Tuesday, August 30, 2016

History of US-India Partnership

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to skip the upcoming Non-Aligned Summit in Venezuela sends a powerful signal of his Hindu Nationalist government's growing commitment to India's partnership with the United States.

The latest logistics deal allowing the US forces to use Indian military bases is an indication of how the Americans intend to play the India card against China after the Cold War,  just as they played the China card against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The US-India deal is part of the  US “pivot” to Asia designed to check rising China. The U.S. Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships in Asia in the near future. Instead of having to build facilities virtually from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has the benefit of simple arrangements for the tremendous Indian facilities, according to Forbes magazine. This deal will accelerate the unfolding post Col-War realignment taking place in South Asia.

Massive Western Aid to India:

US-India ties are not new. India has been the number one recipient of US aid since 1947, according to the US government data.   The country India's first Prime Minister turned to for help during the 1962 China-India war was also the United States.

India has received $65.1 billion in US aid since its independence, making it the top recipient of American economic assistance. Pakistan, with its $44.4 billion, is at number 5 on the list.  US data also shows that Pakistan is not among top 10 for military or total economic and military aid.

More recently, the US aid to India has been replaced by massive US investment in the country that keeps its economy afloat. Massive western money inflows help India, with its huge trade deficits, pay for its imports and help maintain significant foreign exchange reserves. U.S. investment in India has jumped 500% in the past two years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

US Help in 1962 Indo-China War:

Indian Prime Minister Nehru sought significant US material aid and diplomatic help as the Indian troops were in full retreat in the 1962 China-India war.  A former US intelligence official Bruce Riedel in his book "JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian War" notes that President John F. Kennedy played a “decisive role” in “forestalling a Pakistani attack” on India, even as Islamabad then was fully capable of going to war with India to wrest the disputed territory of Kashmir.

India's Pakistan Obsession:

The US efforts to partner with India are clearly aimed to check China's rise. However, India's actions and statements suggest that it expects to use this partnership to against Pakistan.

Anticipating questions about US-Pakistan ties during his India visit, here's what Carter told Council of Foreign Relation in Washington D.C. before leaving for New Delhi:

“I’m sure I’ll be asked about it in India, but I think the first thing one needs to say from an American policy point of view, these (India and Pakistan) are both respected partners and friends.”

"Pakistan is an important security partner", Carter added.

Pakistan-China Ties: 

While US is courting India to check China's rise, the China-Pakistan ties have now moved well beyond “higher than Himalayas and sweeter than honey,” as officials on both sides say. Chinese strategists openly talk of Pakistan as their nation’s only real ally. And China is investing heavily in Pakistan to build the Gwadar deep sea port as part of a much more ambitious and strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that India is attempting sabotage.

The result is that Pakistan is drawing closer to China, a rising superpower, while its rival India is partnering with the United States, a superpower in relative decline on the world stage.

Let me conclude with a quote from from Brookings' Stephen Cohen on India-Pakistan power equation:

“One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.”

Here's a video discussion on the subject:



Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals... by ViewpointFromOverseas


Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Pakistan Obsession

Can India Survive Without Wester Money?

India's Superpower Delusion: Modi's Policy Blunders

Does Pakistan Really Need F-16s to Fight Terror? 

Pakistan-Russia-China vs India-Japan-US?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Gwadar: Hong Kong West for China?

Indian Agent Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession


Iqbal Singh said...

In this logistics agreement, what questions regarding Pakistan were asked by the Indian Minister officially? I know the media asked some questions too but I hope you are not referring to those.

Riaz Haq said...

Singh: "what questions regarding Pakistan were asked by the Indian Minister officially?"

Manohar Parrikar is a Pakistan-bashing Muslim-hating Hindu Nationalist to the core.

Pakistan is always on Parrikar's mind, regardless of any deals or occasions, including signing the US-India partnership in Washington DC.

He recently compared Pakistan with hell, saying going to Pakistan is like going to hell.

Addressing a joint news conference with US defence secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon, Parrikar alleged that “forces from across the border” are trying to spread violence in the Valley. “As far as Kashmir is concerned, I think the government of India has been very proactive. A few small percentage is holding the majority to ransom,” he said.

Anonymous said...

FACT SHEET: The United States and Pakistan – a Strong and Enduring Relationship

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and First Lady Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif at the White House on October 22, 2015. Their visit reinforced the commitment of both leaders to an enduring U.S.-Pakistan partnership, a prosperous Pakistan, and a more stable region. The two leaders expressed their conviction that a resilient U.S.-Pakistan partnership is vital to regional and global security and reaffirmed their commitment to address evolving challenges in South Asia and beyond. Since enactment of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (“Kerry-Lugar-Berman” or “KLB”), the United States has committed $5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan and over $1 billion in emergency humanitarian response to disasters and conflict, including for 2010 flood relief. Security assistance has also strengthened cooperation on key national security interests. Building on KLB, the leaders committed to fostering a deeper, stronger, more multi-dimensional partnership to cooperatively tackle the global challenges of the 21st century. The leaders highlighted the following areas of U.S. cooperation:

Energy and Economic Growth

Energy: Since 2009, the U.S. Government helped add approximately 1,700 megawatts (MW) of electricity to Pakistan’s grid system, benefitting nearly 19 million Pakistanis. U.S. assistance funded the construction and rehabilitation of a number of hydropower dams and thermal power plants. U.S. assistance has also helped Pakistan improve governance and management systems, and increase revenue collection – by over $200 million in 2015– as well as provide commercial opportunities for U.S. businesses. Efforts also include Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) debt financing and political risk insurance that support U.S. investments in Pakistan. Additionally, U.S. business played an important role in facilitating Pakistan’s access to international liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets earlier this year. The new U.S.-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership (USCEP) will help the private sector add at least 3,000 MW of clean power generation infrastructure to Pakistan’s national electricity system over the next five years.

Bilateral Trade and Investment: The United States and Pakistan will expand cooperation on the 2013 Joint Action Plan on Trade and Investment. The United States remains Pakistan’s largest bilateral export market and a significant source of foreign direct investment. In March 2015, during U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week, the first U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference held in Islamabad was headlined by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. To promote private investment, OPIC has facilitated $800 million in financing and insurance for projects in Pakistan. Trade and investment assistance is provided under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Regional Connectivity

Private Sector Financing and Entrepreneurship


Support in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)

Women’s Economic Advancement

Education, Health, and Civil Society Cooperation

People-to-People Exchanges

Higher Education

Science and Technology Agreement

University Partnerships

University Governance

Basic Education

Let Girls Learn

English Language Programs

Civil Society and Democratic Institutions

Health Cooperation

Countering Evolving Threats

Civilian Law Enforcement and Rule of Law

Security Assistance

Military Training and Exchanges

Countering Violent Extremism

Improvised Explosive Devices


NBRX said...

What is not clear from your write up is the military aid to Pakistan since 1947. Not counting that, India being six times the size has received only 1.5 times the economic aid to Pakistan. $62b versus $44b

Zhong Lee, Baltimore said...

China is not stupid. India is a big market and exports to India will reach $ 80 billion in 2016. China is very pro business and we like to be friends and do trade then discuss problems later. That is the Chinese culture.

Riaz Haq said...

NBRX: "What is not clear from your write up is the military aid to Pakistan since 1947. Not counting that, India being six times the size has received only 1.5 times the economic aid to Pakistan. $62b versus $44b"

The point of the post is to debunk the myth that US was hostile to India during the Cold War.

US not only gave aid but so much aid to India to make it the largest recipient.

Whatever military aid US gave Pakistan is not enough to put Pakistan among the top ten recipients of US military aid, as obvious from the graphic.

As India was losing its territory to China fast and suffering heavy casualty, Nehru in a letter to Kennedy in November 1962 said India needed “air transport and jet fighters to stem the Chinese tide of aggression.”
“A lot more effort, both from us and from our friends will be required.” Nehru wrote another letter to Kennedy in quick succession, Riedel writes.
This letter written by Nehru in a state of panicky was hand delivered by the then Indian Ambassador to the US B K
Nehru to Kennedy on November 19.
“Nehru was thus asking Kennedy to join the war against China by partnering in an air war to defeat the PLA (Peoples Liberation Army of China). It was a momentous request that the Indian Prime Minister was making. Just a decade after American forces had reached a ceasefire with the Chinese Community Forces in Korea, India was asking JFK to join a new war against Community China,” Riedel wrote in his book.

In the letter, Nehru asked for 12 squadrons of US air forces, Riedel told the Washington audience during the preview of the book at an event organised by the Brookings Institute – a top American think-tank – yesterday.
“A minimum of 12 squadrons of supersonic all weather fighters are essential. We have no modern radar cover in the country. The United States Air Force personnel will have to man these fighters and radar installations while our personnel are being trained,” Nehru wrote in the letter, which has been quoted by Riedel in the book.
In addition, Nehru also requested “two squadron of B-47 Bombers” to strike in Tibet, the author says quoting the letter.
In the letter, Nehru assured Kennedy that these bombers would not be used against Pakistan, but only for “resistance against the Chinese”.
The stakes were “not merely the survival of India”, Nehru told Kennedy “but the survival of free and independent Governments in the whole of this subcontinent or in Asia”.
Riedel said in the second letter Nehru was, in fact, asking Kennedy for some 350 combat aircraft and crews: 12 squadrons of fighter aircraft and crews: 12 squadron of fighter aircraft with 24 jets in each and two bomber
“At least 10,000 personnel would be needed to staff and operate jets, provide radar support and conduct logistical support for the operation,” Riedel said adding this was a substantial forces, large enough to make it a numbered air force in the American order of battle.
The British Prime Minister received a similar letter from Nehru, the American scholar writes. Referring to the subsequent instructions passed by Kennedy to his administration, Riedel described them as the one that of a president preparing for war.
But before the US would take further steps, China announced unilateral ceasefire. After making major advances and being in a strong position to annex entire of North East and reach as far as Kolkata, the Chinese leadership surprised the world by announcing a unilateral ceasefire fearing that both Britain and the United State were getting ready to provide material support to India in the war.
“Of course, we will never know what the specifics of American assistance to India would have been if the war continues,” he wrote in the book set to be officially released in the first week of November.
“We can be reasonably certain that America, India and probably Great Britain would have been at war together with China,” Riedel concludes.


Riaz Haq said...

ZL: "China is very pro business and we like to be friends and do trade then discuss problems later. That is the Chinese culture."

China also has a long history of building a wall when its national security is threatened....not just any wall, but The Great Wall.

The US-India deal allows US to use Indian military bases to threaten Chinese interests, particularly its sea lanes in South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

NO matter how large a market any country might be, the Chinese national security is a much bigger concern for Beijing.

Ahmed F. said...

How about US military aid to India versus Pakistan? What are the dollars involved?

In terms of economic aid, India's larger size has to be factored in.

And if your overall thesis is correct, then why has Pakistan clung to the US for so long? It could find no one else? It could not stand on its own two feet? And why did it think that the US would come to its aid during the wars of 1965 and 1971?

Everything changed after India's China War in 1962, in terms of US interest in India versus Pakistan.

The naïveté in Rawalpindi was astounding. The generals continued to live in denial.

Now they are equally excited about China.

Along the way they were excited about the Saudi's.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad F: "How about US military aid to India versus Pakistan? What are the dollars involved? "

You are asking the wrong wrong question.

India's main arms supplier was the Soviet Union.

So the right question is whether the Soviet military aid to India made India the top recipient of Soviet military aid. And did the Soviet mil aid to India dwarf US mil aid to Pakistan?



US military aid to Pakistan is often played up by liberals like you but the fact is that Pakistan does not figure even in the top 10 US military aid recipients.

Also read my last comment here about Riedel's book on Nehru's massive aid request to Kennedy in 1962.


Jon said...

Learning from history, as an American, in the post Cold War post 9/11 era, India is a better long term partner even without South China Sea issues

r_sundar said...

India and the US are natural allies. You don't need oil or strategic locations etched etc. It is only getting cemented even more, with the dynamic Indian American diaspora. We will see an Indian American president within the next 20 years.

Riaz Haq said...

sundar: "India and the US are natural allies."


US elected a black president in 2008 and 2012. In 2014, India elected Modi, described as the equivalent of KKK wizard by pro-India Christine Fair. I'd say the electorates in the two countries are diametrically opposed.


Riaz Haq said...

Jon: "India is a better long term partner even without South China Sea issues"

There's no such thing as "better long term partner" for US policymakers.

As Henry Kissinger put it, “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”


NBRX said...

As Henry Kissinger put it, “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”

That policy of yesteryears has become obsolete. I don't know why so many are still stuck in the Cold War mindset. Policy is now driven more by economics, trade and free-world democratic ideals.

r_sundar said...

Who cares what Christine or whoever has to say....unlike the toothless leaders of the past India finally has a true leader!
Well Henry Kissinger is wrong. No matter what Israel does, US will be its ally. And so will become India.

Anonymous said...


Well people like Christine and Kissinger advise people that shape US foreign policy,unlike a random internet crybaby like you that amounts to nothing.

r_sundar said...

Me a random cry baby??
Just look at your self in the mirror. Don't even have the guts to reveal your identity, and remaining anaonymous. Looser.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan in Talks With #Russia to Purchase Su-35 fighter Jets for #PAF http://sputniknews.com/military/20160905/1044975853/pakistan-russia-ambassador-su35.html … via @SputnikInt

Pakistan Air Force Chief of Staff had fruitful talks in Moscow in July on purchasing of Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force Sohail Aman had "fruitful talks" in Moscow in July on purchasing of Russian Su-35 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) fighter jets, Pakistani Ambassador to Russia Qazi Khalilullah told Sputnik. "Chief of Air Staff Marshal Sohail Aman had fruitful talks with the Russian partners on this issue in July," Khalilullah said answering a question on whether Islamabad could purchase the Su-35 aircraft. According to the official, the Pakistani Air Force "is considering different options of deepening cooperation with Russia."

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160905/1044975853/pakistan-russia-ambassador-su35.html

Anonymous said...

Riazhaq commented 'The US-India deal allows US to use Indian military bases to threaten Chinese interests, particularly its sea lanes in South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. '

This makes no sense. If the US wants to increase presence in South China sea then it can use the large bases it already has in Japan, South Korea & Philippines.

The US also has a very large base in the middle of the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia. So India is not of much use there either.

As for the Arabian sea, the US already has large bases in the GCC countries and does not need India.

So what is this new arrangement going to do for the US?

As far as I can see, the only Indian base of value to the US is the Andaman & Nicobar naval station because the Malacca strait is where the US would like to create a new choke-point for China.

Apart from this, the US does not need anything from India and India has nothing of value to offer the US in terms of strategic basing rights.

Anonymous said...

....The Americans intend to play the India card against China after the Cold War, just as they played the China card against the Soviet Union during the Cold War......

.......The result is that Pakistan is drawing closer to China, a rising superpower, while its rival India is partnering with the United States, a superpower in relative decline on the world stage..........

This was the Cold war arrangement:
A) The US used China to balance against the USSR.
B) The USSR used India to balance against China.

So what is the new arrangement?
A) The US will use India to balance against China
B) China will use Pakistan to balance against India.

Comparing the two, we can see the following:
1) The US remains the same.
2) China is the new USSR.
3) India is the new China.
4) Pakistan is the new India.

Is this something for us to celebrate? Being the new India? Are you serious?

Wasn't everybody saying in the 60s & 70s that the USSR was the "rising superpower" while the US was "a superpower in relative decline"? How did that turn out?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Wasn't everybody saying in the 60s & 70s that the USSR was the "rising superpower" while the US was "a superpower in relative decline"? How did that turn out?"

China and Soviet Union are fundamentally very different.

1. Soviet Union's economy was always very small compared to the US economy. Chinese economy is the 2nd largest today and will soon surpass the US economy to claim #1 spot.

2. Soviet Union was economically isolated by the West. It had very little trade. China's trade volume now exceeds that of the United States.

3. China is now the world's biggest investor and the biggest lender in the world, including the West.

4. China is setting up international institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and many of the top US allies have joined it as a member over US objections.

5. Chinese Yuan is now recognized by the IMF as an international reserve currency.