Tillerson offers nothing new, just another bandwagon

Image result for pics of tillerson

 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be in Delhi Oct 24 to further what he says is President Trump’s new South Asia strategy. At a curtain raiser to the visit he made a speech at a Washington think-tank Oct  18 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

A bit grandly, he conceived, in effect, a 100 year partnership with India in the Indo-Pacific region to which he believes the “world’s center of gravity is shifting”, just so it emerges as a counterweight to China that, “while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules-based order.” Other than running FONPs in the South China Sea, that he alluded to, and talking up a “security architecture” that the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe exactly a decade back described as the “security diamond” involving  India, the US, Japan, and Australia, Tillerson said little of note, other than emphasizing America’s “constructive relations” with China.

Nor did he depart from the script on issues pertaining to the subcontinent. He made much of the fact that he had designated Hizb-e-Mujahideen as “a Foreign Terrorist Organization” without saying much about containing the most problematic India-centric terrorist outfit being run by the Pakistan Army’s ISI — the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT). And, he pushed into India’s lap the program for financing and running socio-economic development in Afghanistan, something the Trump Administration washed its hands off by saying it will not any more engage in “state building” projects. Meaning it will fight Boko Haram and Daesh-IS affiliates in Western Africa, station US Special Forces in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban there to a  standoff to the extent the US society is able to tolerate the unending return of American soldiers in coffins, and Washington is willing to fund such activity, but otherwise leave the Afghans (and the African states– Chad, Niger, etc) to their own devices in shaping a political order according to their respective native norms.

And on  the most important subject of transfer of advanced military technology, Tillerson did not budge a millimeter, referring to the minor sale of Guardian maritime surveillance drones as indicative of a changed, more catholic mindset,  of the US. Indeed, he offered the clearest statement by any US official yet about why India — designated “major defense partner” can expect no cutting-edge military technology, EVER. When asked by CSIS head John Hamre, the Clinton-era US Deputy Secretary of Defence about the Indian grouse about not receiving US military hi-tech, Tillerson said this, and ‘am quoting this in full, so people in GOI appreciate what was said:  “I think as everyone appreciates, the U.S. has the finest fighting military force on the planet, first because of the quality of the men and women in uniform – all-volunteer force, but they’re also equipped with the greatest technologies and weapons systems that are unmatched by anyone else in the world. So that’s an enormous advantage to our military strength, so we don’t provide that lightly, and that’s why we have such rigorous review mechanisms when we get into technology transfer.” In other words, India does NOT pass muster and therefore will not be allowed to avail of such technology. Modi, MEA and MOD, all of whom have put a lot of store by US technology, may wish to pay attention.

This is in line with what I have long maintained in my books and writings from the early 1990s, namely, that the US will not, for love or money let alone “shared values” — which the Secretary of State repeatedly stressed — risk eroding in any way the technological edge the US military enjoys over its counterpart forces the world over. And that India will have to be content with that stock of old and antiquated weapons, or non-lethal stuff like “aircraft carrier technologies”, namely the Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch system (EMALS) that is so unaffordably expensive the US Govt feels compelled to unload it on undiscriminating buyers, such as the Indian Navy, to help amortize the R&D costs of this system. So, in Tillerson’s words, what India will get are “Guardian UAVs, aircraft carrier technologies, the Future Vertical Lift program, and F-18 and F-16 fighter aircraft, … all potential game changers” and, MARK this reference, “for our commercial and defense cooperation”. “Commercial” is just that because EMALS makes no military sense, for the reasons elaborated in past posts and in my book ‘Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)’. This to say that being a “major defense partner” makes not a whit of difference to the level of technology India will be permitted to access.

The only anomaly here the “Future Vertical Lift Program”. This relates to one of two things — the follow-on to the tilt-rotor Osprey that was supposed to revolutionize the US Marines’ mobility, except the Osprey has witnessed no end to problems, especially for pilots when the plane transitions at 300-500 feet heights from vertical lift to horizontal flying. Or, it concerns a new combat helicopter. The fear I have is this: as Modi’s Rafale buy for IAF sidelined the Tejas LCA by robbing it of financing,  so will this helo project completely decimate the HAL’s Light Combat helicopter and ALH and its armed variant, Dhruv and follow-on indigenous programs.  Washington wants India to come in on one or both these programs with its money  — for COMMERCIAL reasons — but with absolutely no sharing of IPRs nor any technology transfer for any product developed, if it ever is, thereof. It will be Indian monies once again down a sink. That’s how foolish Washington estimates the Indian govt and military to be. After all, did Delhi not agree to precisely this when its funds kept alive Russia’s Su-30 program in the mid-90s? So why shouldn’t American defense companies not swill at the same Indian trough in the same way the Russians did?


Yes, India has to be part of an Asian security architecture, but  it has to be a security diamond MINUS the US, just as I have argued India should try and engineer a BRICS WITHOUT China, or BRIS. That’s the Strategic Vision Modi and Delhi should work to realize for India’s benefit, not latch on to every passing bandwagon as has become Delhi’s habit.

 

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.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Africa, arms exports, Asian geopolitics, Australia, China, China military, Decision-making, Defence Industry, DRDO, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's China Policy, India's Pakistan Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, Military Acquisitions, Military/military advice, Pakistan, Pakistan military, Relations with Russia, Russia, russian assistance, russian military, society, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, Terrorism, United States, US., Weapons, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Tillerson offers nothing new, just another bandwagon

  1. Reasoned says:

    Why isn’t your latest book available on kindle store?

    • Publisher’s call whether they want to spend the extra money to Kindle it. Was told OUP would get my book on Kindle — this was in mid-2016! It is a particularly bureaucratic org or the $5 per page is deterrent. There’s no other explanation.

  2. Bhaskar Chakraborty says:

    “Modi’s Rafale buy for IAF sidelined the Tejas LCA by robbing it of financing…”. Rafale & LCA are different kinds. Surely, latter is still alive & getting inducted in IAF. Can it play the role of Rafale?
    Or is it arguable that 5 LCA for each RAFALE is an economic & at the same time an equally lethal proposition?

    • There’s an old saying popular in the Israeli military that says it is better to have the very best weapons but in very big numbers! The quality-quantity debate for aircraft is of longstanding and I have analyzed IAF’s buys using the q-q prism in past writings. Military aviation history has unequivocally shown that only the US in the past could afford both quality and quantity in their aircraft. Not so any more. And even in the US case, whether it was in the Korea or Vietnam wars and there was stiff opposition, American planes were beaten by swarms of smaller, lighter, more basic MiGs. It is no different now. I have argued that the nonsense IAF/Dassault put out that one Rafale can take out 2-3 Su-30 is the stuff of fevered dreams. BVR tech is still not such that swarms of Tejas can’t easily defeat it.

      • MS says:

        You have grown tired, I have grown boringly tired, and I presume there are a lot more in the right circles, no matter what decision they take, are tired enough to ignore the phrase ” shared values’. It has been used to emotionally buck up a country that never seemed ready to gallop to the centre stage. We are more than ready to empty our pockets for a pat on the back.

        Your comment in the comment section captures the essense of what I have said here, and believed long before. I would like to think that Chinese believe very strongly in what you have said about reasonable quality with huge quality principle, and of course keep improving quality.

        I was for punching the forces across the border should they take a step. But otherwise, I think we should have a huge appetite for copying China-they are just great almost everywhere. Learn from Japan while working with them.

        Perhaps, the uneducated but wise politician(s) would better lead the thinking on our armed forces. They can pose basic and common sense question to our chiefs and shape the strategy.

        America is the greatest coiuntry if you serve it by making products for americans and improving their lives, like China. Let us make for America and make their lives better, and in turn better ourselves.

  3. Kya says:

    Why should russia agree to bric and side with unreliable coolie race of Indians who can swing any way which ever way the wind blows.?
    Any reason any body in the world will like this attitude of Indians -asking for some special favour while being ungrateful to russia what she is still doing for her?
    Russia must not give s400 or t50 to unreliable india.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      @Kay man, this is highly unacceptable. You cannot just bunch the whole country together and trash it all.

    • sanman says:

      One problem is that India lacks reliable partners from any side. If we had at least one reliable alternative, we could keep America at arm’s length. But we lack such an alternative, and meanwhile it’s generally more dangerous to go it alone.

  4. Kya says:

    @Ms
    Serve america ? Why ?
    Always want to be a coolie race looking for a master ?

    • MS says:

      Look at China. They serve the needs of the world…

      • Kya says:

        Usa prints money out if thin air vecause we fool indians buy their dollars .so usa has no cost involving in peinting money.
        In other wirds usa gives you worthless dollar.
        Chiba gives you you actory produce.
        But i am no china suppirter anyway. Compared to evil parasite anglisaxon empire of deceit anyone is better to align with to coubter anglisaxon evil parasites.

  5. Kya says:

    We, the people of “Bharat ” pride ourselves rightly in seeing our cou try and labd as a “Mother” and so a Holy concept.
    But the people of “India” ( see the difference) tend to see the matherland as some sort of entity which can be bargained and sold out to someone who can be a fraudster but promises a higher bid.

    Even if that bid is to entice us to sell the motherland this indian coolie elite class is willing to do that.

    Having rejected the true freindship of Russia since so called liberalisation and coming to india of an unelected mnsingh the traitor sardar and the agent of usa , the Indian coolie class has acted as some sort of concubine to angloamericans.
    With this no found role of concubine this india tells pakistan ” you have been concubine for last 50 years but now I have enticed this prized usa ; so be off “.
    Difference is that while pakistan extracted a heavy price in form of free f16s and military and political support from usa for being american concubibe , this India has to pay for american junk of f16 despite being a pet concubine now.
    But the way india has been staring at china at american instigation shows that India is very proud of her concubinage now.
    The indian pm whenever he goes to usa , showers the usa with billion dollars worth of uselesl american military junks. Result is that india is still running on camell air force raher than 60 squadran air force that she badly needs.

    IN the whole decade of 80s when usa was using China against russia it was usa and her stooge inside India who were forcing American govt. To be very friendly to China and be distant to Russia; So much so that they forced rajiv Gandhi to accept Tibet as part of China in autumn 1988
    **

    There was a chairman of Ficci who was also owner of ranbaxy,some sikh who was daily telling that India should be freindly to china and not russia -all because americans wanted that way.americans wanted that way !.Then in 90s he was telling india to demand goods in hard currency from Russia because of rouble devaluation.
    That sardar was also pushing for less military expenditure in india.
    You can check that in many papers and weekly journals of mid 89s about that.
    Such are the so called coolie elites of India -a lackey breed of lowest kind.

    ******
    ——-*********************(((

    China should not get trapped

    Unfortunately India , under american prompting is doing exactly opposite to that -Indua is sabotaging one belt one road initiative of china out of jelousy and out of obligation to serve her new masters the americans.
    India is a trojan horse which must be kicked out of Brucs and SCO.
    —–***,*************************

    By Ignoring Pakistan-US relation in terms of Afghanistan and India , you are ignoring the root cause of Terrorism in Afghanistan exist today and for past 15 years , India and Russia cannot ignore that fact and NATO/US still has their physical presense in AF-PAK region and US still bankrolls Pakistan in guise of it supporting US troops in Afghanistan.

    ———&*******************0

    Russia’s first major export to India was the MiG-21 Mach 2 fighter that changed the balance of air power in the subcontinent’s sky. Since India couldn’t afford to buy the jet, Moscow offered liberal finance that could repaid over several decades. The MiG-21 was also the first weapon offered for
    license production to a developing country.

    Since then Russia has offered India paradigm shifting weapons such as nuclear powered submarines, cryogenic engines, warships and supersonic missiles for licence production and in-country development.

    ——*****************—–”’–‘-”

    there are about 3 mill indians in US? that looks big, but actually really small compared to total population of India. In UK there are less than 3/ 4th of a million Hindus . Rest are avoed anti indian khalistani sikhs or pakis.
    Still these constituencies are overrepresntated in pushing India for being doormat to the west.

    ____*****************************

    It is Indian elites who are responsible for distance between russia and India.
    For last several years is seen that just before the Indian Pm goes to states in his annual pilgrimage he awards billion dollar contract for American junk.
    In fact many Indians are openly pumping for old rusty f16 .And they have temerity to make fun of mug 35 or su35 and t50 which all were offered to India.
    Indians elites are dogs barking for American interests.
    Thing was it was in Indian interest that Russia China and India trip fight against Anglo American bullying.
    Opposite has hsppend with India.
    American boot licking elites of India were induced by English language media to do lies and propaganda against China.
    And they expe t China to support Indian in resolution ? .
    Instead of blaming Pakistan do Indians think that they have guts to blame Americans for still giving 900 million arms aid just now? 
    By what right India thinks she has right To ask russia not to laid on with Pakistan when Indians have shamelessly opted for all pacts with us at adropof head without much discussion ? 
    Russia must not give s400 and t50 to such treacherous country as my India

    ___________________

    About trumps plan to tighten misuse of H-1B visa.

    India is shamelessly forging relationships with Russia’s arch enemy the United States; by allowing the U.S. to use Indian bases and now India is buying billions of more weapons from the United States than Russia; but here you are ignorantly talking about ‘interests of India’. India has used Russia more than Russia has ever needed anything from India — from using Russia for the U.N. veto power to purchasing weapons. Russia has now realized how selfish India is!

    Narendra modi now gives bribes to usa in form of immediate decisipn to buy spy infested american junk weaponary costing billions of dollars all within 2 years without any tender.

    “”””””http://zeenews.india.com/india/pm-narendra-modi-clears-rs-17000-crore-air-defence-missile-deal-with-israel_1980214.html

    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””” cc
    Great that India is forced to wean from this immigration and Hi-B ( sounds aids virus) visa tests.What are the Indian engineers doing except in I T ? India needs defence engineers which she can not get because Indian education system produces people who can work only as collie for foreigners.
    Total of 100 billion revenue out of 1300 billion GDP is not something for which India sacrifices her respect talent and yes independent foreign policy.Have you ever wondered that India got close to USA in last twenty years exactly at the time when America got the reputation of a rogue bully and frankly a terrorist state.India calling such state as dear freind speaks volume how low India can go to peruse a few dollars which usa prints out from thin air.

    ______””’-”-”’–“””””””””””””””:”””””””

    Good for India who will be forced to chAnge from rose tinted glass of globalisation and liberalisation which itself is out of fashion in The west but worshipped now God in india by traitor elites.
    Besides Indian education system and economic model is now based on producing skilled cookie to work for white men abroad rather than work for India in india.
    That will not be realistic model and India will be forced to cater to her Indian needs.
    We need many engineers in defence railways infrastructure and aerospace.
    Not as it clerks though.

    “””””””””””””””””””””””-“-“”-“‘”” xxxxxxxxxx

    India is shamelessly forging relationships with Russia’s arch enemy the United States; by allowing the U.S. to use Indian bases and now India is buying billions of more weapons from the United States than Russia; but here you are ignorantly talking about ‘interests of India’. India has used Russia more than Russia has ever needed anything from India — from using Russia for the U.N. veto power to purchasing weapons. Russia has now realized how selfish India is!

    “”””””

    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””” cc
    Great that India is forced to wean from this immigration and Hi-B ( sounds aids virus) visa tests.What are the Indian engineers doing except in I T ? India needs defence engineers which she can not get because Indian education system produces people who can work only as collie for foreigners.
    Total of 100 billion revenue out of 1300 billion GDP is not something for which India sacrifices her respect talent and yes independent foreign policy.Have you ever wondered that India got close to USA in last twenty years exactly at the time when America got the reputation of a rogue bully and frankly a terrorist state.India calling such state as dear freind speaks volume how low India can go to peruse a few dollars which usa prints out of thin air BTW.
    —–‘——-”””-”””””””””””’
    First attempt of ISRO’s with Cryogenic engine for GSLV were unsuccessful in April 2001. After that, ISRO had tested 8 flights with Cryogenic engine; out of which 5 flew with Russian engine. The first successful test-flight using the indigenous engine happened in January 2014

    ____________________

    • Kya says:

      Actually some (not a lot)of the above quote is taken from bharat sir’s articles. Which i should have put in apostrophe.
      My mistake.

      • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

        Any and all such dumping on the whole country is wrong. Coincidentally people cannot be stopped from doing what is wrong, since everybody has got a choice. People who do not agree to these tactics, also do.

        I wished for you to stop doing that because I have read you too for sometime and you came across as being deeply disturbed by the flow of events. I don’t wish bad in any manner but clear judgement remains a requirement even under extreme duress. Whatever is happening around us is not the worst that India has seen and the general cluelessness of the people has not killed the nation over millenia.

        Peace.

  6. sanman says:

    Regarding Future Vertical Lift, I think that India should instead try joint development with the Russians on heavy vertical lift. The Russians have an idea for a dynamic buoyancy airship called “Atlant”, which can pump lifting gas in or out of compressed tanks, enabling it to operate like a flying submarine:

    http://rosaerosystems.com/atlant/obj858

    Development of such a system could greatly benefit both countries. Russia has a large internal geography which would benefit from this kind of transport solution. Likewise, India has a tradition of leveraging its military even for disaster relief, etc. A transport system of this kind could help India in logistics, and to mobilize its vast manpower more quickly in a crisis. Besides providing transport to remote areas, it could also be used in times of disaster, and could additionally boost our ‘soft power’ in helping out nearby countries with disaster relief.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      Things like these can easily solve the problem presented by near absence of lateral road connectivity in the Himalayas. A problem which actually can never be reliably & securely solved even if all of the Rs. 7 lakh crores, allocated yesterday for pan India road construction, is invested solely in Himalayan roads.

      A road in the sky, made of airships carrying several tonnes of equipment and changing the dynamics of a Himalayan war. Instead we are stuck with highly expensive helicopters.

      Alas!

      • sanman says:

        Here’s some video on that “Atlant” concept from Russia:

        Given India’s relative geographic isolation from prospective trading partners, a faster means of bulk transport than ocean-going shipping would be better, as would a cheaper means of transport compared to jet aviation. The fact that India lacks adequate road infrastructure near its far-flung border areas means there is a gap which could be addressed by this kind of transport system.

        We should really think about collaborating with someone like Russia to develop this kind of heavy vertical lift bulk transport. Imagine being able to transport a significant number of men and materiel, including tanks, or artillery, or ammunition, or other supplies to a remote area. Imagine being able to land an entire hospital filled with equipment to where it’s needed. We should really go in for something like this.

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