U.S. or U.S. interests. Among the scenarios seen as most likely: Pakistan plunging into internal chaos, terrorists mounting a serious attack against a nuclear facility, hostilities breaking out with India or Islamic extremists taking charge of the government or the Pakistan army.
In the aftermath of the bin Laden raid, U.S. military officials have testified before Congress about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the threat posed by “loose nukes” – nuclear weapons or materials outside the government’s control. And earlier Pentagon reports also outline scenarios in which U.S. forces would intervene to secure nuclear weapons that were in danger of falling into the wrong hands.
But out of fear of further antagonizing an important ally, officials have simultaneously tried to tone down the rhetoric by stressing progress made by Islamabad on the security front.
Such discussions of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, now believed to consist of as many as 115 nuclear bombs and missile warheads, have gotten the attention of current and former Pakistani officials. In an interview with NBC News early this month, Musharraf warned that a snatch-and-grab operation would lead to all-out war between the countries, calling it “total confrontation by the whole nation against whoever comes in.”
“These are assets which are the pride of Pakistan, assets which are dispersed and very secure in very secure places, guarded by a corps of 18,000 soldiers,” said a combative Musharraf, who led Pakistan for nearly a decade and is again running for president. “… (This) is not an army which doesn't know how to fight. This is an army which has fought three wars. Please understand that.”
Pervez Hoodboy, Pakistan’s best known nuclear physicist and a human rights advocate, rarely agrees with the former president. But he, too, says a U.S. attempt to take control of Pakistan’s nukes would be foolhardy.
“They are said to be hidden in tunnels under mountains, in cities, as well as regular air force and army bases,” he said. “A U.S. snatch operation could trigger war; it should never be attempted.”
Despite such comments, interviews with current and former U.S. officials, military reports and even congressional testimony indicate that Pakistan’s weaponry has been the subject of continuing discussions, scenarios, war games and possibly even military exercises by U.S. intelligence and special operations forces regarding so-called “snatch-and-grab” operations.
“It’s safe to assume that planning for the worst-case scenario regarding Pakistan nukes has ready taken place inside the U.S. government,” said Roger Cressey, former deputy director of counterterrorism in the Clinton and Bush White House and an NBC News consultant. “This issue remains one of the highest priorities of the U.S. intelligence community ... and the White House.”
Here's a recent Christine Fair opinion piece in Time magazine:
Early in the war, Pakistan was praised for its indispensable assistance — likely because the cooperation centered on a common foe: al-Qaeda. But as Pakistan watched the U.S. grow closer to India — not just passing the U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal but also encouraging India's presence in Afghanistan — it concluded that its interests and those of the U.S. were on a collision course.
In part because of that realization, Pakistan supported the Taliban's newly invigorated insurgency in Afghanistan. The Americans, however, resisted putting pressure on Pakistan for fear of compromising cooperation against al-Qaeda. Thus an ironic equilibrium was established: Pakistan received increasing financial "rewards" for its support of the global war on terrorism while it subsidized the very groups killing thousands of Americans and allies in Afghanistan.
With the American endgame in Afghanistan looming, U.S. officials can no longer ignore this duplicity. Pakistan's influence over the Afghan Taliban and other allies like the Haqqani network is a key obstacle to Afghans' being able to secure their country themselves. What is becoming increasingly clear is that a strategic relationship is not possible when strategic interests diverge so starkly. Observers on both sides are quietly asking whether the other is a problematic partner, an outright foe or both.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2096478_2096477_2096476,00.html #ixzz1a9K6tjzy
Here's a piece in a Russian newspaper on Putin's visit to Pakistan:
Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin will, on his first foreign tour after taking office, make his first stop in Pakistan. It symbolizes not just Pakistan’s importance in the region, but the shift in relations which means that the two countries, kept apart for so many years because of Russia’s espousal of Communism, are trying to come together. Russia seeks a new ally in the region, to substitute for India, now in the American lap, after the collapse of the USSR. Mr Putin’s visit shows that Russia intends to play a more proactive role in world affairs. It must do so, because by ceding to US supremacy, it has seen it not just invade Afghanistan physically, but threaten Iran. Russia has found its own physical space threatened by US expansionism, with the expansion of Nato threatening it in the West, the snatching away of India and the occupation of Afghanistan threatening it in Asia. The visit is a result of the successful visits to Russia by President Asif Zardari, in August 2010 for the Quadrilateral Summit, and by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar earlier this year.
Russia had previously tried to make headway in Pakistan through the Steel Mills project, and now it has offered to be involved in the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. This is an offer that Pakistan must not hesitate to take up. While Pakistan's official 'ally' has done its best to sabotage the project, and has insisted India withdraw from it, Russia is extending a helping hand. Unlike the steel mills, the pipeline from Iran is existential, providing as it will, gas not just for domestic and industrial users, but also for power production. Thus not just for strategic concerns, but national interest should incline Pakistan towards Russia. However, as strategic concerns include Afghanistan, which Russia has been deeply interested in for a very long time, Russia would also be interested in how Pakistan sees the future of Afghanistan.
It should also be recognized that Russia has a deep interest in the reset in relations between the USA and Pakistan that is presently being discussed by the joint sitting of Parliament. Russia too has seen that the US has not just gained access to South Asia through Pakistan, but also Central Asia. As Russia is seeking an ally in the region to substitute for India, and as Pakistan is distanced from the USA, Russia is naturally more interested in Pakistan than ever before. President Putin’s visit, the first ever by a Russian President to Pakistan, reflects that.
Here's Michael Krepon in armscontrolwonk.com on the results of US-India nuclear deal:
The only true believers in the civil-nuclear deal, besides its U.S. boosters, were the stewards of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. After the deal was struck, Pakistan’s requirements for credible deterrence, which were set high to begin with, appear to have grown higher still. Three related developments seem especially noteworthy: the start-up of construction on a fourth plutonium production reactor to increase Pakistan’s inventory of nuclear weapons, the imposition of a veto against negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty, and the explicit requirement for battlefield, or tactical, nuclear weapons. The first two appear to have been a direct consequence of the deal; the third was a consequence of the Indian military’s adoption of a “pro-active” defense doctrine (known as “Cold Start” in some circles) and a growing disparity in Indian and Pakistani conventional capabilities, as well as the deal.
The civ-nuke deal added insult to injury in Pakistan, where it was perceived as providing an international escort for India to sit at the high table of states possessing nuclear weapons, while leaving Pakistan out in the cold. The deal was characterized as a threat to national security because it permitted a significant influx of foreign-origin nuclear power plants and fuel; because Indian authorities stated their intention to build eight new, unsafeguarded domestic power plants; and because India’s breeder-reactor program would produce a flood of new fissile material.
These worst-case planning factors have not panned out. True, India has purchased uranium from abroad for its power plants, freeing up domestic material for bomb-making, but the Indian Parliament continues to resist liability limits for foreign companies, which stands in the way of power-plant construction for the United States and other sellers. Domestic construction of power plants also remains in the doldrums, and the ambitious plans of India’s Department of Atomic Energy for breeder reactors are as suspect as those of the Defense Research and Development Organization for the development of tanks, planes, and missiles. [For a withering critique of the DAE and DRDO, see Verghese Koithara’s outstanding new book, Managing India’s Nuclear Forces (2012).]
DRDO’s promises have become even more wildly optimistic under the leadership of Dr. V.K. Saraswat, who is now promoting effective, near-term ballistic missile defenses for Delhi and Mumbai. Just as few in the Pakistani media question their military’s nuclear requirements, few in the Indian media question the claims of DRDO and DAE. Instead, they serve as a transmission belt and lobbying arm for these enclaves.
The civil-nuclear deal and DRDO’s record of poor performance suggest that it would be wise to avoid unduly optimistic and pessimistic assessments about Indian missile defenses. Nonetheless, U.S. technology transfers for BMD, like the civ-nuke deal, would have little up-side potential and considerable down-side risk. These transfers would not help India produce an effective missile-defense system, nor change New Delhi’s embrace of strategic autonomy. They would, however, add further impetus to a three-cornered nuclear arms competition in southern Asia. President Obama has not endorsed BMD transfers, but President Romney might.
Here are a few excerpts of an MIT doctoral thesis by Christopher Clary on future India-Pakistan conflict:
Conventional wisdom suggests that India has gained sufficient conventional superiority to fight and win a limited war, but the reality is that India is unlikely to be able to both achieve its political aims and prevent dangerous escalation.
While India is developing limited options, my analysis suggests India's military advantage over Pakistan is much less substantial than is commonly believed.
Most analyses do not account adequately for how difficult it would be for the navy to have a substantial impact in a short period of time. Establishing even a partial blockade takes time, and it takes even more time for that blockade to cause shortages on land that are noticeable. As the British strategist Julian Corbett noted in 1911, "it is almost impossible that a war can be decided by naval action alone. Unaided, naval pressure can only work by a process of exhaustion. Its effects must always be slow…."7 Meanwhile, over the last decade, Pakistan has increased its ability to resist a blockade. In addition to the main commercial port of Karachi, Pakistan has opened up new ports further west in Ormara and Gwadar and built road infrastructure to distribute goods from those ports to Pakistan's heartland. To close off these ports to neutral shipping could prove particularly difficult since Gwadar and the edge of Pakistani waters are very close to the Gulf of Oman, host to the international shipping lanes for vessels exiting the Persian Gulf. A loose blockade far from shore would minimize risks from Pakistan's land-based countermeasures but also increase risks of creating a political incident with neutral vessels.
The air balance between India and Pakistan is also thought to heavily favor the larger and more technologically sophisticated Indian Air Force. While India has a qualitative and quantitative advantage, the air capabilities gap narrowed rather than widened in the last decade. The Pakistan Air Force has undergone substantial modernization since 2001, when Pakistan exited from a decade of US-imposed sanctions. With purchases from US, European, and Chinese vendors, Pakistan has both dramatically increased the number of modern fighter aircraft with beyond-visual-range capability as well as new airborne early warning and control aircraft. Meanwhile, India's fighter modernization effort has been languid over the last decade. India's largest fighter procurement effort—the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft—began in 2001 and has been slowed considerably by cumbersome defense procurement rules designed to avoid the appearance of corruption.
The ground forces balance has received the most attention from outside observers, in large part because the Indian Army has publicized its efforts at doctrinal innovation, most often referred to under the "Cold Start" moniker. However, India's ground superiority is unlikely to be sufficient to achieve a quick victory.
The net result of this analysis is to conclude that India's limited military options against Pakistan are risky and uncertain. Pakistan has options to respond to limited Indian moves, making counter-escalation likely. At least in the near-term, Pakistan appears to have configured its forces in such a way as to deny India "victory on the cheap." Therefore, India might well have to fight a full-scale war that could destroy large segments of Pakistan's army to achieve its political aims, which would approach Pakistan's stated nuclear redlines. Such a conclusion should induce caution among Indian political elites who are considering military options to punish or coerce Pakistan in a future crisis. ...
Here's a report on world's largest exporters and importers of arms:
A new report says China has passed Britain to become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter.
The report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says Pakistan is the biggest buyer of Chinese arms, accounting for 55 percent of China’s exports.
The report says Chinese weapon exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent over the previous five-year period.
It said the United States remains the world's top arms exporter, accounting for 30 percent of the market, followed by Russia at 26 percent, Germany at seven percent, France at six percent, and China at five percent.
The world’s top five arms importers were all in Asia. The report said India was the biggest buyer, followed by China, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore.
Here's an ET report on Pak-Turk air combat exercises:
International Air Exercise Indus Viper-II conducted between Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Turkish Air Force (TuAF) concluded at an operational airbase of PAF, a statement said on Sunday.
Maj Gen Ares Mehmat, Chief of Operations at TuAF, was the chief guest at the culmination ceremony, it said. Air Marshal Waseemuddin, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Operations), PAF and M Babur Hizlan, the Ambassador of Turkey, were also present at the occasion.
The Turkish Air Force contingent comprising five F-16 Fighting Falcons, combat pilots and ground technical crew participated in the air exercise conducted from March 4 to16,.
According to the statement, PAF emphasises on the combat training of its air and ground crew and regularly undertakes air exercises with air forces of friendly nations. These exercises play a vital role in honing the combat skills of PAF air crew and enable them to learn the latest air power employment strategies.
Indus Viper II provided an opportunity to combat crew of both the air forces to acquaint themselves with applied tactics of air power in near real scenario.
PAF has been participating in a number of international air exercises with some of the best air forces of the world, including United States Air Force, Italian Air Force, Turkish Air Force (TuAF) and other allied countries.
US issues arms sales waivers for Pakistan, reports PTI:
In an indication of the “positive trajectory” of the bilateral ties, the U.S. has issued a waiver, second in six months, for sale of major defence equipment to Pakistan citing national security interest.
The waiver issued quietly by the then Deputy Secretary of States Thomas Nides on February 15, and posted on the State Department website a week later on February 22, would pave the way for some major defence equipment sales to Pakistan.
“The Department issued the waiver because we have determined that security assistance is important to the national security interests of the United States and is a critical component of U.S. efforts to continue to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan grounded in concrete action on areas of shared interest,” a State Department spokesperson told PTI.
The waiver, issued within a fortnight of Secretary of State John Kerry taking the reins U.S. diplomacy on February 1, allows for the execution of America’s Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme, and for the sale or export of certain Major Defence Equipment (MDE).
“Major Defence Equipment,” means any U.S. manufactured defence article whose export is controlled by U.S. Munitions List which has a nonrecurring research and development cost of more than $50,000,000 or a total production cost of more than $200,000,000. These items require Congressional notification, the spokesman said.
“As a matter of policy we do not discuss proposed defence sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress,” he said, refraining to give any figure to the expected sale of major defence items to Pakistan after this waiver.
According to a known South Asia expert, the two waivers issued by the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September were sweeping and so allowed the release of all forms of assistance for the fiscal 2012 including non-military.
It seems the main purpose of the February 15 waiver was to create a positive atmosphere for meetings in Washington DC with visiting senior military officials from Pakistan.
“These waivers don’t represent an improvement in U.S.-Pakistan relations so much as they represent attempts to improve such relations,” an expert explained said adding that from the U.S. perspective, some level of working relations with Pakistan is necessary for the U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan to go smoothly.
Observing that security assistance builds Pakistan’s capabilities in countering terrorism, the State Department official said that such assistance will continue to be implemented consistent with its policy goals of supporting Pakistan’s shared interest in regional stability and countering terrorism.
“Despite the past challenges in our bilateral relationship with Pakistan, we are encouraged by recent engagements which indicate the positive trajectory of the relationship, including productive working group meetings addressing the full range of the relationship and Pakistan’s participation in Core Group meetings with Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said.
“As we have said, our number one shared priority remains pursuing our counterterrorism objectives to secure the safety of American and Pakistani citizens. We face a common threat from a common enemy, and we must confront terrorism and extremism together,” the official asserted.....
NEW DELHI:India-Israel ties, which have been improving steadily in last few years, is now out in the open under the Modi government, according to Israel's new Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.
Both countries have now more visibility in relations and ties are more talked about in open under the current the BJP-led government compared to the last decade, he said, adding that while bilateral relations have been productive in the past decade and growing across sectors, there is more vi ..
Read more at:
In the secret world of intelligence, where trust is a commodity best not discussed, the US and India have emerged as very unlikely partners. The US is today the most important supplier of intelligence and information to India, from being a rival until a few years ago, sources across intelligence and security agencies say.
That doesn't mean that all is forgiven and all information is fully trusted. The Indian establishment is divided over the quality of information flowing from US agencies.
Cooperation picked up after the 911 attacks in 2001, when the AB Vajpayee government opened up its secret chests containing credible terror information from Af-Pak belt. Until then, there were periods of highs and lows. The shadow of the Cold War, when both sides distrusted each other, hung heavy. "Among our foreign partners the biggest flow of information is from US agencies.Many a times they're highly credible. I won't say always," says a retired chief of one intelligence agency.
Contacts between intelligence agencies of both sides are now almost institutionalized, with visits of senior RAW officials to CIA 's Langley headquarters almost part of the drill. Such contacts exist between other agencies too.
In New Delhi, liaison meetings between intelligence officers of both countries happen often. In fact, many concede the most frequent contact is with US officials.
Much of the information that comes from American intelligence agencies deals with terror. It's now a habit for Indians to expect regular inputs from the US on terror-related developments in Pakistan."It's not always a good sign. We shouldn't get so addicted to their information," says a former intelligence officer.
In most cases, these inputs transform into alerts that invariably become public, causing international concern.Many analysts caution that unfounded alerts have the possibility of adversely affecting India's image of being a stable investment destination.
Even as the two sides boost cooperation, some are also beginning to get worried. "US is one foreign power with the biggest vested interest in the region. We should be wary," one official says. Another argues that in a large number of US inputs, the information was found to be unreliable. "It's tricky and it's advisable to be cautious," he said.
For many in the security establishment, developments of the past decade, such as that of a senior RAW officer defecting to the US in 2004, have added to questions on the US's real motives in India.Their concerns have deepened with revelations surrounding David Coleman Headley.
Such concerns may not be officially placed in the quiet intelligence agency meetings.But for US agencies to enjoy free access deep into the Indian security establishment, their real motives will forever remain the biggest challenge.
Today's #India-#Pakistan Armed Tensions - Will New U.S. Military and Nuclear Aid to #Modi Inflame Them? http://onforb.es/1BsnpQD
The Obama Administration cooperates with India in large measure from hope for collaboration with India to contain China’s military buildup and aggressive moves. Punit Saurabh just published a persuasive report, India and U.S. Grow Closer Against a Backdrop of An Expansionist China. President Obama has gone twice to India, and forged a strong tie with Modi. Those ties expand at the level of the Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, and further down at the level of the procurement undersecretary, Frank Kendall.
But that does not mean Pakistan will look on the India-U.S. cooperation as benign. On the contrary, something of an opposing set of alliances is shaping up. A little-mentioned aspect of this has been what Saurabh calls “China’s overt and covert support to the Pakistani defense buildup, aimed at India through supply of submarines, JF-17 fighters, and strategic inroads in sensitive parts of Kashmir. In other words, China is helping Pakistani on sea, air, and land, just as the U.S. helps India.
So, what is the U.S. providing for the Indian military that may add to these tensions? The single most interesting item: the Pentagon has publicly set up a collaboration group to help India build its next aircraft carrier, implementing it this month. India has kept open the option that this could be a nuclear-propelled aircraft carrier.
India is said to be particularly interested in the Pentagon’s method of launching planes, from these carriers Specifically, the next generation “Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System” (EMALS) will be used on the new Ford-class U.S. carriers. India wants that and may get it. And, it wants to build the aircraft carrier itself, at least in part. In light of the U.S. sharing advanced technology, the other part might get built in the Newport News Shipbuilding yard. That would mean a lot of lucrative business for Huntington Ingalls, already a major beneficiary of defense appropriations, and very well connected — the kind of step that tilts advanced U.S. arms making and selling toward India.
As for nuclear, India seeks, and is getting, cooperation on building nuclear reactors for civilian energy generation. That would mean a lot of lucrative business for Westinghouse and General Electric.
Of course, the United States has strong ties with Pakistan, too. In fact, today there is some extra good will, as the United States fights the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan has taken up arms vigorously against the Pakistani Taliban. The U.S. tries its best not to seem to be tilting toward India in the subcontinent powers’ tense rivalry.
Still, the cooperation agreements between Obama and Modi pledged to come together “to disrupt entities such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed . . .and the Haqqani Network.” Of course, those entities work with Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, ISI. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba was behind the Mumbai terror attack. The Haqqani Network is one of our major enemies in Afghanistan. A joint list like that by Obama and Modi aligns them against Pakistani support for violent Islamic terror groups.
None of this is to say that the United States can stop working with India against China. That must go ahead. But it has the potential to antagonize Pakistan. And that agitates the potentially scariest confrontation in the world.
Ahead of #Modi visit #Washington, #US sees no threat to #Pakistan from arms sales to #India #Drone #F16 http://reut.rs/2sX5VNq via @Reuters
With the United States expected to authorize India's purchase of naval drones, a senior White House official cautioned on Friday that any U.S. military transfer to India would not represent a threat to its rival neighbor Pakistan.
The official spoke to reporters in advance of U.S. President Donald Trump's first meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, a White House visit that will include one-on-one talks and a working dinner.
Securing agreement on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones, worth more than $2 billion, is seen in New Delhi as a key test of defense ties that flourished under former President Barack Obama but have drifted under Trump, who has courted Asian rival China as he seeks Beijing's help to contain North Korea's nuclear program.
The U.S.-based company that makes the drones, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc, said on Friday that the U.S. government had approved the sale of a naval variant of the Predator drone to India.
The senior White House official said any arms transfer would take into account the regional situation.
"We want to avoid a situation that escalates the tension" between India and Pakistan, the official said. India and Pakistan should engage in direct talks and seek a normalization of ties, the official said.
"Some of the defense systems we're talking about we don't believe impact Pakistan," the official added.
The Indian navy wants the surveillance drones, variants of the Predator drones, to keep watch over the Indian Ocean. The deal would be the first such purchase by a country that is not a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
India, a big buyer of U.S. arms that was recently named by Washington as a major defense ally, wants to protect its 7,500- km (4,700-mile) coastline as Beijing expands its maritime trade routes and Chinese submarines increasingly lurk in regional waters.
But sources tracking the discussions say the U.S. State Department has been concerned about the potential destabilizing impact of introducing high-tech drones into South Asia, where tensions are simmering between India and Pakistan, particularly over Kashmir, which is divided between them.
Such a sale of sensitive military hardware must be authorized by the State Department before being sent to Congress for review. The drone deal would still require approval by Congress. The State Department declined comment ahead of any notification.
Defense cooperation, the U.S. trade deficit with India, counter-terrorism efforts and regional tensions are expected to be discussed between the two leaders.
Modi's two-day visit to Washington begins on Sunday. Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in April and has also had face time with the leaders of nations including Japan, Britain and Vietnam since taking office in January, prompting anxiety in New Delhi that India is no longer a priority in Washington.
Other strains have emerged in U.S.-India relations, with the United States vexed by a growing bilateral trade deficit and Trump accusing New Delhi of negotiating unscrupulously at the Paris climate talks to walk away with billions in aid.
U.S. officials expect a relatively low-key visit by Modi, without the fanfare of some of his previous trips to the United States, and one geared to giving the Indian leader the chance to get to know Trump personally and to show that he is doing so.
India and the United States will also discuss the sale of U.S. fighter jets during Modi's trip, in what could be the biggest deal since they began deepening defense ties more than a decade ago.
Post a Comment