Indo-US tech trade and US-North Korea talks — Bluetick News

Image result for pics of pompeo and mattis

[Pompeo, James Mattis and Bolton, left to right, in line]

With the main govt TV channels (including Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV) closed off to my views and mainline private channels not interested in exploring topics of strategic interest in any depth or even at all, the news channels on the Net (through the Facebook portal, etc) offer a glimmer of hope. One such service is the Bluetick News calling in specialists and giving them time to talk at relative length.

Here are two recent appearances — the Aug 3 one on Indo-US military tech trade of some relevance with the upcoming Sept 6  2×2 talks in Delhi that Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman will have with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary James Mattis, with NSA John Bolton, who will not be there but will have inputted into both Pompeo’s and Mattis’ thinking by way of President Trump’s White House contribution  and, an earlier one, from June 14 when the US-North Korea confabulations were the talk of the day:



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 arms exports, asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific, Asian geopolitics, China, China military, Decision-making, Defence Industry, domestic politics, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Navy, Indian Politics, MEA/foreign policy, Military Acquisitions, Military/military advice, nonproliferation, North Korea, Nuclear Policy & Strategy, Nuclear Weapons, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, United States, US., Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Indo-US tech trade and US-North Korea talks — Bluetick News

  1. AD says:


    Interesting stuff.. wonder how many pieces of silver were necessary to get your co-panelists (especially the ex-ambassador) to promote USA in that manner. I think we both know the answer to that question, but it is still sad to see alleged “experts” behave like little kids who had been promised a big present if they behaved themselves in front of relatives.

    On another note, I remember reading somewhere that India seriously considered building the Northrup F-20 Tigershark in late-1980s. Is that true or just a rumor? If true, it might explain why they chose to use the General Electric F404 turbofan engine in the LCA aka Tejas. Also, it might explain why overall size, weight and performance characteristics (as well as intended role) for both aircraft are so similar- in spite of using a different aerofoil and body layout.

    • The Northrup F-20 Tigershark — a plane specifically built for Third World countries — was seriously pushed by the US govt and and just as seriously considered by Delhi in the early to mid-1980s, and almost came to pass. Indeed, at one time I had thought of writing a book on this entire project. The LCA is in many respects similar to the F-20 (with the Tejas Mk-1A having the same GE F-404 jet engine) but far, far superior in performance (4.5 gen), avionics, composites light weight body, etc.

      • AD says:

        Was it considered as a replacement for Mig-21 (fighter interceptor) or for the role later filled by Mirage-2000 (air superiority fighter with decent ground attack capabilities)? And why did the deal fall though? Issues with technology transfer especially for avionics and engines, not wanting to antagonize USSR or something else?

      • San Mann says:

        F-20 Tigershark was apparently a lot cheaper in cost than F-16. I think Taiwan wanted it as well. But wasn’t it hampered by some safety issues?

  2. The primary role for the F-20 was short to medium-range air defence then performed by the MiG-21 in IAF employ. The Tigershark deal fell through because Northrup considered it a cash-cow and because, as you say, full TOT was not on in terms of jet engine and avionics tech no more, incidentally, than it is in the F-16 deal offered by the US 40 years later for an aircraft that’s older than the F-20!

    • AD says:

      And they still want to “build” the F-16 in India. Sad! Haven’t they learned anything from history, not to mention all of this occurred within a single human lifespan. One of most peculiar part of the FaceBook interview, you linked to above, was how willing both co-panelists were to believe whatever those american officials were telling them. Wasn’t one of them an ex-ambassador and lifelong professional diplomat?

      I mean.. how can a person pretend to be that willingly naive and push the “it is different this time” BS. If they had not mentioned her previous job, I might have guessed that she was a paid shill for the americans- and I would not have be wrong. Are these people representative of bulk of people in top administrative and bureaucratic positions in India? Because if that is the case, things don’t look too good in near future.

      • Shankara says:

        Cash cows decide as deals. Not desh bhakts like of the Nehru era or Kamaraj and Lal Bahadhur Shastri periods who had a nationalistic approach not geared for personal benefits.

  3. There were no safety issues dogging the F-20 as far as I can recall. But then it did not get any customers either for safety concerns to emerge.

    • AD says:

      From what I have read, its two major shortcomings were that it could not carry as many bombs and air-to-ground missiles (low wing design and smaller engine) as the F-16 and its range (with internal fuel and external fuel) was almost half of the similarly configured F-16. It did make up for that by being more maneuverable, faster climbing and much faster to get into the air from a cold start. I can see why IAF thought that it is a good replacement for the Mig-21, given that per unit cost was supposed to be about 50% of a F-16.

      What I do not understand is, why did India not try to buy the production line for Mirage IIIs or Mirage F1s from France, especially since the basic airplanes and engines were pretty good. The avionics could always be upgraded later. If I am not mistaken, France was moving on to the Mirage 2000s by mid 1980s, and would have been more than happy to make some extra money- perhaps assembly lines for Mirage IIIs + a few dozen Mirage 2000s. Also, the French don’t play those stupid “human rights” and “nuclear proliferation” games like USA.

      It is my opinion that reverse engineering and then upgrading the Mirage 2000 design would have produced a more capable LCA in much less time. Then again, trusting Indian scientists, engineers and the private sector or giving them enough resources and support is not how things are done in India. I mean.. look how eager the Indian Army is in 2018 to buy an Israeli update (ACE 22/23 or 52) of a Finnish upgrade (RK 62) of the venerable AK-47. And they are proud of buying “phoren” even if it costs much more and is no better than a well made Indian equivalent.

  4. Good discussion.

    I found Mr Srivastava was speaking in generalities. More like a politician.

    What I like about Mr Karnad is his to the point, clear articulation. Even on issues I disagree with him I find him clear to understand. On COMCASA I fully agree with him, how can any assurance on document mean anything when it comes to defence. What’s the point of nations building and procuring all these weapons and spending on militaries if they could just sign documents and rest assured?

    India shouldn’t even be discussing COMCASA. Wonder if India can get it’s neighbours to sign such an agreement with it.

    Would love to read your book on Modi policies that has just come out.

  5. Kya says:

    The saud ex ambassador can get away wuth lies is because there has been concerted effirt in media since time if american agent mmsing the uneleted pm to denigrade Russian contribution to Indian defence and make americans as benign victim of cold war !

    Modus operandi of british and american scumbags –Groom an opposition candidate to run against the guy you hate, pay him well and line up your media to back him.

    During the campaign, sell him as the savior of the bourgeois opposition who lost their money in the revolution. Use your own pollsters and media propaganda to convince his followers that they are going to win by a wide margin.

    When your guy loses, scream “FRAUD!” It’s akin to yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre, inflaming all those disappointed bourgeois counter-revolutionaries. Get them out on the street, setting fires, playing the victim, waving flags, ready-to-go placards, banners, women crying in front of CNN and BBC cameras and men yelling angrily ”

    Rubin, Summers and Geithner are credited with managing the global economy through the turbulent nineties, including the

    Mexican, East Asian, Russian and Latin American financial crises. This narrative glosses over the role they played in forcing countries, particularly in Asia, to liberalize financial flows.

    A New York Times account from February 1999 noted: “It was American officials who pushed for the financial liberalization that nurtured the speculation (even if developing nations themselves welcomed it). And it was American bankers and money managers who poured billions of dollars into those emerging markets. Then, when the crisis hit, American officials insisted on tough measures like budget cuts and high interest rates, which many economists argue made things worse.”

    Summers and Rubin were the point men for liberalization, which led to the rise of oligarchic billionaires and financial panics that saw huge outflows of funds, currency devaluations, mass impoverishment and Western capital sweeping in to cherry-pick industries at fire-sale prices .

  6. vivek says:

    what about russia?Are they ok with india signing COMCASA?

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