Indian government must be thinking of a serious business with Americans from little over 3-4 years. But Americans have a vision and strategy behind their cooperation with India. Almost a decade back neither Indians nor Americans had a friendly view of each other. But the new approach towards each other began recently. When US President Bill Clinton visited India in March 2000, both the nations came to conclusion that "they have a common interest and complimentary responsibility for ensuring regional and international security". Bush Administration shared the same view and was successful in negotiating the concrete new agreement for strategic partnership. More over a senior US officials declared,
- The goal of US is to help India become a major world power in the 21st century.
- To create an "Alliance of Democracies". (Is that to fight against anti democratic forces? Don't you remember China and for some extent Pakistan?)
- "To develop doctrine, promote joint training and planning and enhance inter-operability among its member militaries". ( Don't you remember Malabar series of naval exercises, joint Air Force training, purchase of weapons and aircrafts from US?)
- "The Alliance of democracies' ultimate goal would be for it to play a role akin to what NATO did for its member during the cold war!", said Ivo Daalder, an advisor to Barack Obama.
- "Washington should expect to have India's help in curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions, even if India's assistance would risk compromising its friendly relations with Iran". This is evident from US pressure over Indo-Iran relations.
- "The US will want India's assistance in dealing with a range of dangerous contingencies involving Pakistan". Don't you notice the shifting of natural inclination of US from Pakistan to India?
- "Down the line US might also want India to serve as a counterweight to China". Quite obvious, only India (among other third world countries) has an ability to challenge China.
- "Cooperation of India in humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping missions, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts (don't you remember Afghanistan and Iraq story? Don't you think US has a desire to use India if US invades Iran?) and most importantly, "operations not mandated by or commanded by the United Nations, operations in which India has historically refused to participate!".
- "US military forces may also seek access to strategic locations through Indian territory and perhaps basing rights there. Ultimately, India could even provide US forces with 'over-the-horizon' bases for contingencies in the middle east".
Has this gamble of romancing with India in a strategic way has already started? Yes it has! US says "India is our top market". Why? India is now the second largest buyer of weapons in the third world, and responsible for about 12% of arms purchases. India signed arms deal for about $3.5 billion in 2006. It may spend some $40 billion on weapons purchase over the next five years. India has almost agreed for the purchase of 126 jet fighters with a possible price tag of $10 billion[Source EPW, Oct 13, 2007]. And now, with these deals, India has put US in drivers seat and "India is (arguably) being told to chose, in the classic phrase, our way or the highway"[EPW].
If we look at the flip side of the story, Its quite interesting to know that the world is looking at India as a next generation super power. India must play a balancing role in arresting growing international pressure (like what US is attempting to do) and find its own way to become a super power. Indo-US nuclear deal is the good lesson being learned by India and it should try to mitigate the consequences in the best interests of the Nation. Thanks to the democratic culture that we have developed over past six decades for providing (healthy?) debate over every issue like the nuclear deal. Indian democracy has yet again demonstrated what democracy means to the nation and its interests in the contemporary international context.