Romancing India with a Vision!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I have been following Indo-US nuclear deal drama quite seriously and I feel I was bit biased when i wrote "Left should look right!" and "Breaking the Impasse". The United State's future Vision and its "Strategic Partnership" with India is now becoming more and more clear. Nicholas Burns, the US under secretary of states for political affairs, said, "Within a generation Americans may view India as one of our two or three most important strategic partners". How Indians would view the US? Its becoming quite clear from Left's right against Nuclear deal!

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,
  1. The goal of US is to help India become a major world power in the 21st century.
  2. To create an "Alliance of Democracies". (Is that to fight against anti democratic forces? Don't you remember China and for some extent Pakistan?)
  3. "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?)
  4. "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.
If US wants to help India become a super power in the 21st century, okay thats fine, but why? doesn't US need something in return? Its quite foolish not think about the other side. What does US want from India? According to Ashton Carter, assistant secretary of defence in the Clinton Administration,
  1. "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.
  2. "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?
  3. "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.
  4. "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!".
  5. "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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your article on the issue has made it clear that you are against the deal so am i.. But on the other hand i am a bit diplomatic here ..if the deal is really in the the interest of the nation then sure no doubt i will support the deal though it affects our foreign policies but in the future we can develop as a global power and this what matters to us atleast now.We need energy,power. its quite foolish not to think on the america is expecting somehing unpreditable.But we have not yet developed the technology to make proper use of our rich natural resources.So right now i think energy is what we require.

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.