New Delhi must reset its overt tilt to the US

Image result for pics of Trump and Modi

(Friendship in fine fettle?)

Conflicting signals are emanating from Delhi. Washington cancelled the 2+2 talks scheduled for July 6 involving the foreign and defence ministers because it believed the BJP government was going off script. India indicated it would not compromise its ties with Russia and with Iran, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin elevating the bilateral relations at their May 21 “informal summit in Sochi to privileged special strategic partnership, several rungs above the plain strategic partnership with the US, and by the readying of alternative banking channels to pay for Iranian oil. But Delhi is also seeking waivers from CAATSA sanctions.

The sealing of the deal for the S-400 air defence system, the shortlisting of the St Petersburg-based Rubin submarine design bureau as foreign partner for the Navy’s Project 75i conventional submarine project, and reiterating Chabahar port as the linchpin of India’s geopolitical strategy for Afghanistan and Central Asia combined with India’s swift retaliatory tariffs on imports from the US after Indian steel, aluminium, and light manufactures were targeted by Washington reinforced the view that Delhi was doing a policy rethink. If this is indeed the case, then it is to be welcomed.

The standout feature of Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy so far has, however, been its overt tilt to America. It undermined 70 years of India’s approach to the world of maintaining a distance from great powers, which enhanced India’s diplomatic leverage, its freedom of policy manoeuvre, and status as the arch balancer in the international system. The country’s traditional non-alignment policy was given the new raiment of “strategic autonomy” in the last decade but the central principle of balancing power did not change. Far from being outdated, this concept has attracted new adherents in the age of Donald J Trump, when the US seems to treat friendly states (in Europe and Northeast Asia) worse than it does its supposed adversaries. Contrast the rough treatment meted out to its historic allies with the soft-glove-handling of Russia, China and North Korea. It motivated the European Union last month to form a “joint interventionary military force” independent of NATO for reasons, according to an official statement, of “strategic autonomy”.

In 2016 Modi signed the Logistics Support Agreement permitting the US to stage air, naval and land forces operations out of India in the arc Perth-Simonstown. It encouraged Washington to push the two other “foundational accords” — COMCASA and BECA advertised as increasing “interoperability”. What COMCASA will also do is facilitate vertical and horizontal penetration by the US of India’s most sensitive government and military communications grids, including the nuclear Strategic Forces Command – the reason why the armed services are against signing it. The Indian government is nevertheless inclined, it is said, to sign COMCASA based on iron-clad assurances that the information gleaned from accessing Indian official communications won’t be divulged to third countries. Is the BJP government really so naïve and gullible as to deem such assurances credible considering America’s track record of untrustworthiness and duplicitous behaviour?

Washington in 1982 forewarned Pakistan about the underway joint Indo-Israeli aerial strike mission to pre-empt the threat from Pakistani nuclear weapons by bombing the uranium centrifuges complex in Kahuta resulting in the scrapping of that mission. In 1998, it revealed to Beijing the contents of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s secret note to President Bill Clinton justifying the nuclear tests because of the Chinese threat and, in 2008, it failed to convey to Delhi the definite information it had about the preparations underfoot for the Pakistan Army’s ISI-organised seaborne terrorist attack on Mumbai.

COMCASA, moreover, will enhance Russia’s fears of compromising its high-value platforms, such as the leased Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine and the Su-30MKI combat aircraft in India’s employ. Such agreements, besides turning India into a crypto ally, pose a danger to national security and can cause serious misunderstanding with Moscow that India can ill-afford. They are being justified on trivial grounds, that the armed maritime Guardian drone, not used by the US military, needs COMCASA uplinks.

Modi’s tilt is undergirded by his personal regard and admiration for America shored up during his travels in that country in the 1980s on his own, as a BJP functionary, and as part of the US State Department hosted tours for “young leaders”. Modi promised to raise India’s stock in the world. This won’t happen if India becomes a camp-follower.

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[Published in the Hindustan Times, July 17, 2018 https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/new-delhi-must-reset-its-overt-tilt-to-the-us/story-T0Tc65MTTtLY4dVoOLrkqI.html

 

 

 

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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16 Responses to New Delhi must reset its overt tilt to the US

  1. vivek says:

    real reason behind USA opposing purchase of S400

    https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201807161066404482-us-india-s400/

  2. AD says:

    Or maybe these pathetic attempts to suck up to USA are based in dreams of future riches for themselves and their allies. Indian history is full of instances where greedy and short-sighted rulers of small kingdoms actively collaborated with foreign invaders against other local rulers in short-sighted attempts to gain a bit more money, land and power or avenge some imaginary petty insult. Of course, it did not end well for them in the end, but that is another story.

  3. Veeru says:

    Respected Sir,
    Your beloved Russia has refused to buy its so called 5th gen fighter.Even India has pulled out of it !!!!!

    • AD says:

      @ Veeru,

      A bit off track, but have you considered the possibility that Russians know ‘stealth’ to be worthless. Here is why..

      1] One of the biggest misunderstanding about ‘stealth’ aircraft is that they are totally radar invisible. The reality is that they are hard to detect using radar which operates within two popular and commonly used bands. Radar using longer wavelengths, multiple low-power antennas and integrated signal processing can detect (and target) them just fine.

      2] They are expensive to build and operate if your adversary is a low-tech group like ISIS. What is the point of operating 100 million dollar aircraft firing 200-500 thousand dollar missiles against militants in second-hand Toyota Land Cruisers and Pickup tracks? Also, you cannot use them freely against militant groups embedded within local population, unless you want a PR disaster.

      3] They are useless if your adversary is a nuclear power since it is never a good idea to start war against somebody with more than a dozen nuclear weapons. Moreover, even large conventional powers without nukes but with access to hundreds of relatively inexpensive cruise missiles can hit and damage airbases where your ‘stealth’ planes are based. What use is your plane, if it cannot take off the second time?

      4] Support facilities for attacks using ‘stealth’ aircraft such as large tanker aircraft, munition and fuel depots near bases etc are just as vulnerable to stand-off weapons and missiles. Destroying port facilities, roads, bridges, etc required to supply bases where such planes are based can rapidly make them inoperable.

      To summarize, “stealth” aircraft are white elephants unless you are attacking a small or medium sized country without nuclear weapons.

    • Wish people would begin to understand and appreciate Russia as technology hedge and diplomatic wedge in India’s global power politics and, where necessary, as means to extract more from the US and the West.

  4. Veeru says:

    @AD
    Russians wanted India to carry their Su-57 on its shoulders.India refused and now even they have dumped Su-57.Only 12 prototypes are flying and no production orders.

    F-35 costs less than 94.3 million USD and its cost will decrease when Americans launch full scale production.As of yet only 305 F-35 hav been built.American have ordered well over 1500 F-35, so its cost will only decrease over time. HOW MANY Su-57 or follow on aircraft of Su-57 can Russian buy from itself ? They just want to ripp India off !!!

    • F-25 is a LEMON. Period. Will never sport IAF roundels.

      • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

        F-35 is a lemon but what if it still gets to sport the IAF roundel.

        A strategic culture that draws out plans worth Rs. 2000 crore for base protection of one base in response to Pathankot attacks or finds funds for Rafales but finds LCA expensive, is obviously not doing all that for the needs of the lower ranks of the military or for general good of India.

      • Misplaced priorities is the real bane of the Indian military, not as I have argued for several decades now, scarcity of resources.

    • Kya says:

      No Russia has not pulled out of 5th generation plane.
      Due to financial constrain from west imposed oil price manipulation russia has to prioratise.
      With traitor friend like india of coure russia is loser.

    • Kya says:

      IN the whole decade of 80s when usa was using China against russia it was usa and her stooge inside India who were forcing Indian 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

      ____________________

  5. devraj says:

    Sir I am very very confused as China is making aircraft carriers fast. If it deploys them against India India can defend using the traditional solution of nuclear attack submarines but we need many of them. Can India destroy Chinese aircraft carrier with air launched Bramhos, salvos from Su-30 mki taking off from island bases? This will be aneffective and innovative way

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      Allow me please. Given that you are asking this probably for the 2nd time.

      A single Brahmos is said to be effective for a 5000 ton boat (not mentioned if that’s empty or loaded). You will definitely require a salvo of Brahmos to take out bigger ships. But the challenge will lie in getting a clutch of MKIs within 300 km of a PLAN Carrier which itself will have S-33 or equivalent class acting in lightly loaded very effective air defence roles.

      You still insist on attacking a PLAN Carrier with lesser risk then you will need a longer ranged heavier missile. Something like a Brahmos-ER which may be in the works. But that will also require something bigger than an MKI unless you are looking for a small and cute solution and don’t mind having to stage salvos and getting needled by needless enemy air defence. Better still would be a Kinzhal equipped Tu-22M3M. But that will reach Chinese inventory before it reaches Indian.

      And MKIs taking off from Indian islands will not be able to cover beyond the Mallaca. While the PLAN Carrier may not even use the Mallaca Straits.

      Moreover in all likelyhood the PLAN Carriers are not meant for India Navy in the first place. Even though Indian Ocean will be an area of interest for PLAN Carrier force in future. But currently they are firmly focused on the SCS and the Pacific.

      • devraj says:

        Thanks for the clarification. I’m glad for the discussion. All of us really want India to be strong and the responses here shows our patriotism and care for the nation.

      • Siddharth Joshi says:

        If Russia decides to sell the Pantsyr ME (Naval Version) to China then it will make it all the more difficult for the MKI’s as they will have to deal with the SU-33, the medium range sam’s and the close quarter Pantsyr

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