Admiral Bhagwat’s take on LEMOA

‘Am in regular correspondence with former Naval Chief, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat. His response to LEMOA, reproduced below with his permission, is important because it reflects the views of a large section of the armed forces which has not been heard by the GOI on this or any other matter.
Dear Bharat,

Greetings! My initial response to your mail was a brief line stating that the signing portends ‘unpredictable consequences’. On reading your post of 30 August at where you have substantively commented on the Agreement and its most serious consequences, I add briefly that :

The signing is an act of Capitulation – it signals to the world that we are no longer capable of defending ourselves and that we depend henceforth on the US Military Umbrella to defend India , notwithstanding the belated clarification from the Ministry of Defense that this Agreement does not provide for Bases etc , an eye wash emanating from an organ which has neither studied nor has an understanding of history, geo-politics or strategy. The Agreement secures no security , it worsens insecurity and gravely damages our defenses.

The fact is that with this– we have ceased to be an Independent Power , ceased to be an Independent Pole in an an emerging multi-polar world …capitulated to serve as ‘cannon fodder ‘ to the ‘principled US strategic security architecture in Asia’ in other words the ‘Pivot to Asia’ and South Asia.

This Agreement has been signed at a point of time when Brzezinski has already declared that the United States can no longer control and manage the world and has stated that the US will now work with China and Russia ( Brzezinski has already silently dismissed any mention of India because of our capitulation to the US and its objectives for Asia).( See the US -China Summit Joint Statements– 2014 & 2015)

Further this Agreement and its predictable trajectory demoralises the Indian Armed forces and will steadily erode/diminish their confidence in strategic planning and the capacity to undertake joint operations independently (as in the ‘War of Movement’ in Bangladesh that achieved our politico-military objectives in just 12 days with 93,000 POWs laying down arms). It increases the chances of manipulation of the Indian military to secure US political, military, business/economic objectives in South Asia and the Region in ways that are an open secret in many countries the world over, including NATO members and Europe.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric emanating from top level officials of the US Administration in Washington and during their visits to New Delhi in the 25 years, those of us who have witnessed contemporary history recall that Empires don’t build great powers, they build clients and great dependencies or at most bequeath to the supplicants — ‘Most Important Non-NATO Ally’ (Honorary) status —and this trajectory, and what it does, is visible across the world as you have described.

As you have written LEMOA is likely to destabilise/rupture multi-segment, strategic agreements in place to strengthen our capabilities and capacities over a wide spectrum and open up new fronts of distrust, built up painstakingly over decades.

What is worrying is that this ‘thin end of the wedge’ is signed just at the time that it will do irretrievable damage. Are we so susceptible, so vulnerable, so myopic, just when the old order or if you like the ‘New World Order’ is in terminal decline and the Dollar System so fragile!?

If the Nation is indeed Sovereign , as it is claimed , this agreement needs to be ‘suspended’ or put in the freezer for the good of both sides , for even the saner elements, here and there, should clearly foresee that it must lead to ‘structured chaos’ which is uncontrollable and unpredictable, as I repeat, in its consequences.

Warm regards
Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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19 Responses to Admiral Bhagwat’s take on LEMOA

  1. “If the Nation is indeed Sovereign , as it is claimed , this agreement needs to be ‘suspended’ or put in the freezer for the good of both sides , for even the saner elements, here and there, should clearly foresee that it must lead to ‘structured chaos’ which is uncontrollable and unpredictable, as I repeat, in its consequences.”

    If saner elements indeed had to prevail there was plenty of opportunity while this agreement was being finalized. Its taken years of negotiation by both sites. One only wonders what is the benefit that India is expecting. Why the government is not disclosing the text and how can Indian government keep such agreements in wraps.

    • Punjabi Sardar says:

      Government is lazy, don’t want to contain China alone. Expect that the reduced military cost will let them become next Germany, Japan or South Korea.

      Retards. We’re surrounded by enemies, that USA has helped against us in past.

      Also when is digital release of why india not great power?

  2. Singh says:

    Also reminds me, tbh Pakistan has said before too that India goes & sits in the lap of dying powers.

    Was USSR before & now USA.
    Meanwhile they allied with USA during its rise/peak & now China..

  3. Venkat Akkineni says:

    “those of us who have witnessed contemporary history recall that Empires don’t build great powers, they build clients and great dependencies or at most bequeath to the supplicants”

    Thankyou sire, it is nice to know that ones (a layman) convictions weren’t misplaced!

    I also think 70 years of struggle go down the drain with this “capitulation” as you put it ! It is easy to forget against what odds we preserved our sovereignty & kept ours heads high !

  4. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Kansa too used to think he has killed 6 children, but then got confused at the 7th and that the 8th appeared to him as a girl. Never having seen the 8th born son of Devaki he continued for more time. He had more than enough time to make amends. So you can wait till you decide about the “saner elements”. Saner elements like Narada Muni ensured the death of the first 6 to hasten the 7th and 8th. So ‘structured chaos’ too is not far behind when ‘saner elements’ get involved.

    the really worrying part pointed out the Ex. Admiral is “It increases the chances of manipulation of the Indian military to secure US political, military, business/economic objectives in South Asia and the Region in ways that are an open secret in many countries the world over, including NATO members and Europe.”

    This will ensure the complete sell out of the whole structure above Lt. Col. level. How come a Sarkaar that seeks to appoint/promote Judges without the involvement of the Collegium, forgets the principle when the armed forces are involved?

    Surprising thing is, in his 2 hour interview yesterday Modi praised Patel a lot. Strange how somebody who did not have the nerve to have the LEMOA signed in India and had to surreptitiously have it signed by agents in a foreign country has praise for the man who wanted anybody and everybody leaving India to be sent out with respect and no return ticket.

  5. mayura says:

    This Vishnu Bhagwat was the same admiral who was batting for He was also responsible partially for pulling down ABVs government. So he is back to his old tricks again.

    • andy says:

      Instead of incoherently going on and on about why we need to take Admiral Vishnu Bhagwats comments regarding LEMOA seriously.Suffice it to say that if @Bharat has chosen to put up the Admirals comments on HIS forum that is ‘Security Wise’ then that should be enough acknowledgement of the said Admirals credentials!So there!

  6. mayura says:

    He was dismissed and was stripped of his Admiral rank by George Fernandez for insubordination. Supreme Court upheld his dismissal. Later he teamed up with Jayalalitha to pull down Vajapayee’s government. His daughter is known Ford Foundation beneficiary who also bats for Pakistan. So much for credibility of Bhagwat to comment on LEMOA.

  7. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    And Vajpayee was the man who sold out on the Nuke development path of India. Something he learnt, I am sure from the erstwhile Jana Sangh which tried to confront Lal Bahadur Shastri in Parliament by introducing the Nuke Test Resolution to expose Shastri ji’s hands. A resolution introduced by Jana Sangh exactly at the time the US had moved over to China and introduced the NPT to hobble India forever. Had it not been for Shastri ji’s sagacity we would have been denied even what we have. Shastri ji two timed the two faced snakes.

    Modi is merely following the in the foot steps of his illustrious predecessors by taking off the Mukhauta too. Vajpayee was the man who agreed to bind all future Indians by recognizing Chinese hold over Tibet in exchange for the Chinese agreeing to an Indian hold over Sikkim. 😛 Modi went a step further by simply asking the country responsible for killing of 25000 of our soldiers since Independence, to come save the institution that these soldiers belonged to.

    Today on 07.09.2015, Thales alone advertises 530+ vacancies mostly for engineers, with a total head count of 62000.. While DRDO has been forced by successive NDA and UPA govt. to make do with 5000 scientists for a total of 25000 staff. And people like Jailey have the guts to tell the country that DRDO is not underfunded/understaffed.

    Who knows Bhagwat himself may have been framed. After all the then Defence Secretary Ajit Singh was pitted against him. And you can check out what the Supreme Court has to say for that man.

  8. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Two can play this game.

    Don’t bring your personal lifestyle preferences and favourite countries into a Strategic Forum.

  9. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    For those whose views have already been coloured due to unnecessary gyan prasar by a joker, pls note that while Adml. has had his bad days there are other aspects of the Adml. that were never acknowledged or may be even sought to be undermined. Like here:
    “Take these cases:
    1) When plans were mooted to buy the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Groshkov, the naval chief made his unhappiness clear. His explanation: the dockyard in Kochi is perfectly capable of building an air defence platform, so why invest over Rs 2,000 crore on a Russian carrier?
    Bhagwat was against buying frigates and destroyers. He felt both could be built indigenously.
    2) The chief made his displeasure known in the purchase of six Scorpene submarines from France.
    3) Bhagwat invited the wrath of arms dealers when he pointed out that missiles and not torpedoes should be imported since the latter were likely to be supplied with a commission.
    4) He was against proposed purchases for the nuclear submarine project.
    So, the navy chief clearly wanted to cut down on the import bill. His critics point out that this desi obsession was sometimes impractical, since the country is far from being self-reliant. To further stoke the ire of the import lobby, Bhagwat actively backed the director-general of naval design (dgnd) and pressed the government to sanction the indigenous construction of an aircraft carrier as well as approve long-pending schemes to replace aging ships in the naval fleet.
    At the October 28 conference of senior naval officers, he made his plans clear: “We hope the government sanction for the indigenous construction of an air defence ship will come. This and other indigenous projects will give a tremendous impetus to the spirit of swadeshi in terms of public investment, development of skills and self-reliance in cutting edge technologies. Capacity utilisation of our shipyards is presently at less than 50 per cent.”
    In the same speech, Bhagwat fired a salvo at bureaucratic control which rubbed the Ministry of Defence (mod) the wrong way. “The management of a nation’s security cannot be undertaken by generalist administrators in a vacuum created by excluding the armed forces especially in the era which has dawned upon us.”

    And at the end remember, the force that saved Laxman also burned down Ravan’s den and killed Ahiravan within his. Don’t try to mess around where you do not belong.

  10. Time to Junk Kamov Crap !!!!! HAL’s baby has flown

  11. Mayura@ — you are mixing up too many things and purveying unsubstantiated stuff. Such as pulling down Jayalalitha, etc. and other things you simply get wrong. Such as re: his daughter. Actually it is ex-CNS ADM Ramdass’ daughter who is married to an NRP (non-resident Pakistani) and works at Ford F.. Etc…

  12. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    While we still don’t have LEMOA vs. LSA difference in hand because Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar feels : “After 12-13 years we have managed to get the logistics agreement in place… So let me get this in the public domain properly; explain to the people; then we will definitely go into the other aspects.”

    The beat constable has already started on COMCASA.
    “To assess the key hurdles, Business Standard has scrutinised the text of the CISMOA that the Republic of Korea (South Korea, or ROK) Ministry of National Defence (MND) signed with the US DoD on October 27, 2008. That text requires Korea to provide US personnel access to Korean military bases; reserves for US personnel the right to install, maintain and inspect CISMOA-controlled equipment; bans the transfer of CISMOA-controlled equipment to any third party; bans its indigenous production; and stipulates stringent safeguards for securing, storing and accounting for COMSEC (communications security) equipment obtained from the US.”

    Notice ‘bans the indigenous production’.
    Expect those who would be asked to bend, to begin to crawl instead.

    • Interesting….

      Ben Schwartz of the US-India Business Council downplays concerns about the increased access to Indian bases that COMCASA requires, terming it “trivial and about as much of a threat to national sovereignty as granting a multinational telecommunications company a license to operate in India.” He argues that both types of activities take place entirely under the laws of the Government of India.”

      • Reminds me of how you tame an Elephant. Tie it down, slowly tightening the chains and starve it till you break its will. Then the usual reward and punishment game to make it comply is to be used.

        So neat…

  13. mayura says:

    I am not batting for ABV here..Just stating the facts which lead to ABV government’s fall. For a Admiral who was so patriotic for so long to turn into a Paki cheer leader sounds fishy to me…ABV had his problems and he was too wooly headed moulded in the jokerlal nehru tradition, and I am not making excuses for Hajpayee.

  14. This appeared in ORF.

    “And yet there is growing agreement among analysts that in a modern day maritime environment, every ‘place’ which provides logistics support essentially performs the role of a peace-time military base, albeit in limited ways. This is so because operational logistics is the life-blood of contemporary maritime missions. Any ocean-going navy that can secure logistical pit-stops along the way can guarantee itself a wider operational footprint in the distant littorals.”

    “New Delhi must come to terms with the fact that LEMOA’s utility lies in facilitating greater US-India operational coordination in Asia. Notwithstanding Parrikar’s assurances, closer maritime interaction between India and the United States will increasingly involve operational access to each other’s bases for strategic purposes.”

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